Henderson Bovell’s rant – Yet Another Democratic Labour Party Cou Cou Punch: The DEM’s tighten the screws on the poor

A few weeks ago the Ministry of Public Works of Barbados went to murder two 300-year-old trees at Warrens’ Bottom. Now, for the second time in two years, the same DLP and the same Ministry – is dragging the rug from under the poor, as regards public transport.

{FILE IMAGE: Courtesy Cardinal17 via Flickr} "That is just a fancy way of saying that you will be standing in the hot sun a lot longer, waiting for a Transport Board Bus that simply will not come."

In the recent Budget, the ruling party slapped poor-people in the face with a $2.00 bus face gift and even before the poor (the ones who primarily use public transport) can make the adjustment – the Transport Board is announcing that it is rationalize routes, again. That is just a fancy way of saying that you will be standing in the hot sun a lot longer, waiting for a Transport Board Bus that simply will not come. And for that, you can thank the DLP.

"...this latest announcement to reduce the frequency of service by the Transport Board – should be of great concern to all Barbadians..."

But, it will take much more than that to ease grid-lock on Barbadian roads. So much for increasing national productivity! This is clearly a Government in retreat and one which is the victim of its own flawed policy.

There could hardly be any doubt in any one’s mind that the extra $12 million burden of taking our children to school, free of cost (while laudable) is simply too much for the Transport Board, to bear.

What is also particularly puzzling, is – exactly what role has the Transport Authority played in this latest cut-back, if any? For a Government to condone such a move outside of the ambit of a national transportation plan, smacks of either ignorance or recklessness. But once again this Government has chosen to put the cart before the horse. That the DLP would again shoot itself in the foot – was bound to happen!

This ad hoc approach to the management of our affairs might be appealing to some but it shows the state of confusion in a Government that has clearly lost its way. Increasing the VAT and the Excise Tax on petroleum prices was always going to be a pain in the neck for Government, which has so many diesel-swallowing vehicles, including Buses; MTW, SSA and BWA trucks.

"Increasing the VAT and the Excise Tax on petroleum prices was always going to be a pain in the neck for Government, which has so many diesel-swallowing vehicles, including Buses; MTW, SSA and BWA trucks."

To its credit, the Barbados Labour Party nationalized the bus service in 1955 because it understands the need for affordable public transportation as an engine of economic growth. This visionary policy has been followed by every successive Government since then. The leaders of the past valued the social and economic importance of people being able to move freely to work and to school on reliable, state subsidized public transportation. The DLP just does not get it.

In fact, the DLP gets it horribly wrong, yet again. That is why this latest announcement to reduce the frequency of service by the Transport Board – should be of great concern to all Barbadians, especially those who are still capable of independent thought and analysis and are guarding their minds against becoming the victims of: “DLP Political Stockholm Syndrome.”

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