Describing St Andrew as “one of the battleground seats” in this election, Democratic Labour Party (DLP) President Verla Depeiza said “this is a time when the people of St. Andrew can make a decision for change”.
She told a meeting in Belleplaine on Sunday that for years St Andrew has had the same representative and for years St Andrew has had the same issues.
She lauded DLP candidate Oldwin Skeete, as part of the young, dynamic team which the DLP is presenting, even though “the outgoing Prime Minister” is on one hand saying how much young people have to offer and yet on the other, “picked apart the young people in the DLP. And it is not lost on the young people of Barbados that she is saying one thing and doing another.”
The DLP President said, “When a government can find in hard times, the space to help businesses but can’t find the time to help its people, outside of a hamper – because that is what the care package was – just a cute name, they’re good at it – and all that could be offered to its people was a hamper, when it is obvious that the cost of living is running away from our salaries, and we are unable to support our families and we’ve been crying out for our needs.”
DePeiza said another young DLP candidate Ryan Walters, had given advice on what should be done at this stage to help stimulate the economy, but his advice had fallen on deaf ears.
“He said it was time to concentrate on small business, which would help grow the economy. It is the time to allow people to spread their wings for themselves. A young man full of ideas,” the speaker remarked. But she charged, the PM had instead picked him apart instead of listening to him …
“She found $300m for the tourism sector and they didn’t even want it, and she didn’t think to divert the money and allow some small businesses to grow,” she added.
She added “People getting squeezed at every turn. First under the BERT Programme some of you went home. Then under the BERT programme a lot of you had your bonds devalued, you lost your savings for your rainy day, you lost your retirement provisions. And nobody was looking to fix that for you. And then COVID came and again, workers crying out and the unemployment benefits running out, and nobody standing up for the people of Barbados except Courie Cox – our spokesperson on labour. Raising his voice constantly and giving solutions, not just critiquing. The young people have solutions and they deserve to be listened to.”
She explained that both DLP candidates Paul Gibson, a pharmacist, and HR Specialist Andre Worrell, had given the government solutions at a time when there was “all kind of chaos going on in Barbados with COVID, and the protocols were all over the place like they schizophrenic. Yet when “the two young spokespersons on health had been “giving them solutions and ideas,” they didn’t listen.
“They had a lot of talk for a 10-year period but in three and a half years they have destroyed the fabric of this society. In three and a half years they have ruined the confidence of our people and the hopes of the next generation. So much has gone wrong in three and a half years,” Depeiza lamented. She charged that all that has happened since the last election “has been blow, after blow, after blow” to the people of Barbados.
The DLP leader said that St. Andrew candidate Skeete had taken her to a road which had “broken away” and where the people were fixing the road themselves, because they can’t get any representation.
“We have come to that point in this country, where people are fixing roads for themselves, for crying out loud … and then (they) will wait until they ring a bell prematurely, to want to run and drop some black stuff in a hole and expect you to be grateful for that. This is not the time for quick fixes – this is the time to be thinking deeply about solutions for the ills of our society; including our roads that you all suffer so badly from; including our transport system where they carried up the bus fare by 75 per cent but they can’t seem to find the money to give you a proper bus service.”
Depeiza noted that even though electric buses had been imported, their suitability was questionable.
“They off the road half the time to charge up. They carry 33 people,” only part “of a busload coming out of town into St. Andrew … and the windows can’t open though. In a tropical country with COVID flying around and your own protocols saying that public transport must have windows open, and you present buses to the people of Barbados that the windows don’t open at all, at all, at all.
“And we were told that it was only going to be a cosmetic change of name, from Governor general to President, and lo and behold we found ourselves in a few short months upside-down, discussing terms of office for a President that we never had in our minds. And then hearing that our Constitution was going to be upended to the point where right now, we don’t even know if we have a working constitution. And then to be presented with a charter that rips the heart out of the body of Barbados, a country that has lived its experiences and understood its Christianity. Matter of fact it isn’t even about Christianity, because the Muslims stood up against the change, because they understand the need for a grounding and a foundation in something morally-based.”
The DLP president said all attempts to discuss or question the Republic were met with the response that it would be dealt with in-depth in January 2022. “Little did you know and understand that what was really meant, was that in 2022 you were going to be asked to come blindly to the polls and mark an x for a government that can’t take a moment to decide and describe the future that they want for you; but will just tell you they’re some hard decisions to be made.”
She therefore urged the St Andrew voters to cast their ballot for Skeete, for change, for democracy and for their children, whose education was being sacrificed. (SDD)