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FLYING FISH & COU COU: Awakened giant getting quick results


BARBADOS NATION

FLYING FISH & COU COU: Awakened giant getting quick results

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THE SLEEPING GIANT has again risen from his slumber.

And like the last time he awoke in 2013, he is acting in his political self-interest.

Cou Cou is referring to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s decisive interventions in the last few weeks regarding two of the most burning issues affecting Barbadians today: water and garbage collection.

Stuart’s timely engagement is clearly his way of saying that nothing is going to stop, tarnish, or in any way negatively impact the multi-million dollar 50th anniversary Independence bash he will be hosting. It also shows that despite who says what, he is in charge and when he is ready to crack the whip and get any ministry in his administration to function, he can.

Cou Cou is convinced of this because in January the Prime Minister refused to wet his feet on the water woes plaguing mostly eastern and some northern districts in the country, saying he would let Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) hierarchy deal with the matter.

However, last month, with 50 days to go before the big Independence party, Stuart dived in and publicly urged the BWA to improve its communication with the residents of St Joseph and other water-starved areas.

He expressed the view that the hundreds of affected, long-suffering people did not expect miracles, but wanted an environment in which they could plan their lives around access to the precious liquid.

Since then we have seen a greater sense of urgency by the BWA to communicate with the public and yesterday, even minister Estwick held a press conference to address the issue.

Similarly, the Prime Minister has decided garbage pile-ups, and Barbadians’ frustration with this unsightly, unhealthy practice has to stop. So he issued a directive to the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) to meet with private haulers and devise a plan to improve national waste collection.

The only official word on the move came from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler when he announced this week that the operation would likely begin in two weeks and last for six months, “or however long it takes them [SSA] to get the [financial] resources . . . so that we are able to purchase the trucks to replenish the fleet of the SSA”. The move will cost about $1 million.

Cou Cou commends the Prime Minister for snapping his fingers to get measures in place to ensure the days of garbage pile-ups across Barbados are numbered, but we can’t help wondering why it took him so long to act?

Clearly, he has no intention of allowing pile-ups to spoil his Independence showpiece.

Cou Cou also wonders how substantive Minister of the Environment Denis Lowe will take Stuart’s move when he returns to office. After all, apart from clearly demonstrating how ineffective Lowe has been, it will also be a slap in his face as one of the private haulers sure to be in the mix will be Anderson “Fat Child” Cherry, who the minister pledged back in August never to engage in any activity within his ministry until the hauler cleans up an alleged illegal dump site in the Belle, St Michael.

Lowe said then: “I am not – and when I say I, I speak for the ministry – about to engage anybody who is currently undertaking an illegal practice in assisting the SSA in collecting anything; not even a dead dog.”

Given the Prime Minister’s instant results, Cou Cou would encourage him to try tackling the economy too, because if his administration fails to get it firing again, the society which they emphasise is sure to continue disintegrating.

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