Worth Repeating: "An Open Letter to the Minister of Environment and National Beautification" - Barbados. Written by Charles Cooke of Scarborough, Ontario. Published in NationNews on July 19, 2019
There was much anticipation and hope when a minister was assigned to this portfolio to oversee the beautification of the island of Barbados.
As a Barbadian, I am dismayed that not much seemed to have changed over the past year based on the visual evidence still prevalent and pervasive throughout the island.
Tourism is the engine of the Barbadian economy and every effort should be made to enhance and maintain the visual experience of the visitor. Raking sargassum and debris from popular beach areas, while important, does not constitute a beautification charter as tourists are not confined to the environs of a hotel property.
My utmost concern, among others, is the widespread dumping and abandonment of vehicles throughout the island. It seems as though the island is the personal scrap heap for every so-called “wayside mechanic” and no open space is safe from this scourge and blight being visited upon it. These spaces breed vermin of every kind and are toxicologically unsafe for everyone. I have even seen trees “growing” out of these abandoned vehicles.
Sadly, the neighbours of these “wayside mechanics”, I believe, are held hostage by these selfish and inconsiderate people and are probably afraid to lodge a complaint for fear of reprisals. Meanwhile, the values of their properties decline with each passing day.
Here is my proposal for the Government of Barbados:
Issue a total, complete and enforceable ban on the commercial auto repair in residential areas. No exceptions! (This is not designed to prevent persons from changing a tire, for example, in their driveway).
Carry out an immediate cleanup of these disaster areas and charge a hefty fee for so doing.
Create four or five large Industrial Areas in strategic locations to service the island whereby these “wayside mechanics” may conduct a legitimate business. Rent them the space and service bays where they can ply their trade. Service them with scheduled pick ups of scrap vehicles and parts so that these Industrial Areas do not become dumping grounds in themselves. These Industrial Areas would generate recoverable income for the Government through taxes. I would hazard a guess that these “wayside mechanics” do not charge or remit taxes to the Government. As it stands, in what way are these “wayside mechanics” contributing to the economy? The status quo is not an option. I would argue that they are a drag on the economy due to the infrastructural toll on the roads, drainage systems, environment, etc.
A casual drive around the country would reveal other large household items (TVs, appliances, furniture, etc.) which are accumulated and/or dumped on private/public places creating a health hazard to the community. These offenders should be dealt with firmly and with dispassion.
I sometimes wonder about our motto “Pride and Industry” when I see my fellow citizens exhibiting a complete and utter disregard for the environment in which they live and depend on to survive. I discern no noticeable sense of “pride” as I pass through village after village sometimes overrun by the detritus of a cavalier lifestyle. I despair at the household garbage carelessly tossed to the curbside; vehicles on concrete blocks on a public roadway turning two-lane traffic into a single lane corridor; run-down, abandoned vehicles and buildings blighting the landscape; graffiti reading like a “thesaurus of scatological pessimism” all combining to illustrate an attitude of indifference to the visitor and to negate the hard work, endeavour and sacrifice of those who preceded us.
These and other disturbing attitudes and behaviours (the contemptuous entitlement of squatters on government land, to name but one – requiring a separate missive) belie the designation of Barbados as a Develop(ed)ing country and point to the more unflattering classification.
Mr. Minister, your government needs to demonstrate some spine on this environmental file rather than succumbing to the ill-informed vocal few perpetuating the false narrative that you will be “taking money from the poor man’s pocket”. I urge you to speedily fulfill the mandate to which you have been given and make Barbados an extra special place not only for its inhabitants but also for its visitors upon whom we so much depend.
Sincerely, Charles C. Cooke
Barbados On The Water Festival Returns to Harbourfront
Barbados On The Water returns to Toronto Friday, August 16th - Sunday, August 18th, 2019. Hosted by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and the Consulate General of Barbados in Partnership with Harbourfront Centre, this festival of all things Bajan will be held at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West - on Toronto's waterfront. Admission is free and all are invited to come down to Barbados On The Water and enjoy Bajan food, music, arts and culture. Performers include Arturo Tappin, Biggie Irie, RPB, Leigh Phillips and Laff-It-Off (Comedy); with culinary presentations by chefs direct from Barbados. CLICK HERE for the Programme Of Events.
