Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for St Philip West John King has accused Government of failing to meet even the basic needs of Barbadians.
Addressing a meeting of the party’s constituency branch on Sunday, King highlighted several issues facing the country, including the water woes experienced by some residents in the north and the east.
He lambasted the powers that be for spending millions of dollars to build an expansive Barbados Water Authority (BWA) headquarters in the Pine, while many people still had dry taps.
King contended that the two temporary desalination plants Government is depending on to boost water distribution – one which opened in Hope, St Lucy last month and the other in Trents, St James due to be in operation soon – were not the answer.
“The plant is a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Don’t you think that the millions of dollars which went into building the spanking new office could have built a permanent desalination plant?” he asked.
King questioned which was more important: “Delivering water to your people or sitting in a brand new office?”
The BLP candidate also queried the sense of building a new sugar cane factory. Saying that nothing was adding up with this Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration, he wondered aloud what the purpose of the proposed factory when “lots of land that was in sugar production is now bush or housing areas and . . . every year we cannot meet the quota for London”.
“Why are you building a new one when Portvale is there and can handle all that coming in – cause it is only a little bit?” King said.
The former calypsonian also addressed the crime situation, particularly gun crime and violence among the youth.
He said while many suggestions have been put forward to solve the problem, including imposing stiffer penalties on people found with firearms, it must be determined how the guns are getting into the country in the first place.
“Because we don’t have [any] gun factories in Barbados, so if you want to deal with the guns, firstly we must deal with securing our borders and our ports of entry,” King said.
He further suggested that there is a need to examine young people’s mental health, which he said could be affected by the violence they are witnessing on social media, television and in games, as well as exposure to drugs and alcohol.
“We have a habit that when we talk about health we only talk about eating healthy and everything to do with the body, but not about the health of the mind,” King lamented.
“We have a lot of resources that we don’t use – psychologists and social workers who should be in the primary and secondary schools and in the communities working with our young people. We have to get more involved in the lives of our young people and we have to find more productive things for them to do.”
At the constituency level, King said there was need for better representation. He made a case for political change.
“This country will not prosper and it will not flourish in the direction it is going. We have to change our thinking, we have to change the status quo, and God knows we have to change the Government,” the BLP candidate said.