|Director of the Drainage Division, Keith Barrow. (FP)|
The National Environmental Enhancement Programme (NEEP) has been hailed as a success, and credited with assisting with the improvement in drainage services across Barbados.
So says Director of the Drainage Division, Keith Barrow, who also disclosed that the number persons employed under the NEEP had increased along with the programme’s mandate.
Speaking during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Mr. Barrow said: "The mandate of NEEP was to facilitate the clearing of community roadways by the clearing of trees and debris that make it unsafe for vehicular and pedestrian traffic; the clearing of, and maintaining of waterways, drains, wells and other aspects of the drainage system, and similar works."
He added that Cabinet approved 210 new workers, three operators, 10 supervisors and 197 general workers to be added to the staff complement. With that, said Mr. Barrow, the clearing of community spaces, the collection and proper removal of litter from clean-up work, the execution of landscaping work and the provision of proper environmentally sustainable disposal of debris, were also included in the NEEP mandate.
"The NEEP programme, as it commenced in 2008, and as it applies to the general maintenance of drainage services, has been successful. There is no doubt that the general drainage services throughout the country have improved, and hopefully the expansion would [further] add to the improvement," Mr. Barrow stressed, adding that there were still areas to be improved.
The Director noted that drains and keeping the bush on the island down were two of the main areas of concern for the Drainage Division. "Barbadians are using the drains to dispose of all manner and type of stuff, and it is a continual challenge. The drains are in continuous need of cleaning. You pass the highway and the bush is growing, even in the dry times [and] some areas where pedestrians pass can be a source of danger," Mr. Barrow pointed out.
He added that when the new workers were onboard they would be assigned to one of the 13 depots across the country to augment working teams. "What we are doing now is ensuring that workers have personal protection equipment before they go out on the job. This includes gloves, helmets, safety vests, boots, and where they have to go into the drains, we provide the hazmat suits (hazardous materials suits)," Mr. Barrow indicated.