Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is demanding that Minister of Transport & Works Michael Lashley tells vendors at the River Terminal when they will be relocated, where to, and who will pay for their relocation.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader Saturday fired off a volley of questions at the absent minister in response to his announcement in Parliament on Friday that Government had decided to delay until January next year, work on the second phase of the Constitution River Terminal Redevelopment Project, which was initially due to commence Monday.
Lashley’s statement followed an October 7 notice sent to the vendors at the Constitution River Terminal giving them ten days to remove their booths.
The vendors had said there was no way they would have been able to pick up and leave in ten days.
“What we want from him is certainty as to the date of relocation, as to the place of relocation, and as to the cost of relocation being borne as part of the capital project cost,” said Mottley as she delivered the main presentation at the opening of the campaign office of the BLP St Philip West candidate John King in
Mottley said that the uncertainty was making vendors uneasy.
“Do you believe that he [Lashley] could have satisfied the souls of those people who have been there for 20 years when these answers remain outstanding?”
A day after the vendors had received notice to move, Mottley had led a BLP team to meet with them at the van stand.
“I want the Minister Michael Lashley to know . . . he cannot hide behind the fact that the van stand terminal needs doing to justify the actions to treat people who have been there 20 and 22 years like chattel and cattle, giving them six and ten days’ notice,” she said.
“Don’t tell us that you met them early in the year. If you met with them early in the year, then in your capital cost for the project of the reconstruction of the van stand you would have the relocation cost of the vendors, because it would have been [as] important to you as paving the van stand or building the concourse, or providing the offices in the old . . . Queen’s College building that will now be the offices for the Transport Authority, and the police.
“How could you provide for one set and not another? How do we see people and not see them?” she asked.
The BLP leader also revealed that as of Saturday she was yet to hear from Lashley, to whom she had written on the matter in her capacity as Leader of the Opposition.
“So if he doesn’t respond to me as Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, I suppose the vendors will feel that they would never get a response, because what they’re being told is ‘hold tight. You can stay until after Christmas’.”