Opposition criticisms of Government’s National Summer Camp Programme are baseless and unwarranted.
That’s the view of the programme’s former coordinator Hamilton Lashley, who said such a stance was why he had returned to the ranks of the ruling Democratic Labour Party.
The St. Michael South East was speaking in the House of Assembly today as Parliamentarians debated a $614,000 supplementary resolution to be used to pay caterers and other service providers.
Calling the camps programme a “fascinating initiative” geared to uplift the island’s children, Lashley knocked the Barbados Labour Party’s criticisms of it.
“We are talking about children from the Pine, from Grazettes, from the so called inner cities of Barbados, who are the beneficiaries of Government’s social programming. Why the hell you think that I leave over there and come over here, sorry for the language, because of Government’s social programming that has been devised to protect the vulnerable and help poor people in Barbados,” he said.
“Mr. Chairman, I apologise for that statement, but when it comes to the protection of the poor and vulnerable in this society I get very emotional. I am not a hypocrite when it comes to the protection of the poor and vulnerable.
“What are we really doing? When we should be taking a bi-partisan approach we are now taking a partisan approach and we cannot talk about bi-partisanship in isolation we have to talk about bi-partisanship within the context of the fact that this country is facing some serious economic hurdles and we need every single person on board,” he added.
The MP said because the “silly season” was in train this did not mean parliamentarians should not represent their constituents in the best manner possible.
He said social policy development, not “politicking” should be the focus, and also debunked the view that the camps were aimed at enriching DLP supporters.
“When we talk about the caterers for the summer camp programme we are talking about the empowerment, enfranchisement of poor black people. And I am sure that this party doesn’t go out there and scrutinise and say ‘Well, that man is a BLP let we give he the contract’. I do not get myself tie up in that foolishness. We are all Barbadians. I do not hand pick nobody, I am not part of that nonsense,” he said.
“I am saying that when the DLP started to plan the camp programme … we implement a fair process and who qualified qualified. So when we start talking about this kind of tribalism … it is a remarkable thing to me.” (SC)