No need for fuss

blpstmichaelblpbillboardFormer Chief Town Planner Leonard St. Hill wants to know why there is so much fuss about election billboards.

He sees nothing wrong with the Barbados Labour Party, Democratic Labour Party or any other person or organisation using this form of promotion, saying they were permitted under the island’s town planning laws.

St. Hill, however, said there was a need to ensure that this method of communicating with the public did not escalate to the point where billboards were all over the place.

Additionally, the former senior civil servant this evening called for authorities to introduce a law to make sure candidate posters and similar paraphernalia were removed from walls, utility poles and other places after elections.

“The law makes it possible for permission to be granted for temporary billboards for that 28 day period with the understanding that they will be removed afterwards,” he told Barbados TODAY.

He explained that the 28-day period was permitted partly because this was the amount of time Town and Country Planning officials had before they could take action against people who might have been breaking the law.

“Really and truly this should not be an issue, I don’t see a need for people to make an issue out of it. Anybody at all, not just political parties, can use this means to advertise,” he said.

“However, if it moves from being an election gimmick to being a regular tactic outside of elections action would have to be taken.”

In the current circumstances though, he said there was no need to “use a sledgehammer to kill a fly”.

St. Hill was not similarly accommodating to the placement of posters, some of which usually remained long after polling day.

“On walls for instance we often see post no bills, but that doesn’t make a difference. There ought to be a law for people who put up these posters to be made to take them back down after their real purpose is over,” he said.

In the 2008 general elections and the current campaign there has been some friction between the DLP and BLP about the use of billboards.

The DLP used them in 2008, while this time it is the BLP, which has placed several billboards mainly in urban areas. (SC)

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