“Why does the Government believe that the only way to empower young black men in this country is to give them landscaping tools to go and cut de same lawns that their parents and grandparents cut wid a hoe twenty years ago?”
Three Million Dollars For Weed-Wackers!!!!
I could not contain my angry bewilderment when I read in the Sunday Sun of July 22 that “The block just became a much better place for young Barbadian men. Soon they will have access to another million dollars from Project Oasis which Government formed in 2004 in an effort to urge the youth to become more entrepreneurial.” (The Nation News: $1m for ‘block’ boys)
This $1 million dollars is in ADDITION to the $2 Million dollars already allocated to this project. Now I have no problem with the Government creating programmes to empower youth, but I cannot accept that this Boys on the Block Committee could have funded nineteen projects for youngsters who had previously limed on the block to a tune of $3 million dollars!!!! That is a massive financial outlay, and represents roughly $157,000 per project!
Where Were The Weed-Wackers Purchased From?
And if these projects consist of handing out “equipment to start their landscaping business,” I would like to know exactly where they bought this equipment, and how in the world that nineteen sets of landscaping equipment could cost over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars per set. The more I read and reread this article, the fishier it became…
The latest handover involved the donation of a lawnmower, leafblowers, weed wackers and a tree trimmer. Also visible was the Government’s candidate for the area in question, George Griffith, who is attempting to replace Michael Lashley, the current Opposition MP for that area. Again, I ask, why is another Government election candidate being associated with the distribution of equipment/cash in his desired constituency. Isnt this a massive conflict of interest? Why couldn’t the invisible and hopefully non partisan members of this “Boys on the Block Committee” take the lead in selection and distribution of this equipment?
The goodly Minister Wood has vowed that “members of the Boys on the Block Committee would continue to traverse the country looking for special young men with business on our minds.”
de Boys on de Block? Whatever happened to “de Boys in de Books”?
I would like to know the following:
1. Who is responsible for the administration and dispersal of the $3 Million dollars allocated to this Project Oasis?
2. Is some kind of follow up conducted when this equipment is handed over to ensure that it is being put to the use intended, and has not fallen into disrepair with the same Boys now back on the block?
3. Is the Government aware that there are many young, ambitious and positive young people in this country who are not career block dwellers and who would like the opportunity to become entrepreneurs? Does the ruling party believe that young people of this country are so superficial, misinformed and easily co-opted as to fall for this obvious and poorly executed public relations stunt to gain our favor? Young people in this country can’t afford to buy groceries, let alone house and land, but this Boys on the Block Committee is roaming the country and giving away $3 million of the taxpayers money to who they feel like.
4. Why does the Government believe that the only way to empower young black men in this country is to give them landscaping tools to go and cut de same lawns that their parents and grandparents cut wid a hoe twenty years ago? With this kind of attitude, we the majority will always be relegated to the workers but will never become the craftsmen of our fate.
It is an insult to me as a young Barbadian that $3 million dollars of taxpayers hard earned money can be squirreled away in this Project Oasis programme with no requirement for financial records or accountability, when I, an honest, gainfully employed young person struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis.
Even a third of that $3 million could have done the following:
1. Pay the RBPF the outstanding monies due to them for CWC duties
2. Create a primary housing programme for a number of young,working Barbadians who have been unable to afford reasonable house and land in this island. (This is 20 houses using the former Ministry of Housing and Lands $50 000 house proposal from which NOT A SINGLE HOUSE has materialised.)
3. REPAIR AND REOPEN THIS NATION’S ONLY PUBLIC LIBRARY AND ALSO A NATIONAL TRUST BUILDING INSTEAD OF WASTING THOUSANDS OF TAX DOLLARS IMPROVING SOMEONE ELSE’S PROPERTY AND THEN PAYING THEM EXHORBITANT RENT ON THAT IMPROVED PROPERTY. (AND IT STILL IN OPEN YET!!!!!)
4. Create a scholarship trust for young, deserving, ambitious Barbadians who are pursuing further education but who are financially unable to meet the costs of that education. The first image that comes to mind is the bright little girl that is the carwasher’s daughter who was assisted with her education by private donors.
The next thing I will pick up my paper and hear is that the Government subsidising the importation of weed for the Boys on the Block….s o that in the words of Minister Wood “The youth of Barbados can be in the right frame of mind.” I.e. so high and so numb that we don’t rise up and revolt against the wholesale large-scale sale of this island.