Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today.
by Steve Prescott
Two days ago, 1st March, around 11 a.m., my Fiancée and I decided to walk from Jamestown Park to the Beach House. I was met with an unfortunate and incredibly painful accident. As I crossed the road, looking out for traffic, and got half way over, my ankle turned over very sharply and threw all 14 stone of me to the ground, hard!
I was able to get myself up and hop to the road side and hold on to the yellow railings. The pain, along with the scraped knee was excruciating. My ankle swelled up like a balloon in seconds. I feared the worst. My fiancée did her best to rally round and get to the Medical Centre just to the side of Limegrove for advice. I had no chance of walking anywhere.
However, a lady graciously drove us down to Sandy Crest Medical Centre where we stayed for about two or three hours. They did a good job of caring for me and ascertained that, fortunately, my ankle was not broken, just soft tissue damage.
I felt lucky.
What’s my point?
I’ve been visiting Barbados for quite some time now. I love this country, so much so I applied for Citizenship by Descent in 2016 and my Bajan passport in 2018. I intend to spend less time in the UK and live here longer than the three months I currently do, and contribute.
But, each time I come here I’m (excuse the word) appalled at the state of the road network and sidewalks – especially when roadworks are being carried out. I’ve had experience of construction project management and one of the key tasks of any project manager is to ensure the health and safety of the workers and the surroundings.
The state of the road surface running through Holetown is treacherous for any person attempting to walk across it and damaging to any vehicle trying to navigate through it.
The surface is uneven, sometimes badly, large holes are left uncovered, cones are tied together with yellow tape as if that will prevent someone falling into them, metal bins used to cover holes where people walk, or worse not covered at all, loose gravel spread around, drain covers or grates loose or with sharp metal edges or holes in them, trip hazards everywhere.
This is quite frankly, appalling project management with no consideration for health and safety or the general public.
Yes, we all have a duty to take care of ourselves, but that does not override the legal duty of care construction companies and their contractors and workers owe to the public. I would expect the work area to be cordoned off properly, with better signage and even a temporary traffic management system in place. I would expect carefully laid robust plastic walk ways at designated crossing points. I would expect tidying up after the day’s work, and so on. Importantly, I would expect disciplined workers.
But there’s a saying which goes around, which I’ve heard too often and quite frankly find insulting and infuriating – “this is Barbados” – as if it’s an excuse for poor workmanship or a reason not to get something done right. If that’s the best we can do then we don’t deserve the high status this country rightly aspires to and our visitors believe we have.
We’ve had 30 years of under or no investment but that’s no excuse. If a job is worth doing then do it right! Show good form and elevate the standard to the higher echelons of health and safety and best practice.
Take more pride in your work, because, you know it is possible to die on a construction site or business premises, right? Employers, you have a legal responsibility, that’s why you (I hope) buy at least BDS$30million Employers Liability Insurance.
Project managers, please do a better job. Workers change your customer service attitude! It is noticeable!
Whoever is the contractor for these works should get in touch with me.
Steve Prescott (LLB Hons)