Barbados Public Buildings Crumbling Due To Lack Of Maintenance

Barbados Government Penny Wise To The Extreme

THERE is a certain type of person who buys a new vehicle and then never changes the engine oil. We’ve even seen some ZR owners who fall into that category – but not many. The ZR chaps know that if they fail to change the oil or keep those tyres aligned, they will end up paying big time in the long run, and that money comes right from their own pocket.

Contrast the behaviour of most ZR owners with those public servant so-called “managers” who have access to a never-ending pot of public tax money. Why bother to maintain something when you can just buy a new one? Unfortunately though, that pot of tax money now has too many hands grabbing at it – so another flock of chickens (called “the results of never caring about preventative maintenence”) are coming home to roost.

A certain Barbados Free Press frequent contributor sent us the following piece, but forgot to let us know if we should publish it with or without an author’s name. (Let us know if we should put your name on it, please.)

Public Buildings Not Maintained

A large number of Barbados public buildings – including the police stations, post offices and schools – have not been maintained over the years, and have had to be abandoned as being unfit for both employees and the general public.

One of the most recent cases is the police station in Belleplaine, St Andrew, in the Scotland District National Park. After part of the ceiling and roof collapsed, the police have had to relocate to Speightstown, leaving a skeleton crew on site. Next door to that is the post office, the welfare department and the community centre. All of these buildings are closed and in an advanced state of delapidation through a lack of maintenance.

Wrong Priorities For Spending – Parties Instead Of Maintenance

Recently government spent over Bds $1/2 million to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our independence. This included food and drink and cultural events at the Prime Minister’s residence, Ilaro Court. Well-dressed invited guests arrived in designer clothes, paraded themselves before the cameras – but then carried away doggy bags and took home dainties for family and friends.

Then there was the official opening of the west wing of the Parliament Buildings in Bridgetown, both the Heroes Museum, and the Museum of Parliament, which being unfinished has been closed from public viewing since the official opening. Kensington Cricket Oval has been re-built at a cost of Bds $137 million, with the seating having been increased from 14,000 to 26,000 of which 10,000 is a temporary bleacher stand to be removed at the end of the series.

This is a 2 forward/2 back example of mind boggling waste of public money.

New Coast Guard Station – Over Budget & Vulnerable To Storms

The new Coast Guard station at the Flour Mill site which was to cost $60 million is now costing $80 million, and the designers seem oblivious of the fact that about 20 years ago when heavy seas came out of the north-west, the waves broke over the existing breakwater and nearly took away the flour mill. The facility was saved only through a Herculean effort by C.O. Williams Construction, using large boulders that were pushed into position with bulldozers – between lulls after a wave frequency of 7 huge waves and a break before another 7 smashers.

Greenland Garbage Dump – It Won’t Work No Matter How Much More Money Is Wasted

The retrofit at the Greenland garbage dump site is another example of having wasted $30 million, and another $25 million is due to start the retro fit. This is without overruns, which more than likely will bring it up to $37 million.

Barbados Media Failing In Their Public Duty

The Barbados press, newspapers, radio, television are failing in their public duty to keep the public informed of these short-comings. Every time a Minsiter or politician opens his mouth and brays, the press are there to report. Our historians of Cave Hill never come out and publicly condemn this irresponsible action. The Auditor General’s report year after year, which documents these financial shortcomings of taxpayers money, is received by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, minuted in Hansard and put on the shelf with the other unresolved shortcomings, since 1966.

The motto of government seems to be… Don’t Stop the Carnival!

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9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

9 responses to “Barbados Public Buildings Crumbling Due To Lack Of Maintenance

  1. John

    “I aint care if the cabin brek down, long as I get some where to lay down. Two more rums, and the cabin brekking down so we brek um down”

    I saw an article in the Nation recently reporting that the ceiling at the Police Station at Belleplaine had caved in and that it had to be closed. The Nation did notice the fact, they just could not join the dots and ask the tough questions.

    I went looking for it on the Nation website but couldn’t find it when I searched on Belleplaine but I found this. Minister Gline Clarke opened a new Bus Shelter in Belleplaine and spoke of the $100M road works projects the Government was undertaking. His thoughts on maintenance seem quite sound, but, …. well … am ….. the cabin brek down.

    http://bararchive.bits.baseview.com/archive_detail.php?archiveFile=./pubfiles/bar/archive/2006/November/18/28960.xml&start=0&numPer=20&keyword=belleplaine&sectionSearch=&begindate=1%2F1%2F1994&enddate=12%2F31%2F2006&authorSearch=&IncludeStories=1&pubsection=&page=&IncludePages=1&IncludeImages=1&mode=allwords&archive_pubname=Daily+Nation%09%09%09

  2. John

    Thank heavens for the LIONS Club for donating the shelter. (Like the Eye Care Centre at QEH)

    At least the government could send the minister himself to cut the ribbon to open it.

