The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate in the upcoming St George North by-election, Toni Moore believes if her concerns about the constituency are addressed, it would make her time in office, if elected, a transformative period for the area.
Addressing a mass rally in her support at Market Hill on Sunday night, the trade unionist was critical of even the administration of the BLP that recruited her, demanding improved access to potable water for residents, improved roads and better treatment of welfare-dependent single mothers.
She spoke of the unusual situation in Zone One areas, Bailey Alley, Golden Ridge, and Ashbury where new housing development was prohibited from 1971 to protect groundwater from contamination. This means that those who took up residence after that date are without running water and have to fetch it from standpipes, while their neighbours who were there prior to that year have water coming from taps in their homes.
“I’m putting this challenge to the government of the day: We can’t be speaking about enfranchisement when our people are lacking some of the most basic things that they need,” Moore said, adding, “if our people cannot have access to water for good reason, if we cannot find a fit to the issue, then we must be able to relocate them”.
Moore told the gathering of party faithful that the reason she raised the issue was “because many of you who are supporters here tonight can’t comment. When your water goes off for a day or two, that is a problem for you”.
“Transformative change is what is required in Barbados and I’m speaking to you … on issues that I’m connecting to with you, St George North,” she added.
She then hit out at the Government’s social assistance programme for single parents, especially those now unemployed because of COVID-19 business cutbacks.
“One of the things that has stirred me in a particular way is when I go from house to house and I hear some women ask, ‘Miss Moore, I ain’t get no vouchers. I ain’t working no more. I got three children … and nothing is happening’.”
The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) general secretary was adamant that constituents need assistance, “not in a flip-flop way where you coming and give people a little handout that will last them today but not much beyond today”.
“Women in this community need to feel empowered and it is not good enough for our females, our single parents, to be at home worrying about food for their children and not being able to provide because they can’t have a job,” she said, insisting that the COVID-19 response must not be “a public policy that will take care of people’s needs today. We must be taking care more fully of the needs of our people”.
Stating that for too long there have been unfulfilled commitments to fix many constituency roads, she said, “the Government has to do something”.
Moore said the previous administration did not do much in terms of road repairs and residents were aware of it.
Although acknowledging that the current Government has additional challenges, given the COVID-19 environment, she said “what you must also understand is that this is not good enough”.
“The Government that asked for Toni Moore to come in and represent the people of St George North is a Government that has to understand that to whom much is given, much is required,” she said.