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A stand for survival

Maria Bradshaw

A stand for survival

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EVEN?BEFORE?yesterday’s march officially began, excited placard-bearing Barbadians stood outside the gates of Parliament loudly complaining about the solid waste tax and how the Government was managing the economy in general.
And as Bob Marley’s march anthem Get Up! Stand Up! began to blast from the accompanying truck, it seemed to inspire them even more.
Young, old and in between, most of them dressed in the recommended white, proudly marched along Bridge Street, on to Probyn Street and then Bay Street, singing, chanting, and loudly protesting the tax situation.
This Is Not About Politics! This Is About Survival; I Shall March! Tired, Overkilled And Broken! were just some of the slogans.
Bridgetown vendor Pamela Swift was one of the more vocal marchers, seemingly unable to control her anger towards the taxation. Holding a placard with the slogan DLP: Solid Waste, she pranced around Bay Street loudly protesting the controversial tax.
“I can’t bear no solid waste tax,” Swift confessed, adding, “My light turn off; my water soon off; I can’t pay my mortgage.
“Why they can’t cut their salary in half?” she asked. “These people unreasonable.”
“I can’t tek no more and that is why all of we out here, but the time gwine come when we gwine vote them out,” she shouted.
Seventy-nine-year-old Mary Rose, who calmly walked the long stretch assisted by her husband, said it was hard on both of them since they only received $290 and $330 in pension, respectively.
“I can’t afford to pay those taxes. We got ’nuff bills to pay and what $290 and $330 can do for us?” she asked.
With a scarf wrapped around his head to shield him from the sweltering heat, 22-year-old Hamza Bourne did not mince words, declaring: “Government is doing too much stupidness.”
He said he decided to come out and march particularly against the solid waste tax.
“All they doing is taxing people all the time. Every time you look around it is taxes! taxes! taxes! and people are not making any money. It is too much and now they want you to pay a solid waste tax. It is time that we do something.”
A woman who would only give her name as Swammy choked back tears as she revealed that life was becoming very difficult for her and her husband.
“We are both retired, and from the time the DLP [Democratic Labour Party]?come into office they have imposed 28 taxes – that is 28 taxes in six years.
“Me and my husband have a little house and we have to look for $500 to pay in solid waste tax. Where are we going to get that from?” she asked, as she shrugged her shoulders.
Pointing out that they were law-abiding citizens who worked hard and always paid their taxes, Swammy said it was now becoming extremely difficult for them to meet their financial obligations.
One man, who did not want to give his name, said the turnout and the frustrations voiced by the people should make Government sit up and take notice.

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