    Wonder if the plaque is up on it yet?

  3. Rumplestilskin

    Coast Guard Station at the Flour Mill? That IS funny.

    Not only twenty years ago. Before that that whole area was sea anyway. The highway is on reclaimed land. If any sizeable hurricane hits then you can forget the Coast Guard Station. That whole area will be wrecked, including the Spring Garden highway. Cannot stop seasurge bud.

    Best place for the Coast Guard Station would have been somewhere on Carlisle Bay. But then, that is soon to be high class development, no?

    The choice of priorities seems to have blinded those in decision making to the obvious.

    Lets hope its at least insured well.

  4. John

    If we go by Al Gore and sea level rises 20 feet, bye bye tourism, coast guard, high class, development, BL&P, etc. etc.!!

    But maybe the ice caps aren’t melting …. and the sky isn’t falling.

  5. Rumplestilskin

    Fair enough, we should not be alarmist. But even not counting Al Gore, it is just not sensible to put a critical unit in that area.

    The BL&P there was always on exisiting land, albeit low lying.

    The area from the open end of Weisers back to where Stansfield Scott is was I believe, where the sea ‘inlet’ existed. The RSPCA was the last building in the corner I seem to remember. When dealing with substantial, critical investments one should look for a sound environment.

    The irony is that the Coast Guard itslf could be under sea ‘seige’ at a time when the rest of the island needs its full operation. That does not make sense.

    Most of Brighton is very low lying, even the Cholera field. That is the area where the footballers / cricketers play and the monument exists, right opposite the bay.

  6. De Orginal

    Well if you want to talk about poor government maintence lets do the P’s. Police Station’s and Post Offices. St Joesph District “F” Police Station and that whole compound at Horse Hill disgusting an eye sore. District “D” Police Station cant get back to St. Thomas. Relocated to an old building in Holders Hill which leaks with heavy rain fall, paint falls off the wall from moisture. This temporary relocation since 1991. Moving to St Lucy Crab Hill Police Station cant seem to get it finished. District C Police Station maybe when the developer’s ready for that view a new Station will come. An old building needs replacing. Holetown Post Office and Police Station would you believe that for a new complex the water runs off the road into the police station? It does if you doubt me check it yourself. The List go on. I challenge bloggers to check every police station and post office in the island and you can verify that the majority are in a state of disrepair. I hope you realised that I have only done two P’s have not done D’s like District Hospitals and Health Centres, P’s like Polyclinic’s, and S’s like Schools. I think it is time more attention is paid to the maintence of government owned buildings the current generations must understand they are only holding these properties in trust for future generations. I hope after CWC 2007 we can get back to maintence of our investments and proper management of contractors given maintence and upgrade contracts.

  7. John

    Rumplestilskin Says:

    “Fair enough, we should not be alarmist. But even not counting Al Gore, it is just not sensible to put a critical unit in that area. ”

    I am not suggesting your comment is alarmist and I agree we need think hard before we put key installations near the sea. But if we really think hard, we will see that our whole economy could disappear if Al Gore’s thinking is correct.

    Even Mr. Fearless will cease to be a problem and the Owen, or whoever, won’t have to say a word on how he came to be here as our GUEST and took it upon himself to do what he did.

    Perhaps Tourism isn’t our business long term and we need to be thinking along other lines, a problem both parties have, … thinking that is!!

  8. Guttaperk

    On topic of crumbling police stations will GOB or police themselves erect a sign at Central Police Station.

    For heavens sake there has not been a sign indicating that Central is a police station since they renovated the front building on Coleridge Street. Those renovations took place more than ten years ago.

    Drive past Central and tell me how you will know that it is a police station unless you are au fait with the location.

    This reminds me of I think his name was Colonel Lawrence Quintyne of BDF who beseeched GOB in letter after letter to have the flag atop Parliament buildings lit at night. He argued it was the correct way of flying a national flag at night. Quintyne has long since died and the national flag blowing in the dark continues.

  9. Lady Anon

    Talking about bad business sense. The government always spends money on new buildings etc, but fail to add into their costs, the cost for maintenance etc.

    I don’t have an MBA, and I don’t think you need one for common sense, but maintenance costs should be included in the costs.