President of the Democratic Labour Party Verla De Peiza issued a statement on Sunday in response to a Government press conference on the management of COVID-19 which was held on Saturday.
A number of issues were addressed at the press conference, including the announcement by Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins that Government would be footing the additional costs of visitors staying in quarantine hotels, who have been waiting more than 72 hours for COVID-19 test results.
Following is the statement.
“The press conference on the 9th of January 2021, was a slap in the face of every frontline worker who, for their efforts, got commemorated with a shiny $1 coin.
“It was a slap in the face of every unemployed former tourism worker who cannot pay their bills and has received nothing since unemployment benefits dried up, with rent outstanding and families on welfare.
“It was a slap in the face of every Barbadian who now is at the bottom of the testing list and who has to remain in their home under curfew at night because COVID-19 breached our borders.
“We did not appreciate the tone in which you addressed the people of Barbados either: placating to the visitors but condescending to us.
“We were told that we kept our borders open because we needed the tourism dollars to survive.
“But how are we spending the monies earned? We are spending it on increased testing; increased numbers in isolation; increased administrative costs with a whole new communications team; and now for some visitors, a contribution to their quarantine stay and return flights on offer. How do we pay for all of this, if not with the same dollars we were catching at?
“We Barbadians deserve better than this. Our borders need to be managed better and our people are the ones who need the financial support at this time – not just to support their families but they must be allowed to develop new opportunities and industries for this country to start earning revenue again. And that leadership must come from the top.” (PR/KG)