Privitisation not the way
Barbadians who secured mortgages to buy National Housing Corporation houses are likely to lose their loans, Transport Board drivers and janitors will be sent home, Barbados Water Authority employees would end up on the “breadline” and pensioners and school children would again have to pay to travel on Government buses.
DLP candidate for St. Philip North and Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley, tonight warned the country during a Democratic Labour Party mass meting at Rice’s, St. Philip, that these were just some of the adverse results of a proposed privitisation programme which he said was in store for Barbados under the Owen Arthur-led Barbados Labour Party.
Speaking at the meeting in support of his St. Philip South colleague and Attorney-General, Adriel Brathwaite, Lashley sought to rekindle the controversial debate that charges that Arthur had a plan to privitise various State-owned corporations and send home thousands of public officers from such agencies as the NHC, Transport Board and Barbados Water Authority.
He claimed that Arthur was intent on selling off public assets to the highest bidder, with little or no regard for the welfare of Barbadians.
The incumbent St. Philip North MP said when these state agencies become privitised they would go into the hands of the wealthy.
“They are already lining up to get their hands on the Sanitation Service Authority, the National Conservation Commission, … the Barbados Water Authority,” suggested the attorney-at-law.
He said that under the ruling DLP not one single public servant had been laid off during its past five year term. However, he suggested that Anthony Wood — the BLP candidate for St. Philip South — represented a philosophy to sell land to the highest bidder, where Owen Arthur, created two Barbados’ on the West Coast that involved the sale of $3 million homes.
But Lashley told the crowd of supporters that “you have a DLP operating in the most unfriendly economic environment, intervening to acquire land to be sold to ordinary working class people at a price that can fit into their pocket.
“You can [now]”, he added, “get a piece of land for $15,000 from the NHC. We have sold some houses to public servants. If the BLP privitise the National Housing Corporation, those who got mortgages for those houses would not be able to service their loans and would go home and the houses would get ‘tek up’,” declared the housing minister.
Lashley asked supporters to examine the performance of the NHC under the then BLP Government in St. Philip. He noted that under the former administration, the NHC built 10 houses during its 14 years in power, adding that people could not get loans. He said he had to go to Parliament and vest properties in the corporation so ordinary Barbadians could get homes.
Describing Wood as the “tek back man”, Lashley claimed he took back everything he had given to certain constituents after losing his seat in the 2008 general elections. Lashley alleged that Wood had dug a well for someone in St. Philip, but after failing to win the election, he went with a compressor and told the person, “I come back for my well.”
In another moment of lightheartedness, the DLP St. Philip North prospect told the Dems that “they have some walking ’round saying they going to ‘eat’ me, Adriel [Brathwaite] and Dr [David] Estwick raw. If they did that, they would have created history, [because[ they would have more brains in their belly than their heads.” (EJ)†