Chairman of the Revitalization of Bridgetown Initiative Lalu Vaswani has taken Minister of Industry and Small Business Development Donville Inniss to task for his comments that The City was nasty and that businesses should take the lead and pay to clean up the capital.
Vaswani said while he agreed there were some “pockets” in Bridgetown that were in need of improvement, it was unfair to make such a blanket statement about the entire city.
During a wide-ranging address at the launching ceremony of the Small Business Association’s week of activities and Solar Transport Project in National Heroes Square on Friday, Inniss raised concern about the state of Bridgetown.
“We can all do better in terms of tidying up our city,” Inniss said then, pointing out that “Bridgetown is looking nasty”.
“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,” Inniss said.
President of the SBA Dean Straker later told Barbados TODAY he had agreed that Bridgetown was “quite filthy”, and he recommended the establishment of a special committee to oversea the revitalization of The City, with contributions from area businesses.
However, Vaswani told Barbados TODAY it was a disservice to businesses to call on them to clean up The City because it was filthy and nasty.
“I think it is unfortunate and I would hope that they can be more precise in where they are speaking of. That has not been my general experience, so I am not aware what they are speaking of,” Vaswani said, adding that both Inniss and Straker should offer workable solutions.
Vaswani said businesses would be going against Government’s “established policies” if they were to pull their pocket to clean up the capital.
“If the established policy of Government is to have Sanitation Services Authority, which undertakes to provide sanitation services, and in this case to Bridgetown, then that must be respected,”said the business leader, who also noted that some city businesses were already paying for the disposal of their own solid waste out of their pockets.
Vaswani said far from “crying out from a pulpit”, one should seek to provide opportunities for stakeholders to discuss the issues and possible solutions while seeking to “promote a consensual approach with specific activities and deliverable outcomes.
“That is what I need to be done and not just generalizing,” he insisted.
Vaswani also pointed out that the rehabilitation project, established by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2008 to stimulate increased economic and social activity in The City, was in the process of discussing specific projects with stakeholders to increase economic activity in the area.
He explained that there were several activities in train since last year, but they had to be deferred due to the focus on the 50th anniversary of Independence.
The businessman said, however, one of the challenges prohibiting businesses from doing more to spruce up the capital was the “depressed” economic climate, pointing out that businesses were focused on trying to survive and keeping staff employed.