Friday 17 November, 2017

Take responsibility, says PM

FILE - Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

FILE - Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says Barbadians must take greater responsibility for their own actions, rather than expect Government to step in at all levels.

His remarks came as he addressed a Democratic Labour Party political meeting on Sunday night at the St Michael School, in which he noted challenges with flooding, potholes and garbage collection are not unique to Barbados.

“I see garbage in Paris, I see it in London, I see it in New York – all over the place! These are normal human occurrences,” he said. “What the volume and quality of our garbage indicates is what our people are able to consume. It reflects the consumption patterns of our people.”

“The garbage you accumulate at your house does not belong to the Government. The garbage you accumulate at your place belongs to you."

While adding he was not absolving the Sanitation Service Authority of doing its job, PM Stuart insisted that households need to manage their garbage in such a way that causes no offence to others.

“It’s your garbage and you have to manage it. The responsibility of the government, through the Sanitation Service Authority, is to make sure it is collected regularly and on a basis that you know when it is going to be collected so you don’t leave it hanging around and cause offence to other people.”

He reminded the audience of his comment last year that the first 50 years of post-Independence Barbados was the age of entitlement and the next 50 years must be the age of responsibility.

“We all have to use a greater sense of responsibility, whether it relates to our garbage, to how we use our roads, keeping our lots clean and our environment free from vermin – we have to be a little more responsible than we have been over the last 50 years,” he said.

Giving the assurance that Government will continue to play its role, he said, “You cannot offload your personal responsibilities on the Government of Barbados – whether it is a Democratic Labour Party government or a Barbados Labour Party government… you have to accept responsibility for the way forward in your lives.”

PM Stuart also indicated that tertiary education was another area in which Barbadians needed to take greater responsibility, underscoring that post-secondary education is not compulsory.

“We accept that we will pay for your education at the primary level because that is compulsory. We will pay for your education at secondary level because that is compulsory. Tertiary education is optional.”

He said his administration is still committed to paying 80 percent of the cost for persons in tertiary education.

“Times have been very difficult, but we still decided that tertiary education was so important that we would make ourselves responsible for 80 cents out of every dollar that it would cost a student to go to a tertiary institution and just ask the student to be responsible for the remaining 20 cents.”

He criticised the fact that “an Opposition party now hinges its future on a promise to pay the full dollar for the student.”

“And they actually think that that is a selling point in Barbadian politics,” he said, adding that Barbados could not act as though it was unaffected by difficult global economic conditions.