An Opposition candidate has charged that this island’s social services are in their worst state ever.
In fact, the incumbent Barbados Labour Party (BLP) representative for the City of Bridgetown, retired Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, last night suggested that the current welfare system was all but dead as he sought to lay blame squarely at the feet of the current Freundel Stuart-led Democratic Labour Party Government.
“I am 57 years old and I have never experienced the Barbados that we are experiencing today,” said Bostic, who suggested that “whether you are a Bee, Dee, UPP, or PPP you have to agree with me.
“If you had to equate our social services with the human body you have to agree that the patient called Barbados is on its death bed, haemorrhaging and bleeding, that is what is happening in this country,” he said during a BLP meeting in Brittons Hill, St Michael last night.
While zeroing in on health care, welfare and sanitation services, Bostic acknowledged that the provision of social services costs money, but said “if you are not doing anything to generate revenue you will not have money to support the social services”.
“That is economics 101,” he added, while highlighting recent challenges both within and outside the state-run Queen Elizabath Hospital in terms of accessing medication under the local drug formulary.
“I am not knocking the QEH but facts are facts. People are struggling to buy medication that they need.
“They [Government] have messed up the drug formulary. You are spending more time in the Accident & Emergency than ever before, everything is in a mess. Sometimes you have to take your own toilet paper for your relatives [at the QEH],” the BLP candidate claimed.
He also took issue with the Welfare Department saying it was very difficult to listen to some mothers and fathers, “people who it hurts their hearts to go to the Welfare to ask for a food stamp and to be given the sort of treatment that they get in this country”.
Bostic also charged that “we have serious problems with people who can’t even find something to eat”.
Zeroing in on the operations of the state-run Sanitation Service Authority, he further complained that “we have a situation where we would build a big building for sanitation and cannot buy sanitation trucks.
“We continue with a David Thompson football tournament and summer camps, when we could have bought about 20 water trucks when people in this country were without water for a year,” he added.
In his wide-ranging lament, the BLP spokesman was also highly critical of Government’s handling of the education sector as he highlighted the recent closure of the Alma Parris School in St Peter.
“This was a school for children with special needs, slow learners, and an uncaring Government without an explanation one day got up and closed that school down.
“Now all of those students from Alma Parris have to go and absorb themselves in the secondary schools and I am telling you that they will be lost and we are then going to find the next set of people without self esteem.
“This educational system that we have needs a serious transformation. We have an education system that continues to put out people with degrees that don’t have jobs because there are no jobs in that area. That is a fault in the educational system,” he said.
Bostic also took issue with the recently amended road traffic law which calls for the wearing of helmets by cyclists.
“Elderly people who ride to the beach on mornings and evenings and would ride from village to village as a form of exercise and also to be able to make contact with their family and friends, this Government even put a helmet cost on them.
“How can you ask a person who is not working to purchase a helmet for a bicycle that they have been riding for donkey years? But that is the sign of an uncaring Government,” he stressed.