The first Member of Parliament for St John elected on a Barbados Labour Party ticket in 63 years, has touted his achievements in the rural riding as the party marks three years since capturing the seat in the historic 2018 general election.
As Charles Griffth, a former senior youth commissioner, took Barbados TODAY on a tour of the constituency he reflected on the progress of his stewardship thus far and gave an update on ongoing projects in the parish.
The first item on the list was the water shortage which has plagued his constituents for the past few years. Residents expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation by protesting, creating a documentary and flooding the airwaves with complaints.
In response, the Government embarked on the water augmentation project which has been ongoing for over a year. Griffith told Barbados TODAY as he promised residents will soon get the promised relief as the project draws to a close.
“I am actually pleased to report that we are seeing the finishing line as it relates to the Vineyard to Golden Ridge Project,” he said. “There are a couple of areas now that we need to complete in order for the project to go live, we have two pump houses that are being constructed to move the water to Golden Ridge, one is at Vineyard and the other at Mount Pleasant.”
He revealed that the construction of the pumping houses are at an advanced stage and explained that the expectation is to bring approximately 1.5 million gallons of water from Groves to Vineyard onward pumping to Golden Ridge.
Griffith said that once the project is up and running, water outages and shortages in the eastern corridor of St Joseph and parts of St Andrew, St Thomas and parts of St John will be alleviated.
He said: “That is the major focus of this augmentation project so that when the final pieces are in place that water will be constant in everybody’s household that was previously impacted. So those persons who would have experienced outages on a regular basis or low water pressure should be a thing of the past.”
Describing them as small successes, Griffith touted several other areas in which development has been brought to St John including road repairs, installation of street lights and the commencement of work on a national park.
“These are some of the things that I treat as small success stories over the last year because St John was actually virgin for development, you had nothing going on, no infrastructure no road repairs it was just bland, nothing was happening for the past 50/60 years,” Griffith said.
He showed Barbados TODAY the work done on the road network, noting that in some instances the roads in the constituency was in existence for more than 60 years and was not repaired.
He said: This year we have Sherborne that was completed, Cherry Grove, the road from four roads to Ashford is completed and work is ongoing at Pot House and it is expected that within the next month or so that should be completed… Also of concern was the safety of residents in St John and to date, more than 30 street lights were installed in locations that were blind spots.”
The Member of Parliament also said in the near future it is expected that over 50 youngsters who are the blocks, will engage in an agricultural project at Wakefield, St John where 50 acres of land is being provided for farming.
Pointing to his other campaign promises, Griffith said the use of pit toilets in St John was eradicated and that flooding, a major problem at certain parts within the constituency at Clifton Hall was being addressed through his ministry.
Griffith ended the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) half-century grip on the eastern parish that began with the election of Errol Barrow in the by-election of May 21, 1958, three years after the DLP’s formation, and the elections of David Thompson and later, his widow, Mara Thompson.
The BLP held the constituency briefly from 1956 to 1958 under the old double-member constituency system with Luther Thorne and Victor Vaughan. The 1958 by-election was triggered by junior member Vaughan’s elevation to the Federal Parliament of the illfated 1958-1961 West Indies Federation.
When universal adult suffrage was introduced in 1951, St John went with Owen T Allder and Vaughan as independents.