Barbados We Love You, But For How Long?

Grenada Sunset

It continues to amaze the BU household why politicians feel that they can ignore the PEOPLE and get away with it. But we know the answer, don’t we? Barbadians have long ago repatriated their dreams and aspirations to the politician. In the past this passive approach by Barbadians was regarded as a characteristic to be admired, but that was in the day when we had grassroots politicians in abundance who could be entrusted with the PEOPLE’s business.

It is interesting to read about the latest controversy in Caribbean government. In summary, it has been reported that on July 07, 2008, one day before general elections were held, the former Grenada government signed a deal worth 35 million dollars with Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton.  Of course Hamilton is the much heralded Black Formula 1 driver whose grandfather is Grenadian.  The Grenada Grand Beach Resort is located on this prime beachfront property in question. “The deal is controversial in part because Grenada’s government owns nearly all beachfront land and leases it to developers for an annual fee. Some local journalists complained that taxpayers received no payment for transfer of the land.”(excerpt from the Canadian report)

Grenada seems to have gotten its coastal land use policy right!

Barbados in contrast continues to get it wrong. Will Barbados have to pay a price in the long-run for our coastal land use policy which is obviously flawed? It appears that it is only the Town Planning Department and by extension the Barbados government who remains blind to what is happening. The concern about our coastal land use policy should be viewed in the context of our over-reliance on the fickle tourist product.

In the rumshops, on the blogs, on the street corners, on the corridors of companies, in the newspapers, on the call shows, our Barbadian PEOPLE have been echoing their concerns about the unbridled development on the West Coast of Barbados. A drive on the West Coast of Barbados use to be viewed as an opportunity to view paradise in motion, especially that period at sunset time. The opportunity for current and future generations to witness the setting sun will have to be from the Harbour Master. We are fed-up with the lack of concern which our leaders have demonstrated over the years on this matter!

They have sold Barbados for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver and may their souls rot in hell!

If they don’t want to listen to Barbadians maybe they should listen to what the tourists are saying:

Traveller #1

So Chefette has gone…

Dont want to go back to Barbados any more. Went every year from 1969 (6mths old) to 1987, then on average every 2/3 years since. If it wasnt for the drive through Barclay Park and Cattlewash through the thankfully completely unchanged East Coast I wouldnt bother at all. Even the buffet lunch at Atlantis isnt the same any more.

The West Coast from Six Men’s Bay southwards just isnt recognisable. Heywoods/Almond Beach was ok, though I remember when there was pasture down to the old coast road in its place, but Port St Charles has put paid to the character at that end of the Island. Speightstown hasnt’t (luckily) changed much, but the luxury (1)Schooner Bay complex is built on what was, literally, the Speightstown dump. Fom there South there is really nothing left of what made Barbados so charming.

I’m not against change, far from it – I’m only 39 by the way – but believe me when I say how lucky I feel to have enjoyed the very best of Barbados in the 1970’s and 1980’s before it was ruined by not only overdevelopment, but incoherent, ill-considered, unattractive and unsuccessful overdevelopment.

What a shame !

Traveller #2

I wasn’t lucky enough to see Barbados when you did and wish I had. I have read that Speightstown is also going to be redeveloped. I like it as it is and hope they don’t destroy it’s character as well.

Clare

Traveller #3

I can see both sides to this, I have been going for quite a few years & stayed in that area, I don’t like the changes but it’s not my home so what can I say except for I don’t like it & it isn’t how I want it to be, but unfortunately that is how it is & I fear will get worse, with hotels & villas going to make space for more condos.I don’t think it’s a good thing at all but as I say it’s not my island.

Traveller #4

Yes, it is a shame but you were so very lucky to have been to Barbados when you did. Certainly, the development is gross but there are still unspoiled areas.

A couple of years ago we went to a Caribbean island that was supposed to be like Barbados was 20 years ago. It was so gloriously beautiful BUT the locals were nowhere near so friendly as the Bajans and also there was some pretty gruesome crime about. Food was pretty awful too.

So, after deserting Barbados for a couple of years, we are going back in January AND I JUST CAN’T WAIT. I got the map out yesterday and really got excited!

Traveller #4

I’ve been going to Bim since 1963 and have also been witness to all the change, but unlike yourself,

I’ve adjusted, (grudgingly),to development, the many cars on the road now, the noise and the cost factor that keeps rising every year. Sure, things have changed, but have they not right in your own backyard as well? It does take away from what was years ago, which I also loved, but you can’t stop the wheels of progress. Can You?

