Supporters of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) have been assured that they should not panic over a recent unfavourable poll because money would soon be flowing in the economy.
Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley suggested that he expected the DLP’s standing among the electorate to improve after the administration rolls out a number of major projects.
A nationwide poll conducted by Systematic Marketing & Research Services Inc and released last week found that 62 per cent of Barbadians favoured a change of Government.
While the Freundel Stuart administration received an overall failing grade, the greatest disfavour was in its handling of the economy and unemployment with 65 per cent rating Government a failure in dealing with the economy and 75 per cent criticizing its handling of the jobless situation.
The poll also found only 20 per cent support for the ruling party, with 40 per cent giving the nod to the Opposition Barbados Labour Party and 34 per cent undecided.
However, Lashley promised party faithful at a St Michael West branch meeting last night that there would be jobs aplenty in the coming months with the approval of a
US$10 million loan for road works.
“Very shortly we should be able to access that money, particularly in a road programme to repair roads in Barbados. We’ve agreed to it,” he said.
The Member of Parliament for St Philip North said another US$20 million injection for similar works was due in August.
Added to that, the minister spoke of the multi-million dollar Sam Lords Castle reconstruction project scheduled to begin at about the same time, and the Hyatt Hotel on which work is expected to begin soon.
“So I tell you don’t worry about the polls because our programmes are now beginning to roll out. And then you have the IDB [Inter-American Development Bank] programme, which was signed by the Minister of Finance recently, which again involves the construction of roads, the preparing and rehabilitation of roads.
“So you have a set programme going down the line that would offer opportunities for employment for skilled and unskilled people.
“[So] when I hear some of the Bees [Barbados Labour Party members] walking about smiling, I say to myself, ‘you would think that elections is tomorrow or next two weeks’. We have two years, and our plans are now rolling out. So don’t panic,” Lashley stressed.
He conceded that many roads across Barbados were in need of repair, but defended his tenure, insisting, “You cannot expect us as the Government to fix every road in Barbados in five years.”
Lashley appeared as a guest of the parliamentary representative and Speaker of Parliament Michael Carrington.
He promised the constituents that he would pay attention to roads in the district, “once Mr Carrington identifies a road in his constituency that is in a perilous state, or a road that obviously invites danger to pedestrians and other road users”.
Challenged by a member from the audience that the people in the district were tired of “sending messages” since the DLP came to power in 2008, Lashley replied that he did not have responsibility for roads at the time, but said he was not casting blame on his predecessor.
“I need to speak about that but the press is here. I will do what is necessary to assist people in St Michael, particularly with the roads.
“We are now looking at ways and means that we can construct roads in a more economical form, but still with some durability. We are looking at the construction of some concrete roads,” he promised.