We Gatherin’ should not be the sole reason Government should clean up the nation, Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph Atherley told lawmakers as they voted more money for a national clean-up.
The House of Assembly passed the Resolution: Supplementary Estimates No.12 to grant an extra $748,800 to pay the workers.
The leader of the People’s Party for Democracy and Development said that Government needed to make keeping Barbados clean a priority at all times.
Atherley said: “I would like to think that Government is not simply motivated by the thought that we are into the year of We Gatherin’ but that Government is motivated by the view that we need to have a clean environment in the interest of the health of our own people, in the interest of the health of those who visit with us, and those who reside temporarily here and in the interest of having the country remain a jurisdiction that is attractive and appealing to potential investors.
“I believe this is the thinking that should drive efforts like this and not simply because in the instance of a celebratory year that we do this to impress those who visit our shores for the We Gatherin’ exercise this year that Barbados is a clean environment.”
The MP for St Michael West praised Minister of National Beautification Trevor Prescod for reintroducing the campaign but said it was still early days yet.
But Atherley said: “Let’s not pat ourselves upon the backs too early.
“It is not yet a clean place it is still a messy place.
“I would want to applaud the honourable Minister of Environment for the labours he has exerted in an effort to bring improvement to what was really a bad situation with mess and garbage all over the place making the country very unsightly.”
Drawing on a recent overseas trip, the Opposition Leader said Barbados still has much more work to be done.
Atherley said: “Compared with others in the region we are down the list.
“Compared to the world we are not even on the list.
“I was in a place recently I travelled back and forth for a whole week an hour and a half going each direction and during the course of the week I saw two pieces of garbage literally two small pieces of litter on the roads.”
The MP said there was evidence of an unsightly Barbados at every turn which, he warned, sends a bad message to the world.
He said: “When you go around Barbados you see a specter of bush and trees growing not only on the sides of the highways and byways growing along the middle of the highway.
“I understand the circumstances of constraints because of the financial situation but we need to remedy this.
“It speaks a message to the world that we are an untidy people, that we are an uncaring people.”