I still go to Bim for the weather, the sea and the people and there won’t be any “resting in peace” from this guy just yet….the thrill of flying over Carlisle Bay on approach, is still there and the little tear that gathers in the corner of my eye when stepping down on the tarmac, is still there, so you can bid adieu if you must, but I’m sure there’s enough of us to keep the flame burning.

See ya,

Read further comments on Trip Advisor website

Prime Minister David Thompson has promised that he will depart from the policy of the former government regarding our coastal land use policy. So far, we are not optimistic given what we have heard regarding the development of Six Men’s and coastal areas in St. Lucy.

18 comments

  • If the tourists think the development is ugly then why are we doing it?

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  • You already know the answer David… its money ..the filthy lucre which will kill the goose laying our golden eggs.

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  • Barbados is now for those wealthy enough to purchase a condo in paradise. These people are not tourist.
    The odinary tourist who wants to spend a vacation and really experience all that Barbados has to offer, is no longer appreciated by the policy makers. The continued granting of permission to construct condos is evidence enough.
    We can only hope that the east coast, which is really the most beautiful part of the island imho, remains in its present state.

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  • Correction:
    The ordinary tourist

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  • Today we heard with our own ears Mr. Mohajani, who is head of the local contractors association say on national radio, that there is a slow down in condo development i.e. no buyers are standing in line.

    We predicted it but instead some said we did not provide linkages. Well we just used common sense.

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  • There might be less people willing to buy or invest in a condo at this time, but they are some still being planned for development in the near future.
    Someone has advised these developers that there is quick money to be made and that is all that matters to them.

    This “land fetching its highest economic value” policy is madness.
    As a bajan, it is depressing to drive along the west coast.

    If the condos don’t sell they can always rent them out in rooms 🙂

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  • Singapore – Asian stock markets plunged Monday as government bank bail outs in the United States and Europe failed to alleviate fears of a global financial crisis that would depress world economic growth.

    Investors took scant comfort from Washington’s passage of a US $ 700 Billion bank bail out on Friday, focusing instead on a dismal US jobs report that suggested the US economy – a vital export market for Asia – could slide into recession.

    Meanwhile, oil prices fell to below $ 90 a barrel – an eight month low – on speculation that the crisis will exacerbate a world economic slowdown and cut demand for crude oil.

    That preceding extraction was taken from an updated AP news story titled: World Market plunge on fears of growing crisis – Investors take scant comfort in US passage of bailout; oil prices also drop, on MSNBC.COM, October 6, 2008.

    Obviously, this kind of news is joltingly bad for this wayward drifting DLP Government, and for the wider Barbadian society as a whole, as this already fragile so-called Barbados economy continues to slide deeper and deeper into recession, with real prospects for further job losses, business closures and business down sizes, lower national income and deeper poverty with all of its attendant social problems.

    Indeed, we in PDC keep ramming home the point – on here and elsewhere – that it is high time that the vast majority of citizens of our country resolve to NOT ONLY VOTING OUT these weak and ineffectual DLP and BLP Governments at this critical time in our history as a nation-state – and in their places ensure the VOTING IN progressive PDC and other party governments by the majority of VOTERS in Barbados, BUT ALSO resolve to fundamentally changing – and for the better – the existing social, political, financial and material structures and processes within our country.

    In Barbados, this so-called economic crisis that we the citizens of this country are presently experiencing, is primarily being, et al, caused by the damaging effects of this evil murderous TAXATION SYSTEM, the effects of this wicked INTEREST RATES SYSTEM, this dastard REPAYABLE PRODUCTIVE LOAN SYSTEM, those of these antiquated and deformed HIRE PURCHASE SYSTEMS, the foolish IMPORTATION OF THE “PRICES” OF GOODS AND SERVICES ( NOT THE ACTUAL GOODS AND SERVICES) OF OTHER COUNTRIES, the consequences of the stupidity of EXPORTATION OF GOODS AND SERVICES TO OTHER COUNTRIES, without EXPORTERS BEING DIRECTLY PAID FOR IN LOCAL CURRENCY/”PRICES”, and the sickness of OUR BARBADOS DOLLAR CONTINUING TO BE TIED TO OTHER MAJOR CURRENCIES OF THIS WORLD VIA A LOCAL EXCHANGE RATE PARITY SYSTEM.

