How Many Weed-Wackers And Lawnmowers Can You Buy For Three Million Dollars?

barbados-landscaping-scandal.jpg

“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.

*schupse*

Bajan Touchstone

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26 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

26 responses to “How Many Weed-Wackers And Lawnmowers Can You Buy For Three Million Dollars?

  1. special

    An informative, thought provoking, entertaining and funny piece Touchstone. Well done.

  2. Wishing in Vain

    We are sending the wrong message here and that is look guys chill out on the block do not seek real meaningful work and some politician will come along and drop some money in your pocket and by money I mean a weedwacker or two and some much earned cash but you can also sell your freely earned weedwacker to collect some quick cash for your hit of crack or coke.
    Well done blp you are a master of spin not logic.

  3. Paradox

    Three million dollars in a ‘piece of political gimmick’.
    Election is in the air. Where is the money coming from now? Who will pay it back? I think the ‘boys on the block’ are wise.
    It would be better to have courses in land scaping and other technical cources, and those who attend and show interest could be assisted. How many land scaping gardeners can we have on this little Island? There is a certain skill one must have with land-scaping.
    Surprise this money can be found and the roads,hospital are in such bad state.
    This is a government who acts on the ‘whim’ of others, no research. no thought,but just act. If this was a Colonel leading men to war, the whole army would be wiped out in seconds.
    Any way, come the day after election, many might want to borrow them back, so take good care of them.

  4. Yardbroom

    It would be a good idea if the Government instigated “professional training courses” for young men and women who are interested in certain sectors eg fishing, agriculture and a variety of others in which those people have experience or have an interest. At the end of the training course those people who have been successful and have a sound business plan would be given loans on good repayment terms.

    They would be expected to repay the loans in due course, this would ensure they used entrepreneural skills to make a success. The repayment monies could be reinvested in the project, so ensuring other young people had an opportunity to help themselves.

    It should be under a particular Minister to ensure things are done, and snags ironed out as they occur. This should ensure there is an element of accountability, and proper tracking of Government funds.

    This should be a long term project, properly thought out, with all the pieces in place before it is announced. In the given sectors on offer for candidates, people with experience in those areas, regardless of political affiliation should be brought on board early – we want the best brains available – to ensure elementary mistakes are not made, and finance squandered.

    Most importantly, candidate trainees should be chosen on the basis of “merit” not because of family connections, who they know, or which party they have supported or intend to support. Leave that nonsense behind.

    I have mentioned proper professional training at a College etc, however those who are shy because of a lack of academic qualifications, should have no fear this would be taken into account – extra help can do a lot – and places could be found for them. The idea behind the project is that it should be “all inclusive,” with efforts made to include as many as possible.

    The training should include management skills, financial management, business practice, interpersonal skills and the many other skills that make a difference in running a successful business.

    Naturally there will be a few failures, but there will be many successes and most importantly an opening would be made for many young people. It would be a long term investment not only in the the young people’s business acumen, but in their thinking processes.

    We must start to think of the long term, of how we as a Nation can do things for ourselves and diminish as much as possible our dependence on others.

    Please, what ever we should do in this direction let it be “fair” for everyone regardless of race, family connections or political affiliation. I know this is difficult in the climate that operates in Barbados, but it must be changed if we are to get the best from our people, and achieve our long term goals.

  5. No-name

    Can you imagine hard working civil servants who get out of their bed early on mornings and work overtime; even some doctors who work at the hospital and pharmacists all over the country can’t get pay for months and de boys who chill getting millions to cut grass?
    I would like to ask the Prime Minister and Senator Eastmond a number of questions:
    1.Are these boys actively seeking employment?
    2. Is it not a coincidence that all these boys on the block, regardless of location etc all have the same skill sets and interest (i.e. cutting grass)?
    3. Have you determined that there is an increasing demand for cutting grass?
    4. When you flood the market with grass cutters what will happen to the established hard working persons who have been in the business prior to your dispensing all this political money?
    5. How many of these boys either deal in or have a drug problem?Is there a program to help them beat the habbit?
    6. Will these boys be earning enough money cutting grass to deter them from smoking the other grass?
    7.What message are you sending those young people who have been unsuccessful in approaching funding agencies with viable business plans that have much more potential than cutting grass?
    8.Who is it that has determined that boys on the block = cutting grass?
    9. Will these boys be given de bushing jobs in government in the coming months using the same wackers given to them by your Government?
    10. What is the real political truth behind this project?

  6. jinx

    Boy, it really does pay to “hang out” with your buddies until 3 million dollars falls into your lap! Whats next? A fleet of SUVs for these disadvantaged youths?
    Why not send them to a trade school?. Let them EARN their certificates. The ones intent on making a better life for themselves will forge ahead, while the “no shows” will end up right where government discovered them… “On De block”

  7. John

    I remember seeing a picture of a similar donation a while back.

    I think the PM was in the picture but can’t remember.

    That time I think it was a million.

