Thursday, April 18, 2024

EDITORIAL: NCC falling down on the job


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THE PUBLIC SPIRITEDNESS of citizen Anthony Alleyne in cleaning up and maintaining a section of the popular beach at Brandons, St Michael, speaks volumes. It highlights this man’s love for country and commitment to the care of the environment. At the same time, Mr Alleyne’s efforts show up severe weaknesses with the National Conservation Commission (NCC), the agency whose mandate is to beautify and maintain public spaces.

It is evident that the conservation commission is not up to the task, judging from the unsatisfactory conditions at many of those areas for which it has responsibility, whether beaches, playgrounds, state-owned gardens or the marine reserve at Folkestone.

Brandons is but one example of neglect.

The deplorable state of the premier open green space in The City, Queen’s Park, best illustrates the concerns. This area forms part of Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison, a designated UNESCO heritage site. It should therefore hold pride of place for both Barbadians and visitors alike. But, Queen’s Park is not an inviting place for people to seek respite under its trees, enjoying the flora and fauna. Not even the fountains are working.

At the other end of the country, the expansive Barclays Park on the Ermie Bourne Highway in St Andrew is in need of extensive care. The shrubbery needs attention, especially if it is to be a safe and secure location, given the many people who picnic there day and night.

Too many of our beaches also lack effective daily cleaning, and a look into the canal at Brandons is depressing. The first heavy shower will create an additional problem.

The NCC may have a very valid excuse for its inability to keep all those areas under its control in pristine condition following the drastic reduction of its workforce. But, the loss of manpower is in itself not a justifiable reason for the ineffective job being done. Quality supervision is a must for all its projects.

We must not speak in whispers about poor work attitudes for fear that either the workers or their industrial representatives become annoyed.

Indeed, both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party must also insist that there be quality output from workers at this agency. All that’s required is a full and fair day’s work each and every day. 

If the NCC is incapable of undertaking all the tasks traditionally assigned to it, then its board of directors should let this be known and offer a solution. One idea is to put some of the work out to tender and involve the private sector, as is the case with the ABC Highway.

We must, after all, reflect the pride and protect our environment. Mr Alleyne has shown what can be achieved.

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