    Finally, the PDC must let Barbadians know that – as this international financial crisis worsens – NO amount of joke foolish DLP Governmental stimulus package mainly dealing with the purchase of equipment for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and with the erecting of fences around the perimeters of some schools, and NO little reductions in the MINIMUM INTEREST RATES PAYABLE ON DEPOSITS by the Central Bank of Barbados, will suffice as to prevent our so-called economic and financial circumstances from sliding further and further down the drain, as that, it is mainly sustained fundamental action and management – and for the better – by other strong progressive party led governments in Barbados that is inevitably needed to really usher in newer and higher levels of prosperity and development fairly immune to the adverse effects of any such international political, economic, and financial crises that are currently shaking most of the world.

    PDC

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  • If the PDC would say it in 3 paragraphs maximum, a lot of others and myself would read it.

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  • As the world economic situation worsens our fears maybe about to materialized. We feel that our tourism leadership might have been asleep over the years given the fact that the Barbados brand has been relatively easy to sell over the years.

    The former government needs to take some of the blame. Our product mix is lousy. No way we should be now scrambling to increase penetration in the robust Canadian market. This has been a fact for sometime.

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  • Sir Bentwood Dick

    Barbados, my navel string is here buried.

    All the more troubling as to what si coming around.

    Reality is that without illusion.

    We need to water, food, shelter, nothing else.

    Focus on necessities, eliminate luxuries.

    Focus on learning and spiritual enhancement.

    Avoid spending on wasteful imports as much as possible.

    That is survival.

    Our hopes, dreams can be kept alive as did those of our forebears, by living frugally and enjoying the world given by the Creator.

    Excesses will be brought down, sadly even if out of eventuality.

    Ride your bicycles, walk your walk.

    Take comfort that we do not need heating in winter, as do many up North in the East and the West.

    Enjoy our beautiful ocean.

    Peace.

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  • What happened to the ferry transportation discussion the P.M had grought up and the talks were in an advance stage. Maybe it’s still too early for it to be implimented but at least he can keep us up to date on the progress.

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  • We in PDC note the following:

    That on Tuesday, October 29, 2002, according to the Daily Nation Newspaper of that day, the instructions of the Central Bank of Barbados to Commercial Banks operating in Barbados, and that were trading in the following selected foreign currency notes vis-a-vis the Barbados Dollar, were that the British Pound Sterling was to sell at BDS $ 3.18 and be bought at $ 3.05 –

    The Euro was to sell at BDS $ 2.00, and was to be bought at BDS $ 1.95;

    The Canadian Dollar (Notes) was to sell at BDS $ 1.31, and be purchased at BDS $ 1.26;

    And the US Dollar (Notes) was to sell at BDS $ 2.04, where as it was to be bought at BDS $1.98.

    We in PDC are remembering that this time was almost a year after Sept 11 and during the time too of the so-called global economic fallout that arose from that great tradegy!!

    We in PDC also note the following:

    That on Tuesday, Sptember 27, 2005, according to the Daily Nation Newspaper of that day, the instructions of the Central Bank of Barbados to Commercial Banks operating in Barbados, and that were trading in the following selected foreign currency notes vis-a-vis the Barbados Dollar, were that the British Pound (Notes) was to sell at BDS $ 3.63, and be bought at BDS $ 3.48;

    The Euro was to sell at BDS $ 2.46 and be bought at BDS $ 2.36;

    The Canadian Dollar was to be sold at BDS $ 1.74, and be bought at BDS $ 1.68;

    And the US Dollar was to be disposed of for the same BDS $ 2.04 and purchased for the same BDS $ 1.98. We in PDC remember that this was around the time when there were clear signs of the so-called Barbados economy really beginning to slow down.

    Now, we in PDC also realize the following:

    That on Tuesday, October 7, 2008, according to the same Daily Nation Newspaper of yesterday, that the instructions from the Central Bank of Barbados to Commercial Banks operating in Barbados, and those that have been trading in the following select foreign currencies vis-a-vis the Barbados Dollar, were that the British Pound (Notes) was to sell at BDS $ 3.55, and to be purchased at BDS $ 3.40;

    The Euro (Notes) was to be sold at BDS $ 2.74, and purchased BDS $ 2.63;

    The Canadian Dollar (Notes) was to be sold at BDS $ 1.84, and purchased at BDS $ 1.78;

    And, the US Dollar (Notes) was to be sold at the same BDS $ 2.04, and bought at BDS $ 1.98. At this stage we are in the throes of a serious and increasing so-called global economic and financial crisis, triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US in July 2007.

    The point we are hereby making is that because of the ever constant, and, sometimes dramatic, fluctuations in the values of major foreign currencies one against the other(s) on the international currency market, and which – when traded with the Barbados Dollar in our banking and financial system (with the exception of the US Dollar), have meant therefore that – where Barbados is concerned – there have been – from time to time – serious adverse currency and non-currency effects (as a result of these currency fluctuations) on Barbados’ capacity to generally have more properous trade and investment relations with esp. many so-called developed and developing nations and peoples of this world.

    For example, at this moment with fewer British visitors than, say, the number that came here during 2004 – (213,947 from UK – Annual Statistical Digest 2007 Central Bank of Barbados) expected to come to Barbados this time because of the financial crisis wrecking Britian, will mean that Barbados will earn less tourism related-foreign exchange and expenditure from that country this upcoming season, and such will indeed affect our foreign reserves position esp. when considering that our import bill is over BDS $ 3. 2 billion.

    Finally, a future PDC Government shall, et al, make sure that in order to moderate as much as possible the super inflated destructive effects on Barbados, as a result of its having trade and investment relations with other countries on the basis of an archaic and ineffective international currency payments system, there shall be the ABOLITION OF ALL EXCHANGE RATES PARITIES WITH THE BARBADOS DOLLAR.

    PDC

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  • PDC, while you are at it, why don’t you abolish parties whose candidates can’t even go halfway to saving their deposits in general elections, but which persist in long-winded pipe dreams of all the things they will abolish when they come to power?

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  • The real question we must ask ourselves is “What can we do about it now?”

    Do we become Zimbabwe in a few years and tell the wealthy landowners that we have to seize their land for the local population? Or do we have government offer these homeowners exorbitant sums to return these lands?

    Realistically, we can consider these areas to be gone.

    I am happy and unhappy about The Sands development that has been at the heart of most of the discussion. I’m happy because it has brought this issue into sharp focus (after all, it is a pretty big building practically in the road). Obviously my unhappiness is rooted in the fact that this monstrosity is only an 8 apartment complex. Much ado about nothing.

    We should have had this epiphany years ago when the number of gated, exclusive communities started to rise.

    How many of us have been “privileged” to go into Royal Westmoreland, Sugar Hill or Port St. Charles just because we are local? Not much. The sad thing is, once you do get in there it really doesn’t feel like Barbados anymore.

    I feel really sorry for my children. I do.

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  • Interesting comment!

    How do people working in the tourism sector feel?

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  • As one of them, I can tell you that it is not a bittersweet feeling. I have never felt that the country could sustain the influx of non-national landowners, especially those whose property takes up what could be the “house-spots” for 20 families.

    Some people say that if we don’t do this people like me will be out of jobs because the tourists won’t be plentiful. Excuse me, but the point of tourism should be to have people VISIT your island, not STAY there. If our product is as good as everyone agrees it is, why can’t we sell it for what it is rather than trying to make it a package deal?

    By this I mean that tourism in Barbados has become a sales package just like anything else; You can either pay a high price intermittently for it (four weeks at Sandy Lane twice yearly) or pay a lot for the lump sum (your own house in Sandy Lane Estate) which will save you money in the long run. Of course, Sandy Lane is the extreme of this case but I hope you understand my point.

    I heard a sad story from a Vincentian when I visited their country the other day. It is said that the English, upon colonizing St. Vincent used the Carib labour on hand and then shipped them off to one of the Grenadine islands after they had passed their usefulness period. The island on which they were put had no animals or vast natural resources so in essence they were put there to suffer and die.

    Is that what we are allowing to happen now? Are we saying by our silence and inaction, “These lands are not fit for us, but rather you, Mr. Wealthy Expatriate. Why would we need to see the sea? Why should we be able to have a panoramic view of this island where we were born? You have money, we need it. A match made in heaven!”

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  • @Tourism Monkey

    Interesting comments and we sympathize and concur.

    History in other previously popular ex-pat locations show that when tough economic times hit these people will leave. This selling out for a dollar is not sustainable and eventually destroys the very product which attracted the ex-investors in the first place.

    The selling out of the West Coast by the previous government will not be forgiven by generations to come.

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  • Heard the former PM recently gloating? that all of the land for foreign investment on the west coast was gone and the new PM will have to find somewhere else if he intends to go that route in seeking “foreign direct investment” aka land must fetch its highest economic value by selling out to rich foreigners.

    Like

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