Why does Ilaro Court need taxpayers money spent on it during the current hard economic times?
That’s what Shadow Minister of Youth Affairs, Sports and Culture and Small Business, Cynthia Forde wants to know.
The Barbados Labour Party representative raised the issue yesterday in the Lower House during debate on a $3.7 million supplementary resolution allocated to the Ministry of Transport and Works.
It included $816,500 for major works and renovations to a variety of state buildings, including the Prime Minister’s Official residence, which Forde singled out for query.
“This supplementary speaks to repairs or maintenance at Ilaro Court. I am not so sure that is an emergency or if that work has been done already and the funds have to be paid,” she said.
“I don’t think anybody lives there so it cannot be an emergency.”
The St. Thomas MP said this was taking place in the context of the jobs of public servants being under threat and people generally “living under tremendous pressure because don’t know when they will work again”.
“If that large amount of money is to be expended in Ilaro Court then perhaps the Honourable Prime Minister has plans, I don’t know.”
“I believe that if it is an emergency then fine, if there is no emergency I believe those funds could be expended to keep those individuals employed who are now being single-handedly pulled apart for the permanent secretaries to do when the permanent secretaries didn’t do the hiring.”
Forde also called for equity in distribution of funds for government projects, including roads.
“I do not expect the impossible but I believe when I talk about equity … that the pie needs to be properly shared in every sphere of development,” she said.
“I support the aspect of this supplementary that speaks to the maintenance of Government buildings. I believe that workers should always be employed in facilities that are good for their health and wellbeing and that those facilities are conducive to productivity.
She was, however, concerned about what she called continued neglect of the Scotland District, which included a part of her constituency.
“We must acknowledge that the Scotland District is one seventh of Barbados’ landscape and there is heavy rainfall always in that general area, a lot of land slippage and we know that the roads … have always been undermined by the gushing rain and so on,” she said. (SC)