Atherley: Do not play politics with people’s health

The man seeking to wrest control of the St Michael West seat from the governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is warning Government not to “play politics” with the health of Barbadians.

The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate Joseph Atherley said yesterday he was upset at the pace at which the authorities had acted to clear a bushy, dirty canal in Hall’s Road, St Michael, which residents said had served as a haven for mosquitoes, and had placed their health at risk.

Personnel from the National Conservation Commission (NCC) de-bushed the canal over the weekend, less than two weeks after Barbados TODAY published residents’ complaints that they were living in mosquito hell.

Atherley, a former Member of Parliament for the area, said he was pleased with the de-bushing, but dissatisfied with the amount of work that had been done.

“I am glad to see that there is clean-up of this canal area, [however] what you [NCC] done here is remove some of the bush which should have been done ever since but obviously some aspects of the cleanup still remain and all of that,” he said.

Atherley criticized the DLP administration for “the absence of a robust de-bushing programme”, claiming the result was  “bush is all over”.

“It’s [in] rural and in the urban area and is increasing the threat of mosquito infections,” the former legislator said.

Artherley, who lost the seat by 125 votes to the DLP’s Michael Carrington in the 2013 general election, also complained about “piles and piles of garbage”, in the area due to the failure or inability of the Sanitation Service Authority to collect waste.

At the same time, he grudgingly supported Government’s $5 million de-bushing programme announced last week by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler during the presentation of the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.

“I am in agreement with any serious programme to clean up Barbados,” Atherley said, adding: “You send home a lot of people unjustly from the NCC . . . and now you come and say that you are putting into the budget a $5 million de-bushing programme.”

He charged that Government was “seriously playing politics with the health and wellbeing of the nation” and cautioned the administration not to try to fool people.

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