Another Heather Cole Column – Five Asses Who Don’t Know ‘Shit’
Submitted by Heather Cole
It has all come down to shit. A few days ago Donald Trump’s racist use of the word shit-hole when referring to some African Countries, elevated the word shit to more prominence on the International scene than it has ever held. Interestingly enough shit is also trending in Barbados but not because of Donald Trump but the coincidence has expanded an already brewing storm.
A year ago it was first highlighted that the South Coast of Barbados was threatened by raw sewage flowing in the street. Pictures of the raw sewage flowing into the sea were captured by the print media so it could not be denied that what was flowing into the sea was raw sewage ridden with bacteria. The government applied a Band-Aid and the Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and the Minister of Health John Boyce invited persons to join them when they jumped into the sea as a publicity stunt to prove that it was shit free.
At present there has been the backing up of sewage into private homes and properties on the South Coast, fish kills in the Graeme Hall, closures of restaurants, an outbreak of gastroenteritis, nauseating smells and raw sewage overflowing in the streets which affected local residents and visitors who were already on the island. More serious reputational damage came when tourist began to write reviews on travel sites and most recently when the US, the UK and Canada all issued warnings of potential health threats that could occur as a result of a visit to Barbados.
There are four ministers: the Minister of Health, the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister responsible for Agriculture as well as the Prime Minister who must all own this catastrophe.
If this were not real it could easily fit into a satirical film, for we have five leaders of a country who do not know shit; literally and figuratively. If they knew shit, Richard Sealy and John Boyce would not bathe in the shitty sea; the Ministry of Health would not deny a link of gastroenteritis and the sewage problem and not provide the evidence. Denis Lowe would have provided a reason for the fish kill and David Estwick would have known that it was a DLP government that initially held responsibility for the sewage plant. If Freundel Stuart, who is the Prime Minister of Barbados, knew cared about the environment within which Barbadians lived, he would have addressed the people long ago and ensured that the problem was fixed. Instead he chose to refer indirectly to the problem while speaking to tourist at a function at Illaro Court. His nonchalant attitude shows a level of disrespect continuously being meted out by him towards the people of Barbados.
This is a serious matter. If we have five asses who do not know shit when they see it how can we expect them to be competent leaders of the country? They have put the health of every Barbadian at risk over the past three years with this sewage problem as the water supply may be contaminated, they have endangered the livelihood of all those dependent on the tourist industry for survival not only those who live on the South Coast. Then there is that element of reputational risk that can cause the tourist industry to collapse. Perhaps those who denied and ignored that shit was evident expected it to mysteriously go away with a Band-Aid.
No one will ever forget what Donald Trump said about the African Countries, no matter what he says after the fact. He will bear the label of a racist until he dies. No one may ever forget what they read on a travel site or their respective country’s travel advisory about Barbados. The government has not stated specifically what the problem or problems are with the sewage system so one can be assured that this is not another Band-Aid fix of a few months ago. Regardless, every citizen of Barbados has the right to ask the government of Barbados to clean up this mess or just go.