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Acting PM implores Barbadians to be patient as COVID-19 challenges grow

The Government of Barbados has moved to address concerns of citizens regarding retail, banking and pension collection amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

A view of Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados

Acting Prime Minister of Barbados, Santia Bradshaw, in a statement to the nation, said the Government has been monitoring the impact of the virus which claimed the lives of three elderly male citizens early this week.

Bradshaw said although Barbadians have largely been observing orders to maintain social distance, there have been other challenges, particular at its retailers growing demand has seen many unable to fulfil orders.

“We understand that this is a very fluid situation, there is no perfect solution. But I want to assure you that we are continuing to work together with all of the stakeholders to be able to find solutions to the problems.”

– Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw

She said in discussions with the retailers at a number of the supermarkets across the country, there have been reports of difficulties in meeting a number of the orders whether online, via telephone or text messages.

“They have been coping but there are challenges and, as I would have said on Tuesday,  there is obviously a backup of orders that many of them would have had which is now added to the additional burden of persons being able to order through the respective mediums,” Bradshaw said.

Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw (Photo: gisbarbados.gov.bb)

She said discussions with the retailers are ongoing as the Government works with them to find recommendations for easing the burden.

Further, Bradshaw pledged to speak to the country within the next two days so consumers and retailers can make preparations for the coming days.

What’s more, the Government has moved to address long lines at post offices across the country which has left pensioners queuing on the streets to collect their cheques.

“We have made arrangements from yesterday to extend the opening hours for the post offices. There are many of the post offices that accommodated persons beyond the closing times yesterday and we do appreciate them for their concern for the elderly,” she said, adding that additional workers have been brought in to accommodate the demand and tents erected at some locations so people can be confortable while waiting.

Regarding challenges faces by Barbadians attempting to make deposits at banks, Bradshaw said discussions have been had with the sector and that the financial institutions have agreed to facilitate those transactions during the day and night time.

“We understand, at this time, the difficulties that Barbadians are enduring as a result of the changes that have been made. We understand that this is a very fluid situation, there is no perfect solution. But I want to assure you that we are continuing to work together with all of the stakeholders to be able to find solutions to the problems.

“Barbadians, I ask you to just be patient; work with us, be respectful, as you have been thus far of the police, of the authorities, and simply to be patient because we are in this together and the only way that we are going to be able to find the solutions to the challenges that lie ahead is if we recognise where we are and what it is that together as a nation we all have to do to be able to get back on track.”