Opposition Leader Mia Mottley believes the country is not ready for the influx of visitors expected here for the 50th anniversary of Independence.
Addressing Parliament this evening, Mottley said with two weeks to go before the climax of the celebrations, the country was dirty and it would be a hard task to have it cleaned up and ready in time.
“The truth is the people are starting to come from next week, but the country is not clean. We have a duty to make it clean. Not even the Spring Garden Highway. In the middle of the road, the grass is in the road, the side of the road the grass is about 12 to 15 inches high, the potholes are another problem,” she said.
“We talk about inviting people home, but you don’t invite people home if the place isn’t clean, you don’t invite people home if they can’t use the bathroom to flush, or if you can’t literally give them an environment that is hospitable,” she added.
The Opposition Barbados Labour Party leader urged Barbadians to do their best to clean up around their homes as they welcome visitors and returning Barbadians.
“We can do better. Three weeks left, let us put our best foot forward, all of us in the country. Let us clean up around where we are and make sure that at the very least we have done as much as we can do to welcome people,” she said.
Mottley also challenged Government to strive to make Barbados better for all after the celebrations are over, insisting that the focus must be on doing the things that “are necessary to retain the integrity” of the country.
“From the first of December lest us focus on securing the first decade of the next 50 years, making sure that Bajans would have access to water, making sure that Barbadians feel safe in their own country, making sure that Barbadians believe that their children can go to university without having to worry where the money is going to come from, making sure that children can leave school with either certificates or skill, making sure Bajans can afford healthcare, giving each Barbadians household that does not have an income a living income. Let us make sure that these things that are necessary to retain the integrity of who we are as a people are worked on,” she said.
The Member of Parliament for St Michael North East contended that the country’s first Prime Minister, Errol Barrow, would not have thought that on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Independence large parts of the population would still be without reliable supplies of running water or that the poor would be deprived of free tertiary education.
And she urged the Freundel Stuart administration, as well as legislators from her own party, to strive to ensure that Barbados was the best place to live and work.
“Can the 30 of us [parliamentarians] say that we as a parliament are doing our hardest work to make this the best place within which to live, work and invest? Then we ask the question of our population, can we say that? Let us inspire each other to do better because Barbados must first and foremost work for Barbadians,” Mottley stressed.