A former Democratic Labor Party (DLP) senator wants Minister of Maritime Affairs Kirk Humphrey to be muzzled by the Prime Minister over his response to food vendors’ complaints over the plastics ban.
Declaring that the Minister was “inconsiderate” and harsh on vendors who complained of expensive and flimsy alternative food containers, Andre Worrell accused Humphrey of ignoring the vendor’s plight.
He said the minister’s comment, “If you buy cheap then you are going to get cheap”, which was directed to food vendors was callous and insensitive to the realities of everyday vending.
In light of those comments, Worrell, a former DLP vice president, suggested that Humphrey should face action.
Worrell said: “The DLP is of the opinion that Minister Humphrey should be muzzled or placed under the direct supervision of a senior minister who has a real-world appreciation of the struggles of the average Barbadian.
“How can a Minister be so out of touch with the small vendors’ struggle? Is he aware that scores of these entrepreneurs have seen a drastic decline in revenue since the start of this Government’s massive layoffs? Does he know some now sell less than ten meals some days?
“His heavy-handed approach to the implementation of his first sensible policy has been fraught with blunders. This has resulted in contempt for an initiative which really should be embraced by all.”
The former senator said the Labour Party Government should have provided concessions in the Budget to allow vendors to purchase high-quality alternate containers.
He said this would have put vendors in a financial position to be able to afford those alternatives.
Worrell added: “Concessions could have been offered to veg-ware vendors in an effort to cushion the losses made by the dumping of petroleum plastics. That would also make the price of the veg-ware products comparable to the banned items. That is what a caring Government which is motivated by concerns for the environment would do.”
He also took issue with the ban’s timeframe. He said that it did not allow suppliers sufficient time to source alternatives, reduce their stock of petro-based plastic products, and order large enough quantities of the alternatives at comparable or competitive prices.