As Barbadians say farewell to 2018 and await 2019, two things remain on their minds – the state of the country’s economy and gun violence.
When the Barbados TODAY team took to the streets to ask people about their wishes for the future of the country, it was unanimous that the economic climate was paramount.
Retiree Margaret Fraser-Morrison said she hoped the bitter pill from the Barbados Economic Recovery Transformation (BERT) Programme would see good results for the country next year.
“I am hoping that . . . it would reap success for Barbados and it is not just a programme where we don’t know exactly is going on. We hope we can see exactly what BERT is bringing to Barbados and how the new process is helping us to get back on strong ground economically,” she commented.
This was also reiterated by Bruce Lee who said he wished prosperity for the island in the New Year, noting that it appeared the economy was “stepping up”.
“It is someplace now that you want to live, so I am hoping that everyone can have a good year and get more prosperity for their lives,” he said.
With more public sectors layoffs to come in January, Andrew Daniel said he hoped Barbadians would become thriftier.
“We need to be a little more conscientious about how we spend our money. We need to make sure that we are not [spending] willy-nilly because we don’t know what the future holds,” he said.
Daniel also wished for citizens to become more unified: “I think the best thing is if we work together to build the country up; we will have a good footing to move forward.”
Meanwhile, Owen Sealy told Barbados TODAY that he wanted authorities to take a more proactive approach to dealing with gun violence in the society.
“First, I want to see a cease to the violence. I think we are getting out of hand as far as the violence is concerned and I wish this present government will make a whole difference for all Barbadians,” he said.
His call was supported by Sophy Brathwaite who also called for an end to the hate and animosity, adding that Barbadians needed to learn to start loving each other as they welcomed the New Year.
“The police need to stand up and don’t be frightened for these young people and even older folks. Everybody doing a lot of wicked things, we need to stop it. This violence needs to stop!”
Educator Tranette Belgrave also wished that for 2019 there were harsher penalties for gun violence and more focus on education programmes.
“Schools need more funding . . . to help implement programmes that can benefit our children—resources for the classroom, anything that makes it much easier for us to be more impactful and more efficient in our jobs,” she said.
Belgrave also suggested that anger management programmes be made mandatory in schools so students would have conflict resolution skills when they entered the work place.
“You are not going to get along with everyone but it is how you deal with the situation that makes it a lot better,” she said.