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EDITORIAL: Need for answers


mialisafenty, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Need for answers

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Some ancient wizard used to advise that one should not look a gift horse in the mouth, at a time when inspecting a horse’s teeth was an indicator of the animal’s state of health.
That advice may well be entirely inappropriate advice directed at those who may have dropped the ball in respect of the Inter-American Development Bank pilot project for the renewal of Bridgetown.
As City MP Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic said at the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) public meeting last Sunday night, Barbadians appear to have been robbed of an opportunity to get better housing in parts of the City of Bridgetown.
The grant of US$30 million was intended to fund a pilot project in which the depressing housing conditions would have been overtaken by high quality high-rise housing and the blight which rests on our heritage capital would have been removed.
One only has to admire the remedial work spearheaded in Church Village area by the Central Bank to appreciate how much can be done to enhance a depressed environment and improve the ambience of the city by careful and sensitive work. In this instance the provision of housing would have been icing on the cake and in a sense two birds may have been felled with a single stone. Enhanced housing and improved environment would have been achieved. Another similar example is the Emmerton Lane transplant.
We need to get to the bottom of this issue, and find out whether this loan has been truly lost, especially because it seemed that this project had bipartisan support. The loan had been substantially negotiated by the BLP and Prime Minister David Thompson of the incoming administration of the Democratic Labour Party signed the acceptance documents of the loan in March 2008.
The late Prime Minister recognised Government as a continuum and that even if the project had been negotiated by the BLP; Barbados’ interests had to be safeguarded by his administration’s acceptance of the grant which therefore had the seal of approval of both of our major political parties.
It is bitterly regrettable therefore that somehow this pilot project has not really seen the light of day. Mr Bostic puts the matter in language so graphic that it can hardly be bettered. Apart from some assistance and benefits of the programme having reached Garden Land; he remarked that “not one blind cent” has been spent on the other communities, particularly at a time when money was hard to come by; capital projects were non-existent and the economy had slowed down.
In an obviously angry mood, Mr Bostic described the situation as “criminal” and an example of man’s inhumanity to man, and a dereliction of duty.
This is very strong language and may be a little over the top, but perhaps the parliamentary questions to be asked of the Minister may provide some answers; but answers there must be for the public interest demands that questions should be answered, and soon.
 

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