From early reports the bad weather that affected Barbados from about midday yesterday did not result in loss of life. We pray that Tropical Storm Matthew projected to intensify to a Category 1 hurricane will not cause too much damage/harm on its path across the island chain.
One of the talking points coming out of yesterday’s event was the reported opening of a few businesses although the country was under shutdown. The more prominent business names mentioned are Carlton and Emerald City supermarkets, outlets of Chefette restaurant and surprise surprise Moontown owned by Minister of Housing Denis Kellman.
Although Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite who has responsibility for Department of Emergency Management (DEM) implored businesses to comply with shutdown orders from the DEM, he was weak as far as supporting the call with what the law states. Commonsense supports the view that businesses should align decisions with the DEM in the interest of public safety. Barbados has a social partnership that is held up as a beacon of private public sector cooperation. Why on a 166 square mile island key players are unable to agree how to act in a national emergency?
Attorney-at-law Douglas Trotman posted the following to his Facebook page.
14 hrs ·
For your information and guidance.
Essential Services in the Private Sector
Within the context of the private sector those companies/entities which provide essential emergency services to the general public in times of emergencies include:Utility companies, Supermarkets, mini-marts, shops, Pharmacies, General stores, including hardware stores and lumberyards Companies that provide public transportation Telecommunication providers
Private Sector Shutdown Procedures
On the issue of the National Shutdown Instruction, private sector entities/companies shall close their operation taking into account the following:(i) the provision of their disaster plans(ii) the security and operational procedures of the entity/company(iii) the welfare of the employees and the need for them to take their domestic precautions, especially those living in remote and flood prone areas, and(iv) the operators of public transportation will need to withdraw and secure their vehicles well before the impact. Consequently, staff not essential to the entity/company’s disaster plans should be released early, unless private arrangements can be made for transporting staff home safely.
The leadership of Barbados owes it to the citizens to clarify the matter, TODAY. During a national shutdown (national emergency) maintaining order and ensuring safety of citizens must be the priority. What appears to be maverick decisions taken by a few business owners must be hastily explained to the pubic. There is a leadership role to be played by trade unions.
It seems we have entered a dark place in Barbados as far as leadership on the national stage is concerned.
Will the real leaders please put your hands up!