A Community College sociology graduate, whose one-woman protest in front of Parliament was thwarted by absence of police permission, said today she believes Government is taking advantage of the poorest in society.
Kelsi Marshall, 23, a recent Sociology and Literature graduate, told Barbados TODAY: “We as a people are taken advantage of by the people that we vote into power. I believe that if we vote them in that they have the necessary knowledge to put sanctions in place for our betterment or our detriment, but I personally believe the scale always waivers to our detriment.”
Marshall had planned to protest in front of Parliament but did not apply on time for a police permit. Speaking to Barbados TODAY from a nearby City café, she
urged Barbadians to be vocal about the country’s social ills.
Marshall said: “I believe that sometimes you do have to make noise because Bajans would sit and complain in their little circles and their friends on Whatsapp but when it is time to make their voice known for what they think should happen they just go mute and dumb like they are handicapped. It is laughable at the least to say you have a voice until it is time to speak you act as though someone takes out your voice-box.”
Weighing in on the 75 per cent hike in bus fares, she declared as unfeasible, the discount ticketing system announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, and
suggested the Transport Board is in dire need of an overhaul.
Marshall said: “The buses don’t come so why should I pay for a monthly service where I am locked in to only catching Government buses when the Government buses are not coming. So, I am late for my appointments, I am late for work and most of the day I am frustrated. As [members of the public] have been saying the buses are not there.
“I feel one of the first things that [Mottley] should have done with the money collected from the International Monetary Fund is buy buses for the country because as we know there are none. Buses could have been fixed and all of that needs to be done as people are going to continuously suffer.”
The protester said that even with the ticketing system, consumers would not able to save as they would be forced to use the privately-owned route taxis and minibuses if the bus system is ineffective.
Marshall added: “[The Prime Minister] said that only 20 per cent of people use the bus and that [the Transport Board] loses about $50 million every year. Eighty per cent of Barbadians are catching vans so that means Private Service Vehicles (PSV) are making money because whenever you go into a van stand a van is there.”
The young Community College graduate said she would like to see a minimum wage introduced across the island, arguing that $250 per week is no longer adequate.
She said: “$250 is not a livable wage. I feel it needs to be raised to $11 an hour. A lot of people get $150, $175 a week and it is not livable.”
A business owner who declared support for Marshall but declined to be identified told Barbados TODAY
that size of the Cabinet is too large and should be reduced.
She said: “If [the Prime Minister] is saying that the economy is bad and she needs to cut back she should not cut back on the poor people alone, you should look at the top because those are the people that are making the money. Every month now you have to pay 10 more ministers that is money which could be used to subsidise the busfare or something else to help the poor people,” she said.
The entrepreneur added that if if the economy is indeed in bad shape, the Prime Minister should slash the number of its economic advisors.
She added: “Look who are the consultants – the wealthy people not the poor man on the streets. Yes, I agree the economy is bad you need the economy to grow.
“I do not have a problem bearing a little squeeze but if you are going to ask us to bear a little squeeze and you have 26 ministers and consultants that is not fair.”