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Sands for service

blpdesmondsandscanvassFor the Barbados Labour Party’s Christ Church East Central candidate, Desmond Sands, politics is all about service to people.

The first-time candidate and former policeman told Barbados TODAY on Saturday while canvassing his aim was to place tremendous emphasis on looking after the needs of his people at the parochial level.

While noting that the task of getting to know the residents of his constituency had been hectic so far, he had found it very rewarding.

“I am aiming to reach the point when I can say I have knocked on each door in my constituency. The fact is that I am a first-time candidate and obviously I do not have a national face and therefore if I am seeking to represent people I must go and touch them, knock on their doors, interface with them…

“What I can say though, based on walking through the constituency, that a number of community issues have come up and the only way you can deal with community issues is if you go and interface with the people. You can sit down in some office and in a general way speculate on what you think the problems are, but unless you touch the ground and get a real sense from people you will probably never get the true picture.

“And quite often we are not talking about big issues, but there are issues that touch people in a very intimate way — issues that if you are there all it requires some times is you taking the time to get someone else to act.”

Though describing the constituency as quite diverse, Sands, an attorney at law, noted that “from Wotton to Newton and Kingsland … to Regency Park and Kent … different people will have different concerns” but in almost every area there was a similar refrain.

“One of the primary concerns that keeps coming out, whether you are from a working class district or the upper stratification of Barbadian society, it is the cost of living — and as you work your way down it is unemployment,” Sands told Barbados TODAY.

“We have a pretty sizeable and growing set of people in this constituency between 18 and 30 and I get a sense of growing frustration among them… I have come across too many people who can’t get into college because they are one certificate short … and then there are so many who are qualified and who send out application letter after application letter and still can’t find work…

“But one area in which people are really frustrated comes from the fact that we have been telling them to become entrepreneurs… It sound pretty, but what has been coming back to me is that the red tape is really frustrating people.

“Not everyone wants to do business on a big scale. When a fellow says to me ‘I would like to cut hair and all I want is help with infrastructure for that’ he is not looking for something big. This makes it quite clear that there must be a policy that engages persons, … that takes away some of the red tape, that encourages creativity.

“Government will claim it has agencies to do this, but if you carry out a check you will see how many people they are who will tell you they have done this and have got nowhere… We have to understand this issue very carefully because we can have a major problem with people when at 30 or 35 they experiencing extreme frustration because they have not yet had their first job.” (RRM)

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