Better leadership ‘is a must’
With an election date now known, the Sunday Sun today continues to take a look at what residents of the constituencies in Barbados are thinking when it comes to what gives with politicians seeking their votes.
The Sunday Sun randomly interviewed persons in the constituency of St George South, in areas such as Ellerton, South District, The Mount and Melverton, asking them to prioritise what they believe to be the most important issues leading into this year’s general election on May 24.
Most people in the rural constituency believe that if Barbados has a competent leader, then the country will forge its way forward.
To them, such leadership has been lacking in the last ten years.
“I think the Prime Minister does have respect for Barbadians, but he has to realise he needs to report to us. We are all his constituents,” pensioner Rodney King said assertively while relaxing in Ellerton.
“A lot more should be said by Mr [Freundel] Stuart about all the things happening in the country. He has a duty to talk to us. We have had good and bad times under both parties, but I want to hear the Prime Minister telling me what’s going on,” King added.
Retired carpenter Colin Rowe noted that once a leader isn’t showing he is in control, things would go wrong.
“It seems this Government just can’t get things right,” the Ellerton resident said. “Something as simple as maintenance of Government buildings has gone wrong, as we recently saw with the Supreme Court building. That building should be lasting 20 or 30 years before the problems we have seen should ever show up,” the retired carpenter added.
Rowe also bemoaned a lack of results derived from taxes taken from hard-working Barbadians. “They’ve taken money for so many things, with VAT, NSRL, Solid Waste, yet the roads are in a state. I’ve never seen the roads in Barbados this bad,” he said.
A South District resident who preferred to remain anonymous said it appears Barbados has no leader, and no money to make sure simple services are rendered. “I know pensioners who have been to the post office twice in a week and were forced to return home with no money,” he claimed.
Calling himself a die-hard Democratic Labour Party (DLP) supporter, the man said the way a candidate was recently chosen to contest the May 24 election in St John was also a sign of poor party leadership.
“You shouldn’t just bring a person into people’s homes and expect they would accept him. There is no communication between the leader of the country and its people. I will vote for the DLP, but I’m not in agreement with a lot of things I’m seeing at the top.”
The man said the recent entry of new political parties would cut votes from the Opposition Barbados Labour Party, and allow the DLP to win back the Government.
Ellerton shopkeeper Dwane Ferdinand said his concern in Barbados was the lack of programmes or opportunities for young people. “We as a people need to be more considerate for our young people. Our main focus should be finding employment for them. When we do that, we can start curing the other ills like our economy and the cost of living.”
According to Ferdinand, young people need to play their part by getting up and seeking employment.
Ricardo Boxill, a former entertainment producer who lives in The Mount, said he was disappointed in the performance of the current administration. “For me, the definition of madness is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.”
“If I do vote, I would vote for a new party. We have had the same old, same old for almost 50 years. As a country we have been constantly taking one step forward and then two steps back.”
Boxill said his main dissatisfaction with governance in Barbados was leadership, or a lack thereof. After ten years in office with this administration, we should be forward, not this far back,” Boxill said while taking a break from his daily chores.
Boxill did note, however, that in defence of the DLP, that party had always found itself dealing with tougher economic conditions upon entering office as compared to the Barbados Labour Party.
“One of the main issues we are facing now is that Barbados has become a welfare state. Everyone seems to think the Government is responsible for their livelihood. We as a people are not doing enough for ourselves,” he added.
He said Barbados will never have the industries or resources as some other regional territories, so it’s up to the people to find their way.
Boxill also believes that a new Government should place transparency on the front burner since most Barbadians believe corruption exists in high places.
Near South District, long-time St George resident Vernetta Leacock said the cost of living and reviving Barbados’ economy were her main concerns.
“The cost of living over the last three years has gone way up. Money just isn’t stretching at the supermarket anymore, and bills are piling up,” she said.
Leacock also suggested that the banking sector should increase the loan limits so Barbadians could borrow a little more to meet up their annual expenses.
She said youth opportunity should be a priority for any new Government, since the more young people are working, the more disposable income would be circulated in the economy.
A few kilometres away in Melverton, St George, unemployment and the state of the economy were discussed, but the poor state of roads was a point of emphasis for many.
“The roads in this area have been awful for years,” 59-year-old lifelong resident Victor Sargeant said.
“For years people have been just coming and patching up. The rains come, and the holes everywhere just keep getting bigger and bigger.”
Sargeant also said young people in the constituency need to be afforded more opportunities to better themselves. “Things are rough because of the cost of living, and I’m seeing way too much young people out here with nothing to do. They need things to do to make a better life for themselves,” he said. (BA)