The Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) has served notice that, if elected, it will revert Rihanna Drive to its original name of Westbury Road because the poor state of the road and the immediate surroundings did not reflect well on the Barbadian superstar.
Neil Holder, BIM’s political leader and candidate for St Michael West, told a news briefing this morning at B&B Bar on Rihanna Drive, he was concerned that the hundreds of tourists who converge on Rihanna Drive to take photographs were being presented with a background of dilapidated wooden houses, a stagnant pool of water and a dirty, unsightly cemetery wall opposite a plaque that bears Rihanna’s image.
“This bar [B&B] shares the same location as the plaque [and] as you would see on the outside, several taxis and coaches are coming and going to take photographs right here this morning. I have chosen this bar strategically long before the Democratic Labour Party decided to have the renaming of Rihanna Drive hastily done,” Holder said.
The BIM candidate, who will challenge incumbent Michael Carrington in the election, suggested that the area around Rihanna Drive has been recently used by the Freundel Stuart administration as a political gimmick.
“I say political gimmick, without apology, because, we are sitting here and I can look over the street at a wall [Westbury Cemetery] with bush in the gutters that have been there when they did the launching of Rihanna Drive. I am looking at a house that is next to the bar that was not painted for whatever reason, political or otherwise. All of the international press would have been here,” noted Holder, who said he was born mere yards away from Rihanna Drive.
“Just about two yards from here [B&B Bar] is Rihanna Drive, and on that street, I am sad to report that on that corner of Parris Gap still has that big puddle of water because the gutters were not repaired. And people are coming in tour buses and taxis and seeing these deficiencies. We still have houses that they have only painted the front of the houses, and if tourists decided they wanted to capture the chattel house architecture of Barbados, they are going to see zebras . . . the front is one colour, but the back is another,” the BIM candidate for the area complained.
Holder said a more fitting tribute to the Shut Up and Drive singer would be to rename the adjoining Spring Garden Highway the Rihanna Boulevard.
The BIM head also accused the Stuart administration of engaging in political gimmickry such as the paving of Bridge Gap “on the eve of an election”, complaining while this was going on, there remained issues in an area known as “Vietnam” with uncollected garbage; the corner of President Kennedy Drive where a missing sidewalk existed for ten years, and residents who have not been receiving pensions.
“All these are things we are going to seek to address. And I speak to you this morning as leader of the Barbados Integrity Movement also to say that our remit nationally is to put the people of Barbados first. The Barbados Integrity Movement is going to bring Barbados back to that place where we as Barbadians were proud to see her. We are going to lift Barbados out of the dirt,” he promised.
He also revealed that a BIM government would scrap parliamentary privileges so legislators would no longer hide behind this rule to defame people.
Holder said Barbadians would also be allowed to enter Parliament and ask questions of their representatives every quarter and be assured of answers.
A BIM administration would also give the Accountant General the power to call in the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to commence criminal charges against any public officer suspected of acting dishonestly in any affairs of state, he promised.
Holder told reporters his movement also intended to pursue republicanism, establish a fixed election date, limit a prime minister’s tenure to two terms, establish community resource centres, train entrepreneurs, develop cottage industries, create “proper” playing fields throughout the constituency and focus on elderly care facilitation. (EJ)