Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today.
If I could be the Prime Minister for one day, what would I do? The following are nine decisions that I would make.
First, I would instruct Minister Sutherland to publish a preliminary report on recommended uses for the volcanic ash, in ten days. We got ash in Barbados over two weeks ago, so this report is long past due.
The report should include a chemical analysis of the ash, using the massspectrometer at the Government Analytical lab. It should also include seven-day: tension, compression, shear, and absorption tests on a one lime: three ash mixture, using testing equipment at the Barbados National Standards Institution’s lab.
Second, I would instruct all Ministers, that all Government funded constructed projects should be amended.
The external walls should be plastered with a one lime: three ash mixture – which should last over 1,000 years.
Stop building tombs
Third, I would instruct Minister Duguid to immediately stop the construction of houses that can entomb their occupants in earthquakes, and leave them homeless in a major hurricane.
I would remind him of the magnitude 7 earthquake which Haiti experienced in 2010, that reportedly killed approximately 300,000 Haitians.
I would also remind him of the recent Category 5 hurricanes: Irma that impacted Anguilla in 2017, Maria that impacted Dominica in 2017, and Dorian that impacted the Bahamas in 2019.
I would then instruct him to ensure that new houses are economically built, and existing houses are economically strengthened, to survive those earthquake and hurricane events.
Fourth, I would instruct Minister Humphrey to publish a report on the small-scale preparation of Sargassum seaweed for the commercial market, in ten days.
That should include a chemical analysis of the seaweed – both with sea water and washed.
It should also include household methods to convert it to a powder or paste for medicinal, culinary, and/or construction uses, and samples of labelling for export. This report is long past due.
Fifth, I would instruct Minister Straughn to immediately remove all taxes from whole foods, and increase taxes on: high-sugar, high-salt, high-fat processed foods.
Barbadians should never be forced to only afford food that will likely give them diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Sixth, I would instruct Minister Edghill to immediately stop wasting construction materials in the temporary patching of potholes. Potholes should be permanently patched. Further, cracks in asphalt pavements should be sealed to prevent them from prematurely becoming potholes.
Seventh, I would instruct Ministers Walcott and Husbands, to clearly inform China, that we are not pleased with the reported genocide of China’s Muslim Uighurs, and the reported persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters in China.
We cannot go back in time to help our enslaved foreparents, but we should speak for those persecuted who cannot speak for themselves – especially when we have influence.
Eighth, I would instruct Minister Cummins to install large conspicuous posters in our ports of entry, in several languages.
The posters should inform trafficked sexslaves of their rights in Barbados, and the slavers of their liabilities.
We should not, especially as descendants of enslaved persons, facilitate the enslavement of others.
Ninth, I would instruct Minister Bostic to publish a preliminary report on the status of abortion-for-convenience in Barbados. I would remind Minister Bostic that abortion is legal in Barbados. But it is for situations like when the mother’s life is at risk, and a terrible choice must be made between saving the mother, or intentionally killing her baby.
It is a painful horrific choice, but the law protects doctors from prosecution, from doing what would otherwise be a criminal act. Abortion is also allowed for cases of rape and incest. But abortion for convenience, as a method of birth control, is illegal in Barbados.
I would instruct Minister Bostic to grow some courage, and represent the unborn babies, for whom he, as Minister, is responsible for saving.
If he cannot bring himself to do his primary job (for everything else is of secondary importance), then he should resign immediately and let someone else do it.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at [email protected]