PM energized

Addresses Cahill, White Hill and several other pressing issues

Declaring he was far from tired and in fact energized, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today confronted several national issues facing the country with the assurance that he was focused on “getting Barbados right”.

In a more than three-hour-long, one-on-one session with senior media managers at his official Two Mile Hill residence, Stuart frankly addressed the White Hill dilemma; vexing water issues; the now abandoned Cahill Plasma Gasification project, and the damning 2015 Auditor General Report, among other topics.

The Prime Minister revealed that help was on the way for despairing White Hill, St Andrew residents, who have been severely affected by land slippage that has wrecked houses and roads.

Stuart said he discussed the matter with his Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley earlier this week, and was hopeful that a long-term solution to remedy the problems affecting the rural area would soon be ready.

“The White Hill matter is going to cost us as I understand it from the minister. There is now a report from the Chief Technical Officer that is come to Cabinet, so we can decide to move on White Hill in a sustainable way.”

In the same vein, Stuart revealed that efforts were continuing to address persistent water outages affecting several parishes across the country, especially St John, St Joseph, St Andrew and St Peter.

Notwithstanding prevailing drought conditions, the Prime Minister said depleting water levels and aging old mains had further compounded the island’s water woes.

Revealing that the matter was discussed at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, he announced that two desalination plants that would make 300 thousand gallons of water available would soon be installed.

DSC_2367a

Another issue of concern for country’s leader was the issue of solid waste management. Stuart said his Government had returned to the drawing table to find a solution to the island’s waste disposal predicament now that the Cahill waste-to-energy project had been aborted.

Standing behind his decision to forgo the multi-million dollar controversial project following a strong public outcry, Stuart rubbished concerns that Government could find itself liable for pulling out of the deal that was expected to result in the Guernsey-based Cahill Energy investing millions in the proposed plant at Vaucluse, St Thomas.

“I don’t know that there can be any liabilities hidden anywhere for the Government of Barbados,” Stuart pointed out. He argued that “there were no representations made by the Government Barbados on the basis of which people altered their position and expended monies or anything like that.

“In any event, like I said there could be no contracting out of the statutory obligations of anyone who wants to establish a plant in Barbados. . . so as far as a liability is concerned, the answer is no.”

Turning his attention to Auditor General Leigh Trotman’s report, the Prime Minister told the media he was very concerned about the reoccurring issues cited in this year’s report, which cited millions in outstanding arrears, unauthorized transactions, misplaced funds and flawed contracts between the Government and private entities.

“This year [report] is not for anybody’s comfort, the Prime Minister said, as he chastised public servants for treating the Auditor General’s report with “unpretending indifference”.

Saying that he would personally take on the issue, Stuart stressed that not only would greater consideration be given to widening the powers of the Auditor General, but greater pressure would be placed on permanent secretaries to be more vigilant about the management of their departments.

“A more serious responsibility is going to have be devolved on the shoulders of permanent secretaries to ensure that issues that need to be clarified; that explanations that need to be given are given in a timely fashion, so that when the Auditor General’s report is published, it reflects reality and not just information that he has had to make do with, because he had no better information at his disposal.”

The Prime Minister also disclosed that Government would be taking a closer look at the operations of statutory corporations that remain a drain on the public purse.

He pledged that his Government would continue efforts to steer the country in the right direction and when pressed about whether his administration had lost favour with Barbadians he admitted that while there were things about which people were unhappy. However, Stuart said he was not “uncomfortable”, warning that “none of the orchestrated or engineered excitement around me can ruffle my feeling of calm”.

The Prime Minister also fended off talk of an early general election, saying, “elections have not crossed my mind, and I don’t think about elections at all. I think about getting Barbados right,” he told journalists.

 sandydeane@barbadostoday.bb

9 Responses to PM energized

  1. Sunshine Sunny Shine June 4, 2016 at 6:31 am

    You have made promises and in the past and never kept them. What makes these ones any different. Stuuuuuuuuuupse

    Reply
    • Carson C Cadogan June 4, 2016 at 7:36 am

      I assume that you have never made a promise and because of changed circumstances had to move away from it?

      Reply
  2. Green Giant June 4, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Hi @ Sunshine Sunny Shine, we all make promises that have to be broken for some reason that’s logical only to us. I’m not defending the PM here at all because politicians are people first, and like us they came to office with habits they’ve developed over the years.

    We expect too much of them, and often time forget that like us they’re human, with no special gifts or abilities either.

    Reply
    • Sunshine Sunny Shine June 5, 2016 at 12:09 am

      One or two broken promises is a given. When you make twenty and do not commit to any of them then it becomes a matter of credibility and belief. Politics in recent times in Barbados is about making promises but not keeping any of them.

      Reply
  3. zeus June 4, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Jonathan the man won an election and its possible he may win a next can you tell the world something that you ever won

    Reply
  4. zeus June 5, 2016 at 6:54 am

    SSS since you are admitting that the BLP spent money to buy votes can you say exactly how much they spent on vote buying in the last election

    Reply
  5. zeus June 5, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Your above theory sounds like that of a desperate person that still licking their wounds from the last election ….in reality if Patrick Todd …Kenny Best and George had put in the work that they were suppose to do in their respective constituencies the BLP would have been beaten soundly ….looked at what happen in st Michael east after Patrick tennis was a late candidate losing by 9 votes …wake up and smell the coffee

    Reply
  6. Kammie Holder June 5, 2016 at 7:22 am

    This sounds like November 2012 when much talk was made by GOB on ITAL and FOIA before elections for February 2013.

    Reply
  7. Donna Harewood June 5, 2016 at 9:11 am

    “Cluck cluck cluck! ” As usual Carson Cadogan. Carson I voted for them but I am not satisfied. One must be prepared to speak the truth. I have no doubt that I will be no more satisfied when the government changes. I am not asking for a perfect government that makes no mistakes but one which generally has the interests of ALL the people at heart and demonstrates that by bringing us into the discussions and showing that we are part of the team. This government has behaved as though the only thing they want or need from us is a vote at election time and silent compliance with all their crazy decisions. It is clear that what we did before is unsustainable and changes in our expectations will have to be made. A gentler approach and a team building attitude would have had greater success. We have been proven right about Cahill. Surely that should prove that ALL the brains of Barbados are not located in the heads of the Government ministers!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *