Parliament agreed today on an additional $748,800 to pay workers in the national clean-up programme.
Minister of the Environment Trevor Prescod told the Lower House that the workers will remain employed on a week-on-week-off arrangement. He was speaking as he led off debate on the Resolution: Supplementary Estimates No.12.
Prescod said: “This is for expenditure for a number of workers we brought on a few months ago in which we intend to continue the service at the NCC [National Conservation Commission].
“This is the National Clean-up Programme and we have touched every strategic area across Barbados.”
The Minister then further explained the new working arrangement which he blamed on “financial constraints”.
“Because of the challenges in relation to financial constraints the workers will remain employed until the end of the financial year and beyond,” Prescod added. “But, we made an adjustment from the original position that we took and workers will work week-on-week-off.”
Prescod said that although the cleaning programmes were “neglected” over the years results of the current programme could be seen across the country.
He said: “As you are fully aware right across the national landscape the entire country is overrun by bush.
“But the challenges we faced and are still facing, but obviously we are seeing signs of mitigation and total eradication of some these problems, is because over the years the cleaning programmes were reduced substantially across Barbados.
“And now because of finances we could not do it as intently as one would expect us to.”
He continued: “Wherever you drive across Barbados.
“If you drive through St John, if you drive through St Joseph, if you drive through St Lucy it is as though the whole country has been transformed into full urbanisation.
“I use urbanisation in the context that almost all over Barbados today you can see the results of this money that is being spent on the Barbadian public.”
The St Michael East MP said Government deliberately earmarked those who needed jobs the most into the programme.
He told the House: “We had to make sure that there were persons who are economically vulnerable.
“We had to ensure that we find some means of incorporating or integrating them back into the mainstream of our national workforce.
“This human effort was two-fold one to clean up the state and secondly to ensure that we gradually reduce the unemployment levels in Barbados.
“We applied a methodology that can be considered equitable and we made sure that people from right across the national base would become participants in this exercise.”