Gobbledegook, garbage and ungraciousness

No one –– certainly at Christmas time –– can sanely comprehend how any purported representative of the people can be so publicly dismissive of the electorate, which he is surely not serving well enough, and at the same time seek to suggest that deep in his heart he means no ill will, and that he is of benevolent nature.

The latter of the two suggestions by Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe –– that he will do his best to see that some of the 200 National Conservation Commission workers he put on the breadline, in the first place, get some sort of work in the New Year –– we take with a dollop of salt. It calls for more than a pinch to soften the acidity of our anxiety and that of those misplaced and long ignored former NCC employees since April 30 last.

And we really do not know what to make of the minister’s wailing and “tears” over said retrenched workers up to now not having their case heard before the Employment Rights Tribunal –– which to all intents and purposes is now non-existent. After all, eight of the nine members of the body have quit, complaining the powers that be had not provided the basics for any hearings to begin. So much for the minister’s announced deep concern over the delay.

As to the suggestion proffered by Dr Lowe that he means us all well, what else can we say than that the spirit of Christmas failed to arouse in the minister’s utterances any logic or state of ideological normalcy. Without a doubt, Dr Lowe sees himself –– and his own ministerial failures –– way above the scrutiny of the society he serves.

How dare anyone call for his resignation –– or dismissal –– over the stinking mess that has blotted The City, suburbia and countryside of this island for months on end due to non-collection of garbage, all under his watch!

An arrogant and unapologetic Dr Lowe lets us know at a contrived Press conference of his at Hastings Rocks in Christ Church that those of us demanding that he resign –– after his long silence and inaction over the national health debacle –– don’t have any power over his appointment
as minister.

So, adds he, contemptuously, we can call for his resignation “from now till the cows come home”! He made no bones about letting us –– and the Prime Minister –– know he was staying put, talk what we liked.

We do not recall any other minister of Government under the likes of Prime Ministers Errol Barrow, Tom Adams, Erskine Sandiford or Owen Arthur displaying such effrontery, or indulging in such insipid conduct. They dared not!

Ministers used to understand that they were accountable to their Prime Minister and the electorate for the proper and efficient execution of their portfolios, and that feedback from the populace could determine their fate in a Cabinet of Barbados. What Barbadian politician could be so uninformed as not to be aware of this?

Given the rumour of a New Year’s Cabinet “reshuffle” by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Dr Lowe, hopefully, could be in for a rude awakening –– and some enlightening.

It is amazing how so undeftly this minister, in trying to cover his tracks, berates Barbadians for littering and introduces the non sequitur that if every single Bajan who littered agreed to depart the country, he would resign his post –– and presumably leave the country too. Balderdash!

We make no excuses for the litterbugs and the illegal dumpers among us; but they are not the primary issue here. The garbage mire we have been in for months now has been due to the persistent non-collection of refuse legitimately placed.

Dr Lowe has sworn of having trucks rolling again –– 27 of them since December 15 –– in the garbage collection exercise. It cannot be said every district has seen benefit from this.

There is too the plan to have “a hotline” in place whereby the public may report cases where garbage was not collected. The minister claims the Sanitation Service Authority would be committed to responding “in 24 to 48 hours” –– not very “hot” when it comes to reaction, but more in keeping with the lukewarm response we have been resigned to from this department and its ministry and minister in the last year.

We used to be able to boast of tidy residences and well kept streets; of absences of space overrun by bush; of an example of national neatness that we could present to the world. No excuse for not getting back there can be accepted.

Nor arrogance; nor insolence; nor indolence; nor rubbishy talk!

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