Whether or not Barbadians want to hear it, the harsh reality is that the Government cannot provide everything for its citizens.
While it is the Government’s role to take care of its citizenry, oftentimes individuals sit and wait for handouts, or complain, even in situations where they can help themselves.
One such situation occurred over the weekend. On Sunday, a young man who resides in Wotton, Christ Church, almost fell into a 70-foot well.
In recounting the accident, he said he was taking out garbage when he stepped on a well and the concrete slab covering it caved in.
Just over seven months ago, the country was sent into shock when 17-year-old Kyrique Boyce lost his life after the well he was walking on in his Pine Housing Estate neighbourhood collapsed, causing him to plummet 100 feet. Even though he was rescued from the well after a valiant effort by officers from the Barbados Fire Service, Boyce later succumbed to his injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Government was blamed for his death, with frustrated and irate residents of Boyce’s St Michael community claiming that the low-income housing schemes had been neglected for years by both Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administrations.
There was also a similar cry this time around from Wotton residents, who argued that the wells in the community were in dire need of repair.
Along with that particular well, they claimed that several others in the area also needed attention.
Immediately following Boyce’s death, Government embarked on a project with the National Housing Corporation (NHC) to fix broken wells across the country.
In fact, several communities have benefited to date, including those in the Pine and Black Rock, St Michael.
And while Government has a role to play in these circumstances, residents also have to take some blame.
The young man who was lucky not to lose his life in Wotton really should have known better. There is no reason why an adult should feel comfortable walking on a well, as it always presents a clear and present danger.
Such was the advice handed down to residents by Parliamentary representative for the area, Ryan Straughn, who visited the area shortly after the incident.
“People have grown accustomed to traversing the area and therefore in a sense are oblivious to the risks that may be posed with respect to walking on top of the infrastructure. It is a problem islandwide and we are appealing to residents obviously to exercise some caution with respect to how they traverse these areas,” he said.
Communities such as the Pine and Wotton are densely populated, especially with children.
So not only should adults living in these areas be conscious enough not to indulge in such dangerous practices, but they should also make it a priority to educate their children on the dangers as well.
And if after notifying the NHC and the relevant authorities regarding an open or damaged well in their communities, residents have gotten little satisfaction, then they must take it upon themselves to do what is necessary to keep their environments safe.
Whether that be cordoning off the area or combining resources to fix the problem, it simply cannot be good enough to wait for Government to provide the solution, especially at a time when the country’s resources are limited.
A life lost is irreplaceable and blaming Government afterwards will not bring it back.
Sometimes the best way for communities to develop and grow is by residents taking the lead.