The state of Barbados’ capital city currently belies its historic and commercial value as it is simply too filthy, complains Minister of Industry and Small Business Development Donville Inniss.
Today, the outspoken Government minister called on The City businesses to take the lead in cleaning up Bridgetown and to do so out of their own pockets.
“We can all do better in terms of tidying up our city,” Inniss told the official launch of the Small Business Association’s (SBA) week of activities and Solar Express project in National Heroes Square.
“I would like to see each enterprise in Bridgetown making an effort every month with their staff and families to come and just clean their surroundings. “Don’t tell me you need a subsidy from Government to do it. I believe that if you really care about the environment you will do something about it without having to depend on Government,” he said.
During his colourful address, Inniss also expressed displeasure over the continued heavy reliance by Barbadians on fossil fuels and gas and diesel powered vehicles, despite this island’s dwindling foreign exchange reserve.
He reported that local dealers had brought in 2,070 vehicles between January and July this year, compared to just over 4,000 vehicles for all of last year.
“It is a significant amount of vehicles. That is why I was happy to come here this morning and give support to this project, because it must also send a message that electric vehicles are the way for us to go.
“The state has provided incentives to facilitate this, . . . so I would like to see more Barbadians making better use of solar vehicles going forward,” Inniss told the gathering for the launch of the Solar Express project, which will consist of two 10-seater solar electric vehicles operating in and around the Capital offering tours of Historic Bridgetown.
Inniss said he saw the project as “the commencement of the transformation of Bridgetown as we ought to have it, a much cleaner city.
“Let us face the reality, Bridgetown is looking nasty. I don’t know any other way to put it. I need to be very frank about that,” he said while also expressing his desire for The City to become free of vehicular traffic.
In his wide-ranging address, Inniss also expressed condolences to the Caribbean victims of Hurricane Irma, while suggesting that the category five storm which is being closely followed by Hurricane Jose, was an indication that climate change was real.
“I hope that no world leader’s private property is damaged by Hurricane Irma or Jose over the next couple of days.
“If per chance that happens I hope some world leaders go back to the Paris Accord and say, ‘I am sorry, I apologize, here is my money, climate change is real’. But if that does not happen to his private property, there are enough investments that he has around the world that ought to be a wake up call for him that climate change is real,” stressed Inniss, in an obvious reference to United States president Donald Trump who has described climate change as a hoax, and who earlier this year announced that the US would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which is meant to curb emissions around the world.
SBA President Dean Straker did not get into the climate change debate, but he told Barbados TODAY he agreed
with Inniss that Bridgetown was “quite filthy” and recommended the establishment of a committee to oversee the revitalization of The City, with contributions from area businesses.
As a means of dealing with traffic congestion, Straker suggested that Government could introduce a Sunlight Act outlining a policy for businesses renewable energy sector.