Leader of the fledgling United Progressive Party (UPP) Lynette Eastmond believes the main Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is setting a bad example by plastering election posters on utility poles in all 30 constituencies, despite a specific request for political parties to refrain from such practice.
Eastmond told Barbados TODAY that besides going against the wishes of Barbados Light & Power (BL&P), the BLP seemed to have very little regard for the environment.
“The whole thing really doesn’t set a good example in terms of concerns about the environment and sustainability . . . For people to be engaging in behaviour like that, what kind of example does it set?” Eastmond asked.
Though insisting that she was not criticizing the BLP for its method of campaigning, the UPP leader stressed that her concern was about the impact the thousands of brightly coloured posters could have on the island’s already stretched garbage disposal system and the environment.
“The UPP is not criticizing them for what they have done. They have to make their decisions. Our issue really is to ensure that Barbados in all instances starts to look at our environmental practices and our practices for sustainability. That is what we are concerned about. We have to try and work it through in everything that we are doing,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“Of course in Barbados we are concerned as a small country we have problems with the disposal of waste already. So that kind of process is really inconsistent with a sound environmental policy. So that is the main issue for us. We don’t want to participate in that kind of behaviour,” she added.
Eastmond, who has already been engaging in political meetings, declined to say what other campaign methods the UPP was likely to employ for the election season, though not ruling out the possibility of printing posters.
“I will admit to you that if we decide that we are not going that route it puts us at a disadvantage, but we are hoping that Barbadians are moving with us in terms of having a more progressive outlook as far as the environment is concerned. It is something that is not usually a political issue unless it has something to do with criticism of what Government has done or not, but in terms of sustainability of the environment for a small country like Barbados that really has not been on the political agenda,” she said.
Eastmond confirmed that the UPP had also received a letter from the electricity company, which specifically asked political parties to “refrain from placing promotional items on Light & Power poles”.
“Placing cloth, posters and signs on our poles pose a danger to our linemen and contractors. It is for this reason that over the years, we have consistently appealed to Barbadians to desist from the practice,” the letter said.
“If the spurs used to climb the poles come into contact with staples or nails, it could result in a serious fall and/or injury. In addition, some pole identification numbers are obscured by the posters and in the event of an emergency, Light & Power crews need to be able to identify these pole numbers,” it added.
Eastmond told Barbados TODAY while BL&P was concerned for the safety of its employees, she was also concerned about the “large amount of garbage that comes out of the process”.
“Yes, we were sent the letter and we took the letter seriously with the understanding that they are their poles,” she added.
Efforts to reach Grenville Philips II of Solutions Barbados for comment today were unsuccessful, but one party spokesman declared that the BLP posters were illegal, while asking: “Is this the kind of Government we can expect from the Barbados Labour Party? A Government who has no respect for the laws of this country or for the safety of the utility workers?
“If Light & Power takes no action against this blatant disregard of the law from the BLP, then we can assume that Emera [the parent company of BL&P] is a partisan organization. Accordingly, we will notify their international offices about the partisan behaviour of their local subsidiary,” said the Solutions Barbados official, who requested anonymity.