Bees built Barbados
Before a crowd at Buccaneer, St. James last night, Barbados Labour Party incumbent for St. Andrew, George Payne, defended his record of more than 20 years in politics and as a representative.
Using the issue of housing as his main platform, Payne, a former Minister of Housing himself, declared that during the BLP’s 14 years in office, they had created some 12,000 homes.
“The Democratic Labour Party during the last five years has repeated its performance between 1991 and 1994 when absolutely nothing was done in this constituency. I†used to hear Johnny Cheltenham speak about the two Barbadoses to which the Democratic Labour Party had subjected the Barbados Labour Party to … and I could not understand what he was talking about, but I was struck with the performance of the Democratic Labour Party during that period. But I never thought … that we would go back to that period prior to ’91 — and we have.
“The Democratic Labour Party has done absolutely nothing in this constituency and you have a representative who is claiming that she moved Heaven and Earth for people of St. Andrew,” he said.
He said he had read reports indicating that Minister of Housing Michael Lashley was the shining light of the DLP, noting that it was the BLP in 1994 when it came to Government that started the housing revolution.
“We had to start from scratch. We had to ensure that we build up a land bank to deliver houses to the needy and during the 14 years, we were able to do just that… We provided over 12,000 housing solutions. Even the supporters of the BLP seem to forget because DLP has been so vocal and the Minister of Housing has been able to go on television for the slightest thing that he has done.”
When the DLP left office in 2008, he said they did so with 8,000 housing solutions remaining, but that the DLP came with promises of 2,000 housing solutions a year that they were never able to meet.
“Those 2,000 when multiplied by six years, because they had six years, that should be 12,000 houses, and they talk about 2,500 houses, 500 in five months, interest free loans and none of these have materialised,” Payne charged.
He said too that in the first 100 days the DLP had promised to take VAT off building materials and made promises regarding interest free loans that were never met.
“When you look at the solutions, I was able to deliver 506 in one constituency alone; now the DLP coming and telling you that they are only able to give 283 in the entire country. This is all part of politics of deception,” he told a cheering crowd.
The DLP, he said, was claiming credit for Coverley and was advertising plans for 2,000 homes in Bushy Park, but added that Buccaneer Terrace in St. James was a success of the BLP and between 1994 and 2008 they were able to provide 1,200 housing solutions with Eastern Land Development and back then the Minister of Housing never patted himself on the back for that.
“That is not style of BLP. When they came to Government they had a good wicket to bat on,” he said, adding that there were Barbadians, like Orange Hill resident Daphne Ellis, who they were able to work out arrangements with so poor Barbadians could own their own homes.
“We had a plan, the Dean Town Development Plan, to deliver 1,500 houses for the wider Barbados and in delivering that, putting in all facilities. When they came to office, they did not just abandon our plan, they put it in the sea,” Payne argued, stating instead the DLP went and built “toy houses” at Lancaster that no one wants to buy.
“They building houses no one wants to live in and those houses are so small they cannot hold a normal fridge. They are not as big as some of my friends’ dog pens… Because you are low income does not mean you have to be subjected to those standards. We have moved away from that long ago. The DLP carrying us back to the days of the pit toilet,” he stated. (LB)