Minister of Health John Boyce has dismissed as “foolishness” a call by former Minister of Health Elizabeth Liz Thompson for him to be fired over the long running sewage mess on the south coast.
Boyce said the call came as no surprise, although he did not say why he expected it.
However, he took a dig at Thompson, who had been sacked by then Prime Minister Owen Arthur back in 1999.
Boyce also questioned why Thompson, a former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, was playing an influential role in local politics.
“I am not surprised. I know former Minister Thompson was fired from the Cabinet of Owen Arthur. I think she works for the United Nations in some capacity but she seems to still be actively involved in the Barbadian political scene, I don’t know why,” Boyce told Barbados TODAY before entering Parliament this morning to participate in the resolution to divest land in the National Housing Corporation for heritage tourism.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY on the fringes of the sixth annual sustainability conference in St Eustatius earlier this week, Thompson said that along with Boyce Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler should also be sacked immediately because of their failure to effectively manage the sewage crisis.
“This is unprecedented in our history to have raw sewage, toilet paper and sewage water just floating in the [Hastings area] around restaurants and around the streets where people live. And with Christmas coming up and the tourist season, it is a disaster, but it is typical of how the Democratic Labour Party have run the country,” Thompson had said.
Even more pressure was applied to the authorities yesterday by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party, with its candidate for Christ Church South Ralph Thorne, QC, strongly advising the affected residents and businesses to seek legal redress.
But it was a warning by the BLP’s Christ Church West candidate Dr William Duguid, a dentist by profession, that the situation was a “national disaster” that presented “significant risk of gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, significant enterovirus problems, significant retrovirus problems, estracoli bacteria and a whole host of problems with diarrhea and all sorts of issues” for those who live and work in the area and those who traverse the Worthing and Hastings districts that caught Boyce’s attention.
And the minister sought to reassure Barbadians that his ministry was doing everything in its power to prevent an epidemic.
“We have been working with the Barbados Water Authority in mitigating the impact of this very serious breach of the sewage plant on the south coast. We have been in a number of high-level meetings to ensure that the officers from the Health Department are out there monitoring and ensuring that the public is aware of the kind of practices that they must maintain to ensure that there is no spread of any kind of disease,” Boyce said.
The minister further revealed that he had been monitoring the affected areas, pointing out that plans were in the pipeline to intensify communication to the affected residents and businesses.