Former industrial relations officer Henderson Bass is chiding the Gaston Browne Administration for the unsanitary condition in which the city of St. John’s, along with its environs, is being kept.
Bass notes that tourists have to travel through the filthy City, especially those arriving on cruise ships, who number in the thousands – even as the Government is boasting about ship arrivals and its home-porting initiative.
However, Bass says, there does not seem to be any effort to clean up St. John’s, even though the minister in whose constituency the city limits fall – Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin – has been reelected to office.
A source says it was mere weeks before the January 18 General Election that the clearing of bushes and other work were done in certain areas of the constituency.
Bass notes, further, that this same government minister has been given additional duties. But since no work was done in his constituency, especially in the City, over the last four years, when he had fewer duties, it is unreasonable to expect that Benjamin will start working now when those duties have increased, Bass says.
Once the Browne Administration remains in office, nothing meaningful will ever get done in this country, Bass says, adding that the Executive appears to have a love for insanity.
According to Bass, these filthy and unsanitary conditions exist all over Antigua and Barbuda; and he notes that the Government’s current defence is that residents should take responsibility for keeping their surroundings clean.
However, the retired industrial relations officer says, one of the biggest mistakes made by the Labour Party Administration was when, years ago, it decided that residents should stop cleaning in front of their properties. Instead, it hired persons to perform these duties, he says, in order to give jobs, mostly at election time.
Ironically, now that so many people have been hired to do the job, Bass says, it is not being done, since, in many instances, they are not being paid.
He says that Antiguans fell for the idea that certain practices were colonial; but in terms of keeping the front of one’s property clean, this has to do with pride and not colonialism.
Given that the Labour Party has managed Antigua and Barbuda for the longest periods, Bass says he is surprised that some citizens and residents do not want the Administration to shoulder some of the blame for the country’s current condition.
He says that residents need to get to the point at which politicians are not asked for anything, but are told what the people want, since residents are in the position to make demands.
According to Bass, other administrations have put mechanisms in place to deal with certain situations; but the Labour Party has a pattern of never advancing anything that another administration puts in place – rather, leaving systems to flounder and fail.