Sunday, April 14, 2024

Govt mistake or clean-up?


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IS IT A CASE of Government tidying up some loose ends or stumbling from one error to another on the eve, so to speak, of the imminent general election?
Within the last fortnight or so, at least four issues have dominated Barbadian conversations. One has been brought back to the fore by the Opposition after residents of Bagatelle, St Thomas, and its environs raised the matter of B’s Recycling more than two months ago, while another was revealed on Facebook.
But, amazingly, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government has piled two more issues upon its own flagging shoulders: the stated intention to convene a special meeting to investigate an alleged confrontation between St Joseph Member of Parliament Dale Marshall and Dr David Estwick, MP for St Philip West, and last Tuesday’s introduction of the Cruise Ships (Opening Of Facilities) Bill in the House.
The last two could not have been brought – of the party’s own volition – at a more inopportune time! It is mind-boggling, to say the least.
The Facebook letter?written by Estwick in his capacity as Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, ordering managers at the Barbados Water Authority not to attend any project review meetings with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has not been denied by Estwick, and can be seen in no other context than disrespect.
The recycling plant issue, meanwhile, has led to a High Court injunction seeking judicial review of a Cabinet decision to allow B’s to operate its metal recycling plant at Bagatelle. This came after Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe denied that Government had swapped land at River Bay, St Lucy, and Fort Denmark, St Peter, for the site of this commercial venture.
As if those two issues were not enough, two Saturdays ago it was confirmed to THE NATION that a letter had been dispatched to all sitting MPs inviting them to shed light on what had actually occurred near the steps of Parliament on the night of March 19, 2010. As Paul Keens-Douglas would say: “Well, who tell dem do dat?”
The letter, sent on behalf of Speaker of the House Michael Carrington, has immediately dredged up Marshall’s strident accusation of Estwick brandishing a firearm and the latter’s stout denial of ever doing so. The committee was set to hear from interested persons on Wednesday but nothing has emerged, so far.
Then on Tuesday, the Government somehow decided this would be a good time to push through Parliament the Cruise Ships Bill 2012 which effectively legitimizes casino gambling in Barbados’ waters, to be precise, in the Bridgetown Port.
Amazingly, or should I say amusingly, Minister of International Transport and International Business George Hutson regaled the House with the benefits to be gained.  
The Opposition got up and instantly berated the bill as “a raw decision to legalize casino gambling”. And it was only a matter of hours before church leaders and representatives were saying a resounding “no”, again, to casino gambling.
I must ask this: when a political party moves from one blunder to another, could it be confused or is there indeed some method in its apparent madness?
Pride in our children
When my children produced little word pictures for me, a mind often told me to keep some of them; for though they may have appeared to be a source of clutter, to me they had value.
Today I still have a postcard which my daughter Racquel as a small child made for me. I’m glad I kept it because, having won the Irving Burgie Award recently, she can see that the writing of poetry has been rooted in her for a long time.
At the end of the day, you never know what you may have birthed in your child’s life by taking pride in her or his writing efforts, drawings or splashes of paint that can be dismissed by adults as insignificant.
With that in mind, I commend Racquel Griffith, along with this year’s other award winners Mark Ramsay and Nicholas Roach-Holder, whose achievements were announced last Thursday.
• Ricky Jordan is an Associate Editor of THE NATION. Email

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