Barbados is now polluted with politicians buying votes that are the hard-won rights of Barbadians.
A fighting Ronald Jones last night told an audience at the Democratic Labour Party’s Bathsheba Park, St. Joseph meeting that he was sickened by the practices of buying votes and told the constituents not to fall for such ploys.
“We are in tough times and will be in tough times for some time to come… This country has become polluted by the use of money buying the votes of our young people. I saw it in St. Thomas in the by-election of 2001. I never saw it before, but in 2001 when I saw it I shuddered; and I saw all these people walking up the steps of Parliament, pretending they are righteous, poisoning our young people, telling them your vote is worth a $200 or a $100 when we won right to vote coming out the shackles and the pain of slavery and the oppression of our people.
“You give your life, you give your blood, you give your sweat, you give your tears, but they want to say to you all you are worth is a $200 or $300 bill. None of that. Shame, disgrace,” he called from the DLP platform to a small but growing audience.
“This election is about uniting this country, giving us a purpose, a focus; bringing our people to the centre once again and saying to them we are better than that. There must be a paradigm shift from this nasty, polluted politics brought into Barbados by people who believe only in power and not in service,” he said.
The DLP, he charged, had not come up with its slogan by chance, he stated, but had sat together to examine the philosophy of the party and the future in which they wanted to take the country. He said it was based on the belief that people mattered not power, and recognition of a commitment to those said people of Barbados.
“It is people who matter not power. Then to top it off, we said we would say to the people, it is Dems now, it must be Dems again; and we did not say that because we care about power, we said that because we care about every one of you,” he stated.
Adding that the DLP could not allow the country to go back to a state of corruption, Jones asked the audience if it know of the “colossal overruns in the BLP”.
“You remember you heard about all of them. I remember Dale Marshall and the prison. Now the currency of this realm is the Barbadian dollar. It is not the British pound or the pound Sterling; the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, it is not the US dollar.
“So we were told in Barbados, he was Attorney General, Minister of Home Affairs then, and we were told the prison was being built for this amount of money. When the price kept rising and rising, we said. ‘Stop, something wrong’. We were in opposition then.
“You know what his answer was? We were talking in US dollars. You remember? So if it was $125 million, when it came back he said oh that is US$125 million … and every single January we have to put out $30 million for that project. We are committed to 25 years before it becomes the full property of the state.
“Multiply $30 million by 25 years … $750 million. I am told, I don’t know, I didn’t investigate, that out of that project there are several people who still [benefiting today] today…
“We cannot allow our country to go back to that state. We cannot allow our country to become immersed in corruption, lack of integrity and indecency. I ask you to examine your hearts, look into your mind, see your conscience and make a decision on the answer you get. Has Dale Marshall and the BLP been effective representatives for this constituency?” said Jones. (LB)