Last Tuesday I had to travel along Hastings in the deluge of rain we had. As I approached the Boardwalk, I was extremely alarmed to see that the flow of a liquid had caused several of the manhole covers to become undone. The liquid gushed out of the tops of the manhole covers and mixed in with the falling rain.
I admit to being close to beside myself when I noticed that there were amounts of what seemed to be toilet paper in the vicinity of some of the manholes. I continued the journey along the road, starting a new set of exclamations every time I passed a manhole and saw the same scene play out.
When I swung by the lights to proceed onto Rendezvous Hill, the biggest surprise of the evening awaited. There was the distinct and recognizable stench of sewage permeating the entire area from the stop lights to well past the fire station at Worthing. I still cannot believe what I saw last Tuesday and had the account not been a first person lived experience, I do not think I would have ever understood the shock, disgust and confusion I felt.
The sewage system on the South Coast of the island has been showing signs of challenge since at least 2016. Residents and businesses in the area have accounts of difficulty which date back prior to the mass complaints in some cases. In spite of two ministers venturing into the sea to assure Barbadians and visitors that all was well at a nearby beach and the pronouncements of technocrats about remedy, effluent, foul smells and other debris still seem to be finding their way onto the roads on the South Coast.
I do not understand how this is happening so close to the official start of the tourist season for 2017 and no national alarm has resulted. I honestly do not see how some one or more than one person has not found themselves out of a job. How can we be comfortable with the epoch-making destruction to the tourism product’s marketability that the prolonged occurrence of this issues stands to have? Is tourism still our primary industry? Is tourism indeed the primary sector which is currently driving all of the economic movement in Barbados?
What is really going on in Barbados? This question is usually a rhetorical question when it is posed but I think perhaps if we get the balance sheets out and try for a systematic answer to the query, we may be able to see a clear picture of our true state of desperation emerging. Granny always said that water finds its way to the sea. Is that the case with the rain and the liquid which was coming out of the sewage drains last Tuesday as well? And if it applies equally to the rain that fell and the liquids escaping from the sewage manholes, then why were our beaches on the South Coast at least not closed on the following Wednesday?
I am cuffuffled at some of the decisions, lack of decisions and occurrences we are allowing to play out in this country. Barbados is as adrift as the toilet paper which found itself in the middle of Hastings main road! How much will be too much and how much is enough?
Alas, as bad as things are in our country, we continue to hold on to the celebratory notes as well. These keep us in hope. They stop us from feeling as though everything around us is swinging out of control. Permit me two notes of gratitude here. I want to say a resounding thank you to Caleb in the Bridge Mall who is a master of all things tattoos and body piercing.
I got a cartilage piercing done a few weeks ago. These things will happen as I age and find new options to play out my sexy. The original piercing was done using the wrong method and Caleb had the job of rescuing it. By the time I discovered him, I thought my ear was falling off and that I was certainly dying. However, with his professionalism and enthusiasm for what he does, I have seen quick remedy to the situation. It is refreshing to know we have this resource here in Barbados. Not only for Barbadian novices like myself, but it is people like him who actually add value to the tourism sector and provide visitors with alternative activities in which to engage on their vacations. Go on Caleb, save our visitors and provide them with badly needed positive images of Barbados.
The second note is an in-house one. I think I have a rare privilege in Barbados of working with a boss I like and adore. November is the birth month of Today’s Woman as most of the avid readers know. I want to end this week’s column by expressing my continued gratitude to the Editor-in-Chief of Barbados TODAY, Ms Kaymar Jordan, for her continued support and space given to the womanist agenda in Barbados.
The sisterhood among Barbadian women is still in germination. As far as we each get in our individual careers, we have not, in my view, done justice and service to the collective advancement of the female agenda in Barbados until we become big sisters, facilitators and allies to each other as women. We must adopt the habit men have of always recommending a friend for job. We must be willing to gloss over the ineptitudes of each other and deal with our grouses behind closed doors.
Some may ask if I am suggesting that women in Barbados must form a well coordinated and tactical front as we continue our fight to equality and I have to unapologetically admit to asserting exactly that. My editor-in-chief is one of the stellar examples of a woman who not only strives to be the best in her endeavours but also the best big sister she can be. She understands her role and power in changing the condition of Barbadian women and through this space provided by Barbados TODAY for matters in the womanist agenda to come to light, I hope I add value.
Three cheers for another anniversary of Today’s Woman. I hope to train younger women in Barbados who can become columnists in the space. I too want to follow in Kaymar’s footsteps and encourage a younger set of Barbadian women to hone their writing skills and thoughts so that their own voices can shine. To you the readers, I thank you for your continued encouragement and warm words when you reach out.