Updated December 8, 2011
Welcome New York Times readers!
For some wonderful reason, New York Times journalist Stephen Heyman linked to this post in his delicious new Dispatch | Eating in Barbados.
Our original post first published December 12, 2006…
Happy And Proud People Stand In Front Of New Road Sign
These days as a Bajan citizen, it is so difficult to not be negative about how things are going in our country – and in this respect, we at the Barbados Free Press are no different than most other people. The only difference is that we have a soap box to stand on.
We are torn between being grateful for whatever life gives us – family, friends – the little moments that make life enjoyable – and the realization that we always seem to have to settle for second or third best – as individuals and as a country.
Understanding this, perhaps our readers will forgive us for pointing out the total absurdity of Minister of Public Works Gline Cline standing in front of a green-painted roadsign like it is some triumph of civilization and good government. The photograph appears in the Barbados Advocate (link here) and in the Nation News (link here).
The real story behind the road signs is that after 12 years of this government, after hundreds of millions of tax dollars frittered away on cricket, the GEMS hotel scandals, office buildings and highways over-budget by 500% and all kinds of mismanagement – our new highway signs were purchased by private concerns in the tourist industry who realized that a tourist-based economy just might be assisted if the tourists had signs directing them to places of interest.
Government Priorities Seem All Askew
When Government Minister Gline Clarke stood in front of this new roadsign, he should have apologized to Bajans and the Tourism Industry that his government took 12 years and a push by citizens to even start a programme of proper signage.
The issue of signage is so fundamental to providing a positive visitor experience and publicizing tourist attractions that the lack of signage for so many years must simply be due to neglect or lack of competence.
But this seems to be the way on Barbados: Great showpiece expeditures by government on huge overbudget projects – coupled with a total lack of attention to the basics: We lack clean water for everyone, sewerage disposal, a clean and capable hospital, signs to tell tourists and citizens how to get to tourist attractions, reliable garbage pickups – and on and on and on.
You Mean, Government Wasn’t Already Coordinating Roadwork?
In the same Barbados Advocate article, we also see a big announcement that utility companies will now have to notify government of any work that requires them to dig up a road or othewise interfere with traffic. This is so non-emergency roadwork can be coordinated and timed to provide as little disruption as possible.
Big announcement by Minister Clarke.
All I could think of when I read the Barbados Advocate article was, “You mean, they weren’t doing that already? That’s pretty basic. Just standard management practice.”
Yup – basic, standard management practice: but not in Barbados.