Government is continuing to work with stakeholders to find solutions to issues that have developed as a result of changes made in the country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, in an address to the nation this afternoon, said Government had been monitoring the situation, including the new supermarket shopping regime, to see how the processes were working.
She added that some challenges had arisen which were of concern to Government and some were being addressed.
Ms. Bradshaw continued: “And in discussions with the retailers at a number of the supermarkets across the country, what we have been noticing is that they have been having some difficulties in being able to meet a number of the orders, whether online, via telephone or WhatsApp messages. They have been coping, but there are challenges. As I would have said on Tuesday, there were a backup of orders that many of them would have had, which has now added to the additional burden….
“As a consequence, over the course of the last 24 hours, we have continued our discussions with the retailers. We have put forward some suggestions; they have also made some recommendations and those discussions are continuing. I want to give you the assurance that within the course of the next 48 hours, certainly at the earliest by Saturday, the intention is to speak to the country so that you can make preparations, both as shoppers and also retailers, to know what will happen in the course of the next few days and next few weeks.”
The acting Prime Minister noted that the commercial banks had responded to the public’s concerns about not being able to make deposits at the institutions.
She disclosed that the Attorney General and the finance team had been in discussions with the banking sector and an agreement was reached on that matter.
With regard to reports of long lines at post offices across the country yesterday and today, Ms. Bradshaw expressed concerns about the number of pensioners who were queuing on the streets.
She noted that many of the post offices accommodated pensioners beyond closing time on Wednesday, and Government made arrangements to extend their opening hours today.
“I know that many of the post offices have indicated that they will try to accommodate as well the persons who are there today, to ensure that pensioners are able to access their funds. We have instituted a system where we have additional workers on staff to be able to meet the demand.
“We’ve also ensured that at specific locations, where it could be accommodated, we have taken the opportunity to erect some tents because we know that, of course, the sun is very hot and obviously we want to ensure that persons are still comfortable while they are practising the physical distancing,” she stated.
Government, the acting Prime Minister said, understood the difficulties Barbadians were enduring. She noted that the situation was fluid and there was no perfect solution.
“I want to assure you that we’re continuing to work together with all of the stakeholders to find solutions to the problems. Barbadians, I ask you to just be patient; work with us and be respectful, as you have been thus far, of the police and the authorities,” she urged.