An open letter to the Minister of Transport

Dear Mr Lashley,

What has gone wrong with our once energetic “Mr Fix It” Minister Michael Lashley?

Not only have you developed a bad reputation of late for not returning our calls, but we are in awe of the number of outstanding issues which have been allowed to simply fester under your watch.

Could it be that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has sapped you of your energy by moving you from the Ministry of Housing –– where you had developed the admirable reputation for getting things done and for churning out housing projects by the day –– to the Ministry of Transport and Works, where it seems you have literally fallen asleep at the wheel?

If this is the case, we would have to say sorry to Mr Denis Kellman, as we demand an immediate reordering within Cabinet, strictly out of concern for the welfare of thousands who have been placed in your hands and who can now collectively be heard saying that you simply have not lived up to your ministerial billing.

From the problem-plagued Fairchild Street Bus Terminal to White Hill in St Andrew, the cry has been the same: poor implementation or no implementation at all, if we take either the much touted Tasi project or the now life-threatening White Hill situation into consideration.

In the later case, better must be done on the part of our Government. It is simply not enough for a minister to heap blame on residents for failure to move when told by the authorities to do so.

Minister Lashley, as a lawyer of some note, certainly you must be aware of a recent disaster known as Arch Cot for which millions are already outstanding in liabilities to be paid by this Government, which was deemed negligent in its handing of that case.

With things as they now are with the economy, we simply cannot afford another big and senseless payout. But money apart, the Freundel Stuart administration –– represented by you as the direct Cabinet custodian –– is
duty-bound to ensure we do not have another human disaster on our hands, especially since we have had more than our fair share of warnings about White Hill, which is nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen.

Therefore, all of the palavering about the history of cart roads and what we already know about the clay soils that lie beneath the Scotland District will not do; neither will the ordered geotechnical studies.

We believe that White Hill has now reached the stage where it should be declared a disaster area. So before Government seeks to transfer out the millions that are currently sitting in our dormant national Catastrophe Fund, it may want, with your urging, Mr Minister, to consider leaving some moneys in to immediately attend to the despairing situation in St Andrew where residents are now forced to live at the very edge.

But don’t get us wrong. White Hill is not the only evidence there is of a comatosed Minister of Transport.

For months we complained to you directly about a boat propped up precariously beside the road outside Coral Ridge Cemetery, without anything being done.

We also highlighted the broken-down, rusting vehicle at Bath Beach in St John, but to no avail.

The burnt out vehicle at Bath, St John.
The broken-down vehicle at Bath, St John.

And, just last week, a clearly frustrated Glen Castagne wrote again to say he had given up hope that it would ever be removed, never mind the danger posed to sea goers and, in particular, children who are often seen playing in the area.

“The wreck is still at the Bath lookout presenting a sorry rusting spectacle for all to appreciate as they drive down the hill to Bath Beach. I now have to concede defeat, having tried so many avenues to have it removed; maybe others will manage better!” said a clearly frustrated Mr Castagne, after he had sent over 20 emails, including to the BTMI’s head William Griffith and parliamentary representative for St John Mara Thompson –– to no avail.

Today, we again crave your attention, not only on this matter, but the problems of broken-down equipment affecting renewals at the Licensing Authority; the promised bus service for residents of St Joseph that has still not come; the outstanding deliverables in terms of the crackdown on fake licence plates, and so on.

Needless to say, we do not want the same unflattering things which Mr Ian Gooding Edghill had to say last week about the Transport Board being in a state of disrepair to be said of your entire ministry.

It would be for us a total shame, based on your previous track record.

5 Responses to An open letter to the Minister of Transport

  1. Sunshine Sunny Shine June 28, 2016 at 5:06 am

    This administration is not into responding to the pleas of hurting citizens, at least with no sense of urgency. They are more interested in protecting their contributors and supporters, those who are into striking large deals and huge projects no matter how controversial they are.

  2. miche June 28, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Persons like those writing these letters have an agenda,they continue to highlight the seeming wrong that are around the island ,,wrongs which are totally on the doorstep of individuals ,or at times companies ,,and try to mislead the population into thinking that The government is at fault. If you take your dead animal and throw it beside the road,, who is to be blamed,,The government ?,,,,political milage should be gained by coming to the people with solutions,,,,to problems,rather than creating them

  3. BaJan boy June 28, 2016 at 6:56 am

    @Miche that the most iliterate response one could ask for to such a serious editorial. These Ministers you are trying to represent care little or nothing about this country. We have seen the detoriation of all areas of our country and . . . It is the few like you who continue to enjoy what’s left of the fatted calf and like them care nothing about the future of our country.

  4. Kayai Kamara June 28, 2016 at 8:24 am

    I agree 100 percent with Miche. Obvious agenda….but that is common nowadays.
    Car beside the road, a boat rusting…those are not MinisTER problems. Those are the MinisTRY problems. Big difference. A Minister is not supposed to micro-manage every single detail. That is what Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Depts, Supervisors etc. are for.
    Plus, what are the derelict car & boat doing there in the first place? If I had to write a letter about a rusting abandoned car or boat it would be to the police to investigate and charge the stupid ignorant person who left them there illegally in the first place & make the culprits pay to have them removed. For that is the root of the problem. Not asking the Minister to make taxpayers pay for fixing a problem created by stupid people.
    But…what’s the use? Lets just say that it is the Government fault.

    Things like Fairchild Terminal are multi-million dollar projects which will need funding thru the Min. of Finance who most likely will have to seek a loan from some lending organization like the IDB or whatever. Not something that a Minster can just do over night.

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine June 28, 2016 at 9:07 am

      yYou cannot be that out of touch that you do not understand the management structure of ministries in Barbados. You would find that the minister, who should not be involved in the day to day operations of his respective departments, have his nose, hand, toe, and tongue in everything. If you doubt me, ask any of the civil servants in the environmental ministry under Dennis Low Lowe. I agree wholeheartedly with you that the problem of derelict cars, boats or whatever are not the minister to deal with but the ministry and the particular department responsible. However, how much of these decisions are greatly influenced resulting in nothing ever happening?


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