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Mottley: Bajans can walk and chew

Donna Sealy

Mottley: Bajans can walk and chew
Prime Minister Mia Mottley addresses the audience at Golden Square Freedom Park. (Picture by Sandy Pitt)

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Prime Minister Mia Mottley is hitting back at critics who questioned the reason for moving to a parliamentary republic and reopening the Golden Square Freedom Park amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivering the feature address at the official opening ceremony of the “living and functioning monument” in The City on Saturday evening, 84 years after the 1937 riots, she said the journey towards upliftment and what is possible must continue for the people across every nook and cranny in Barbados.

“Some ask why now? … Because it is important that the lessons of life that have continued to exhibit themselves from this moment of the 1937 rebellion continue,” Mottley said.

“And how must they continue? That regardless of the obstacles and the challenges that face us, we shall remain focused on achieving what we must achieve as one of the smallest nations of this world but as one of the proudest and most capable nations of the global community,” she continued to applause from the audience.

“Yes, Bajans can walk and chew, and we must forever be able to walk and chew because life doesn’t stop; times don’t wait on us.”

Mottley said her administration determined if there was one thing it must do was “see and hear people” and “care” about them. This, she noted, was why she remained “resolute that the things that we can do even in the middle of an IMF programme must be centred around building up and uplifting our people and giving them the best possible chance, even when things get hard”.

She paid homage to Member of Parliament for The City of Bridgetown, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, and the former parliamentary representative Dame Billie Miller for the work being done and completed that started to breathe life into the country’s capital city, for which many people sounded the death knell.

Mottley: Bajans can walk and chew
The Barbados Landship performs at the opening of Golden Square Freedom Park. (Picture by Sandy Pitt)

Mottley mentioned various projects being undertaken such as the upgraded Fairchild Street vendors’ market – which though operational is not completed – the Constitution River Terminal, Temple Yard where work has started, Passage Road at the corner of Baxter’s Road, and Queen’s Park which she stated, “must become the centre of cultural activity and creativity for our people”.

Furthermore, she said with approvals in hand, it was anticipated that early in the New Year the Hyatt Hotel on Bay Street would start, along with the Pierhead project. Additionally, she said the Treasury Building project, the purpose of which was to provide residences for Barbadians “in the centre of town so that we can bring back life to Bridgetown fully across all classes” was put out to tender.

She added that an Urban Transformation Fund would be established where “all who are receiving planning approvals for major projects in Bridgetown” must make “a concomitant contribution” to Government.

The Prime Minister also said that were it not for the coronavirus pandemic, the evening that included befitting cultural performances and video presentations from the various artists who contributed to the two-acre national historic park, would also have seen the renaming of the bus stand after the late Archbishop Granville Williams for whom “the Spiritual Baptists and him paid much, much a heavy price, or operating and having to worship their God in the shadows of that facility”. (GBM)