TALKBACK: Some for and against Caricom heads meeting
BARBADIANS REACTED WITH ANGER at the $800 000 costs associated with the island’s hosting of the CARICOM Heads of Government conference last month.
Last Tuesday in the House of Assembly, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart revealed the figure while seeking a supplementary $650 000 from the Treasury. Stuart defended the regional integration movement and said it was alive and well despite the high crime and debt plaguing some countries.
Not everyone felt the costs of staging were too high, but the majority of Barbadians who expressed an opinion placed it in the context of their own bread and butter issues as people continue to struggle to meet everyday expenses.
Here are some of their views:
Santini More: Somebody really need to tell these people about the use of Skype! And let’s be honest nothing of significance ever comes from these “blow hard” events.
Omar Watson: They could have met in my yard, drink some rum and eat some buljol. Save thousands and I bet something would have come out of the meeting.
Cat oman: Before you all jump on the blame-the-government bandwagon, remember that countries do have an obligation as part of a group to host certain events. They usually take turns. Same as when you balk when the PM and his entourage need to travel to Europe to attend summits there? If Barbados is to compete on the world stage, they have to attend and participate at certain summits/conferences and it’s a necessary expense in order to have our voices heard. Why does everything have to be political? We all cannot like the same political parties, but make intelligent statements instead of bashing the current PM and his administration.
Victoria Lily: Each year it’s held in a different country hence the expense is “shared”. I never heard the other host countries complain. Also maybe Barbados has expensive taste or like to outdo. Those welcome billboards alone were unnecessary. One welcome message was good enough not one with each PM pic. Then one can only imagine the hotel rates and other luxuries.
Sherrylyn Toppin is The Nation’s Online Editor.