  8. Farmer

    This Government has really lost its way. Who ever is advising them must have a degree from UWI

  9. Stealth Bomber

    It is certainly rediculous this debate about Project Oasis.
    Firstly, the Gardening aspect is ONE part. There is the 2/Hotel and Skills trainag, where young men and women to Hotel school and learn to be Chefs, Bartenders, Waitreses et al. 3/ Digital Multi -Media Film Programme. 4/ Bob-Cat and equipment training programme. ALL the above are the different sections of the programme along with the landscaping equipment.

    For you to scorn the young men, who have many times not had the best of circumstances, is SACRILAGE. It certainly is to bring them into the main stream of the economy. Many of these young men and women have taken the skills they acquired, and incorporated businesses in Barbados and through the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) , set up by government for youth, received professional business training and mentorship and already have received CSME certification to expand their businesses in CARICOM.

    WHAT NONSENSE. If this wasn’t being done, then you’d hear government wasn’t helping ordinary youths.

    It is interesting to note that these youngsters have said that they are listening to the utterences of the DLP about them, and it shows how they (DLP) really view them. Remember these are the same youngsters you will ask for a vote.

  10. D'Arts

    I wanna cut some grass!!1!! Get me a damn weed wacker hahah.

  11. J. Payne

    TONS. I would get them all off Ebay and save myself about 25% on each one that all yuh pay full price. ,-)

  12. Wishing in Vain

    Is this not the way of the current adminstration ?
    Do a few giveaways and get some lapdog press in there to give you mileage and maybe another few votes will come out of it, I give you a weedwacker and in exchange you give me your vote thank you.
    We are sadly lacking when we distribute a few weedwackers for votes what are we saying to the hard working people who even in their effort to work and is seeing hell to make ends meet, should we not sit on the block and collect a few weedwackers and sell them to friends for a profit and be back on the block next week ?

  13. Andrew

    If Stealth Bomber thinks that only DLP supporters are disgusted with this state affairs, then he like the others of his ilk, is not listening and are living in a fool’s paradise.

    Word on thne street is that there is no accountability. Someone I know (not a block member) got one of these wackers that ‘fell off the back of a truck’ –

    peace be unto you

  14. Stealth Bomber

    I suspect if Project Oasis was the ‘Bus Fare & Lunch Money’ Prposed for young people by David Thompson, it would have been alright….. Such nonsense.

    But why should i expect that the DLP doesn’t care for Barbados’ youth when it doesn’t even care for its youth members.

  15. crossroads

    No Name, maybe the association of “cutting grass” came about when the commitee saw the “boys on the block” smoking GRASS….HAHAHAHAHAHA

  16. Drizzle

    See me!? I now know that I waste my time @ BCC- getting tertiary education. I am a part of what is called the Working Poor. I make too much for Govt to help me & too little to do it on my own. I would like to be self employed too, & I got the skills & the training.

    Little did I know that I was wasting my chance to be, by waking up & going to work hard every. Little did I know that by walking past these guys smoking weed and gambling under the ackee tree in the morning until I come back home at night, was actually reducing my chances of being a success in Barbados.

    This place upside down. Ity crazy. Who would have known!? Stay home & lime, & get millions thrown at you. Go out & work, & stay poor!

  17. Can't Believe

    It’s amazing how cross roads talks about boys on the block smoking grass, when a certain political leader was caught in a fete with the same grass in his pocket by police. It certainly was enough to kill Goliath.

  18. Stealth Bomber

    Can any one explin why David Thompson was so upset in St John when 16 blocks in St John received equipment ?

  19. Can't Believe

    Crossroads,

    You talk about grass, but a certain political leader had enough grass in his pocket while at a certain BIG fete. I am sure you are aware it was enough to kill ‘Goliath’

  20. Not Fair

    A word of advice to ‘Farmer’. Just deal with the issue, no need to be offensive or facetious.

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  23. ghetto youth

    its a pity that all yall bright people can come online and talk a bunch of shit and not care for the youth who dont have wealth parents or backgrounds and cry down the government in trying to help… yall complaining about tax money…why you think yall complaining about tax money? if you guys where as wealthy as your trying to bring over to people..you would just pay tax and keep your dam mouths shut because really it doesnt matter because your wealthy enough to not miss it.. but actually…wanna bout there missing it cause buying groceries and paying back for that fancy car and still keeping that pretty wife int as easy as one time… most you guys cant even take a horn…prefer to give a woman a house or car or 300 for a hair do and then c0me online and cry down david for trying to help ghetto youths..well..im a uwi student not weathy but what i will say ONLINE is this!… when the rich become poor and the poor become rich we will see what a better place barbados will be because who rich already barely selfish and one minded thats why no one cares about you guys and yall cant feel comfortable no part of barbados because you only have a handful of friends and they alllll are like you… PISSY!!… bye… Thanks DLP keep up the good work… Let the rich keep they tax money cause they begining to see that young people lately driving vechicles that they took 38 years to get back in the day…we at ages 22 driving audi’s and stuff now…showing yall that life swings and that yall will be loosers in year to come…STUDY IT!

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