Now that Democratic Labour Party (DLP) reject Randall Rouse has decided to contest the next general election as an independent, the St Joseph hopeful is turning his attention to building bridges of sorts.
Rouse, who failed to secure a nod from the ruling party in the 2013 poll after four consecutive political defeats – including three as the DLP’s representative – has his sights on the Joes River and Melvin Hill bridges, both of which are in need of repair.
The community activist invited Barbados TODAY to accompany him on a visit to the bridges, beginning with Joe’s River, which appears on the verge of collapse.
Rouse said he had contacted the Ministry of Transport and Works five months ago about the condition of that bridge “and as far as I know no one came” to investigate.
“It is a big concern among persons that live down here. People who were travelling on the Chalky Mount bus relayed to me that when they are in the bus they feel like if there is actual movement and as you can see there is movement.
“None of the support to the east of the bridge is touching the bridge . . . so in actual fact only the centre of the bridge is touching the bridge support. If there are any real vibrations on this bridge it will just collapse” said Rouse, who entered elective politics back in 1994 as a member of the now defunct National Democratic Party.
The declared candidate added that while the Joe’s River bridge had received all the attention, the one at Melvin Hill was even more dangerous, and he was concerned that “something tragic [might] happen down here”.
In announcing his candidacy at a news conference this week, Rouse had taken a shot at Member of Parliament for St Joseph Dale Marshall, whose representation he described as nothing short of “scandalous”.
He also sought to warn the Barbados Labour Party incumbent that “representation of a people is far more than providing alcoholic beverages and giving a broad smile”.
Marshall Friday said of the collapsing bridges that “there are some realities that we have to face in the Scotland district and one of those realities is the fact that because of slippage there has always been challenges to our infrastructure whether roads or bridges”.
However, he admitted that both bridges needed urgent rehabilitation, and explained that before anything is done at Melvin Hill “we will first have to deal with alternative access”.