July 19, 2022
Clean up welcome, needs education element

NOW THAT Carnival is out of the way,Vincentians can look forward to the start of the 2022 road and drains clean up, an annual endeavour spearheaded by BRAGSA. Every year at this time, and also during the pre-Christmas season, BRAGSA carries out this clean-up project, aimed at cleaning up around the main roads and drains.

It is essentially a continuation of the old road programmes, done in the past mainly around Christmas time. While it had an uplifting and sprucing-up effect, in essence it was aimed at providing temporary employment to persons not regularly employed, permitting them to earn what we called a “Christmas change”.

The current programme is more ambitious though at its core it is true to say that the fundamental objective still remains. In societies like ours with still very challenging unemployment levels, this is still necessary especially because many of those so employed are unskilled and will have problems gaining meaningful employment without a necessary upgrade in skills and educational levels. However we must never lose sight that this is but a temporary, though welcome relief.

It is particularly welcome since today it is true to say that the majority of those so employed appear to be single- parent mothers, most of the relatively young. For one reason or another, many young men seem to prefer to lime on the bloc or engage in other activities rather than participate in such programmes. In spite of them being fathers, it is largely left to the women to take up these temporary jobs, helping them to begin to outfit their young ones for the upcoming school year, at least partially.

But there is an important environmental aspect to the programme as well. Given that we are in the rainy, and hurricane season, clean up of our environs is an essential task. Blocked drains can be dangerous weapons during these time and overhanging trees and branches can become lethal weapons.

Worthy as the employment aspect is, greater consideration ought to be given to the environmental cleaning. Too often the road teams employed for this task are ill-equipped to perform efficiently – inadequate tools and sometimes even the absence of essential equipment; lack of training or even orientation to understand the significance of their tasks, and a singular focus on completing the “10 days” so as to get paid are drawbacks to efficiency. Even the supervisors employed are often not up to the task.

As we compliment BRAGSA on this much-needed undertaking, we urge that serious attention be made to both providing the necessary and relevant equipment and above all to have a proper orientation so that those employed understand the significance of their tasks and the connection with the environment health and disaster preparedness. It will be to the benefit of us all.