The governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is expected to suffer a backlash from angry voters who reside on the south coast, as a result of the troubling sewage crisis.
One of the two constituencies worst affected by the seemingly unending flow of raw sewage – Christ Church South – is held by the DLP and is represented by Minister of Health John Boyce, while the other, Christ Church West, is represented by Dr Maria Agard, who retained it for the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), but has since been kicked out by the party and sits as an independent in Parliament.
Amid increasing anxiety over the country’s economic prospects, residents of Rendezvous, Graeme Hall, Perone Village and Worthing said their number one angst ahead of the general election, which is constitutional due by the middle of this year, is the overflow of effluent flooding their backyards and flowing freely onto the streets of the south coast for over a year.
This morning the usual offending sewer caps in the vicinity of the Worthing post office, as well as those in close proximity to the Hasting’s mall, were again leaking profusely, spewing out filth.
Residents told Barbados TODAY that while the rest of country may have grown numb to the impact due to the length of time the problem has gone unchecked, they were growing angrier each day that they were forced to live with the awful stench and constant threat to their health.
“I voted DLP in 2008, I didn’t vote for them in 2013, but my wife and daughter still voted for them. I can tell you this year that none ah we voting for Boyce this time around. He is the Minister of Health and right now sewage backing up in people’s yard and nuff more mosquitoes around the place. These days the fan not even strong enough to blow them away,” said Keith Nero, who went on to reveal that his family could no longer use his downstairs toilet because of the backflow.
Nero’s neighbour Magaret Applewaithe said she was convinced the DLP Government did not have answers to the sewage crisis.
For this reason, Applewaithe said, another party with the correct focus to get on with the job should be given an opportunity to remedy the problem.
Meanwhile, Sonia Reid, whose three apartments in Perone Village provide accommodation for tourists, told Barbados TODAY her business was affected by sewage on two occasion last year, and with no assurances that the problem will not recur, she opted to remain closed for this tourist season.
Reid made it clear she would not vote for the DLP when Stuart finally rings the election bell.
“I can’t vote for people that taking bread out of my children’s mouth,” she said without explicitly stating which way her vote would go as a result of the effluent overflows.
“I am not going to say who I am going to vote for but I can tell you who I am not voting for. The DLP has had more than enough time to try to fix this issue and they continue to show us that they are incompetent. First they said the problem was one thing, and then it was another and now is something else. They are just throwing things on the wall to see what sticks,” said Applewaithe, who added that she was not at all comforted by Stuart’s recent promise of a long-term solution with financial help from the Inter-American Development Bank.
The long running sewage mess, which has led to the island’s major tourism markets, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United states, issuing advisories to their citizens here to avoid areas linked to the flow, has clearly tested the patience of residents and business owners.
Even as they were preparing to unleash their wrath on the ruling party, those who plan to vote for the BLP also made it clear they were in no mood for more excuses, regardless of which party forms the next Government.
This point was emphasized by Rendezvous resident Cameron Bourne, who stated that even though his family supports the BLP, their loyalty would quickly change should their party win the election and a Mia Mottley-led Government did not treat the issue with urgency during its first year in office.
“I vote BLP and my family votes BLP, but let me tell you now, if they get in and play the fool with this issue, it is going to be difficult for them to get my ‘X’ the next time. This is one of the main things that they are campaigning on and it is a big issue. I drive through Golf Club Road so that my car don’t drive through the s**t and I tell my wife to do the same. From Big B to the main road smell like s**t. I don’t know how people eat there,” Bourne said.