Barbados has a serious problem. It has nothing to do with politicians, but rather our public officers.
It is about their failure to implement the laws and regulations and to ensure the public does not breach the well laid out rules.
It is because of the enforcement and the demand to do what was right which made Barbados such an orderly society and to stand out in the Caribbean.
Two things come to mind to highlight how public officers have abrogated their responsibilities and can only damage this country’s image and reputation.
Take the case of the flouting of the laws by ZR vans and minibuses all across Barbados. Then there is the indiscriminate dumping which takes place on the side of many roads.
Nothing happens besides a lot of talk, and yet in either instance, these are major issues.
The two gentlemen identified as the spokespeople for the ZRs and Minibus Associations- Morris Lee and Roy Raphael are both decent, God-fearing men. They have this country’s best interest at heart and I believe want to see an efficient profit making public transport system in operation.
I know they will admit and offer an apology when things go wrong with the system, as will happen.
But no one should expect them to have to apologise every day for the endemic bad behaviour which characterizes the public sector vehicle operators. Admittedly, not all are bad, perhaps, not even 50 per cent. But those who have no regard for operating within the rules cause all of them to stand condemned.
As early as 5 a.m. those minibuses operating on the Wanstead Route can drive fear into anyone walking or running on Wanstead / Oxnards Road as an exercise route. They do not understand the meaning of a speed limit.
The type of behaviour exhibited has caused many of the walkers to now avoid this road and rather use the avenues in the surrounding districts.
Then to see how these drivers behave at the traffic lights which they often disregard as having no real purpose, is shocking. The same bad behaviour is exhibited whether it is going to or coming from The City.
As is often stated, perhaps action will only be taken when there is a tragedy and one, two or more people are killed or seriously injured.
The owners of these vehicles must not be driven only by the highest daily return on their investment, but must also recognise they have a responsibility to the society which allows them to earn the same money by ensuring their vehicles are involved in a safe reliable and mannerly service.
Given how long this plea of moral suasion has been made, and apparently without success, the authorities drawn from the Transport Authority, the Ministry of Transport and Works and the Police must carry out their duties without fear or favour.
This is not a matter that can be left to some politician, a permanent secretary or some other official in an air conditioned corner office.
Anyone who passes President Kennedy Drive cannot be but amazed at the awful garbage pile-up at one corner of the property of the late journalist Joe Brome. His widow and her niece still occupy the property and must be tormented by the inconvenience they must endure daily, when they do not contribute to the problem in any way or at anytime.
The Sanitation Services Authority personnel often clean up the area and within half an hour of doing a thorough job, the spot is littered again, from discarded mattresses to old appliances and all sorts of other garbage. It has become a communal garbage collection point.
Somebody isn’t doing their job. The people in the Ministries of Health or Environment who are responsible for enforcing health standards must find a solution to this problem.
Indeed, this is an issue which affects too many places across the island and has the potential to create health, social and economic problems.
This is not a matter for the politicians, even though the politicians and the aspirants must speak to the problem, and warn the wrong-doers that serious action will be taken again if they continue to infringe the laws.
The issue with the coconut vendors at Warrens who ply their trade and then leave the place dirty has now become a national joke. On Sundays it is an accident waiting to happen as the vendors and their helpers seem to think they have right of way to the road and its free passage.
Guarantee if someone is killed or seriously injured then something maybe done to arrest that lawlessness.
And, taking a firm stand has nothing to do with trying to cut out the poor black man.
Orville Durant as Commissioner of Police took a stand with “Rockers Alley” in The City. The entire country was grateful to him and his men.
Sometime ago I visited the Warrens Polyclinic to complain about some indiscriminate dumping near Butler’s Avenue, Spooners Hill, St Michael. After being directed to an officer there, I asked what can be done to curb the bad practice but was told to leave it to the staff
After a few weeks and no action I went back to the Polyclinic and was told by a gentleman it would indeed be fixed and to come see him in a few weeks. I returned in a few weeks only to be told the man whom I had spoken to had retired.
He dodged the problem, has gone his way merrily, but the problem is still there - indeed all across Barbados.
Not even firebrand trade unionist Caswell Franklyn would defend this dereliction of duty
Public officers must do what they are paid to do.