Barbados Canada Foundation Organizes Fundraising GOLF TOURNAMENT
This Tournament will raise funds in support of the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative’s Nurse Training Program, Camp Jumoke – a summer camp for kids with sickle cell anemia, and other healthcare causes.
A fun event for golfers of all levels, the tournament will be played in scramble format on a course Clublink describes as ”a lovely walk made even better in the Escarpment countryside just northwest of Greater Toronto”. Golfers in this tournament will use carts but will have the opportunity to enjoy this parkland course with its scenic views, valleys and the Credit River that runs through the property. Whether golfing or attending dinner only, guests will enjoy dinner in a charming clubhouse with a beautiful patio overlooking the 18th green.
If you cannot attend the tournament or the dinner, you may support this fundraising event by donating to Barbados Canada Foundation. Donations can be made by Interac e-Transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org, by mailing your cheque with the PLEDGE FORM or via CanadaHelps.org.
For information on Barbados Canada Foundation click HERE to visit its website.
BCF Launches Annual Raffle Lottery
Barbados Canada Foundation launched its first annual raffle lottery to raise funds for its John Rollock Scholarships Program. Tickets are $20.00 each and the 1st prize will be a 7-Day Caribbean Cruise For Two, with the winner having the option of taking cash of $3,500. There are also 3 cash prizes totalling $1,000.. A total 1000 tickets were printed. For tickets contact the Foundation at: email@example.com. For all details CLICK HERE for the flyer.
2020 To Be Bajan Diaspora "Homecoming" Year
2020 has been designated by Prime Minister Mia Mottley as “the year for the Barbadian diaspora to be recognised and for them to be invited to return to their ancestral home.”
The concept, named “Homecoming 2020 – Year Of The Barbadian Diaspora “will be a Bajan family gathering that will provide Bajans everywhere on the globe the opportunity to celebrate our roots, while generating much needed foreign exchange for the island.
The “Homecoming “will be a full year of celebrations, with each parish being assigned a month. Expatriate Barbadians are invited to return to Barbados to participate in the celebrations, including Independence celebrations in November and a Bajan Christmas.
Click HERE to read the details of the initiative outlined in the memorandum from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This memorandum has been shared with all Barbadian organizations in Toronto by the Barbados Consulate at Toronto. Visit the We Gatherin Barbados 2020 website.
Are You A Barbadian Living In Canada?
Register with the Barbados Consulate at Toronto If you reside in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) you may wish to be included in the Consulate's Registry of Barbadians in Canada. If so, please complete this formand mail or fax it to the Consulate General of Barbados at Toronto. This information will assist the Consulate in being able to contact you on matters that may be of interest to you or to request your assistance.
All information received by the Consulate will be kept confidential. For more information call the Barbados Consulate at (416) 214-9805, Fax: (416) 214-9815 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eligible for Barbadian Benefits?
If you are a Barbadian-Canadian, 65 years old or older, have lived and worked in Barbados; or are the survivor of a Barbadian citizen who has worked in Barbados, under the Agreement on Social Security between Canada and Barbados you may be eligible for Old Age Contributory Pension, disability or survivor benefits from Barbados.
To qualify for Contributory Old Age Pension from Barbados you must have made a minimum of 500 paid contributions to Barbados' pension program or National Insurance Scheme. This would have been achieved over 10 years of employment in Barbados. If you did not make the minimum paid contributions to the National Insurance Scheme, the period for which you contributed to the Canada Pension Plan will be taken into account in the determination of the Contributory Old Age Pension payable by Barbados.
A Barbadian citizen residing in Canada is eligible for Non-Contributory Old Age Pension if that person resided in Barbados for 12 years since attaining the age of 40 or an aggregate of 20 years since attaining the age of 18. However, such eligible Barbadian citizens residing in Canada are not entitled to Non-Contributory Old Age Pension if continuously absent from Barbados for any period in excess of six months.