The Adrian Loveridge Column – Realizing Bree St. John’s Dream for Oistins Town

Oistins Town

Every time I drive through Oistins and pass the now demolished former District Hospital and its environs, from a tourism perspective it is difficult not to think what an incredible opportunity we have missed. While the Fish Fry over the years has become one, if not the most visited island attractions there is so much more we could do to enhance the area.

An extended and widened pier; a restaurant village overlooking the bay with its incredible natural breezes, perhaps imitating the one at Marigot on the French St. Martin part of the island; a coastal water taxi to help minimise car parking requirements and give both visitors and locals alike a great alternative to current transportation options.

While Oistins currently provides a value-for-money dining options, not everyone wants to eat out of Styrofoam containers, especially now considering the greater environmental concerns. And to add to our title by some that Barbados is the ‘culinary capital of the Caribbean’, a greater restaurant choice would raise the overall earnings for the area and in my humble opinion drive even more visitors.

The existing bus ‘terminal’ could easily be moved across the road and the present toilet facilities serving the fish fry, enhanced and better monitored from a hygiene perspective. Even if this means imposing a small charge to staff and clean modified versions.

Such a concept would also greatly enhance our struggling fishing industry, that is currently struggling to compete with the increased volume of imported refrigerated containers full of tax and duty-free frozen food. This situation will be dramatically aggravated as the scheduled hundreds of additional all-inclusive rooms come online in December further pushing up our import bills and foreign exchange requirement.

While Government is under severe fiscal pressure, this is when the private sector has to step up and assume at minimum the conception, implementation and construction lead. It was interesting to read recently about the formation of Williams Caribbean Capital.

Maybe the timing is perfect, when our existing traditional banking sector seemingly is being more than cautious about supporting new tourism investment facilitation, some new funding competitive options may aid and stimulate the only sector that can take the country out of our economic malaise.

I will always cherish the memories of at least two former Ministers of Tourism, Sir Harold St. John and Peter Morgan and as everything seems to come down to partisan politics, two outstanding people who were poles apart from a political standpoint. Both however possessed the incredibly important virtue of listening to people, whether they were from the lower social stratum of society or elevated in status.

Even if neither ended up following any advice proffered, they listened and that is all most of us can reasonably expect. Sir Harold and in fairness, Lady Stella had a dream for Oistins, or Oistins Town as he would frequently refer to it.

Let us not forget that ‘dream’ and help make become it a reality.

Empty derelict buildings and idle abandoned land do not generate taxes, employment or attract investment. Government has clearly demonstrated, at least in certain selected instances, that it can fast-track ‘big picture’ projects from a planning perspective.

Could Oistins be one of these targeted areas for augmented development?

18 thoughts on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Realizing Bree St. John’s Dream for Oistins Town

  1. “The existing bus ‘terminal’ could easily be moved across the road and the present toilet facilities serving the fish fry, enhanced and better monitored from a hygiene perspective.”


    On Saturday, March 22, 2008, then Minister of Public Works, John Boyce, said government was going to move the Oistins’ Bus depot from its seaside location to the opposite area, or on the site where the ESSO gas station was located.

    After touring the Oistins Complex in January 2009, then Minister of Agriculture Senator Haynesley Benn agreed vendors had a “legitimate grouse” and promised to rectify many of their concerns and improve the facilities.

    While speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, John Boyce said NCC, Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. and the Ministry of Tourism were seeking funds to improve the physical structure of Oistins Bay Gardens and to expand the bathroom facilities.

    As at August 2017, the bus depot has not been relocated nor has there been any improvement in the physical structure of the Bay Gardens. After heavy rain fall, a stagnant body of water remains on the pathway leading to Lexie’s Bar, ensuring an adequate breeding environment for mosquitoes.

    While Oistins remains a premier tourism attraction, over the years vendors have been complaining about the unsanitary condition of the food court, where food operators and customers are subjected to mounting garbage, overflowing drains, scampering rodents and foul odours.

    Although government is yet to rectify these problems, the tourism authorities continue to advertise Oistins as “must do in Barbados.”

    We need to be proactive with our tourism product.

  2. However, I agree with Adrian Loveridge’s suggestions re on the site where the Oistins District Hospital was located.

    St. Martin’s Marigot and Oistins have similar “geographical characteristics” and adopting an improved “Barbadian version” of their product, would obviously enhance the area.

    We could also look at constructing seaside restaurants, similar to those in Bequia, where customers could enjoy sun bathing, sea baths and other activities while waiting for their meals.

  3. @ Artax August 14, 2017 at 8:23 AM
    “While Oistins remains a premier tourism attraction, over the years vendors have been complaining about the unsanitary condition of the food court, where food operators and customers are subjected to mounting garbage, overflowing drains, scampering rodents and foul odours.”

    Nothing is going to be put in place to upgrade and improve the much required health and sanitation facilities until there is a massive outbreak of food poisoning involving a number of ‘white’ visitors to that cash-cow location.

    That area of Oistins has potentially serious underlying sewage problems which one day coming very soon would spill just like the ones being experienced further south west near the Graeme Hall swamp area.

    But what can you expect from a corrupt administration riddled with a bunch of low-class stinking crooks and liars and like a dead fish is rotting from its head to its tail?

    Barbados is a sorry state as far as public sanitation and hygiene is concerned and one day coming soon like the gun violence currently plaguing the society would come to haunt the people responsible for this state of environmental affairs.

    No white visitors especially those out of the UK will be prepared to patronize a country where there are obvious threats to their health and physical safety. Gun violence and risk of food poisoning from poor public sanitation might just be the monkey spanners that will destroy the only economic cylinder of survival left standing.

  4. millertheanunnaki August 14, 2017 at 9:51 AM #

    Sad commentary…….but with elements of truth.

    Over the 9 year period a golden opportunity existed for this govt to embrace and assist NGOs in accessing grants and loans from international funding agencies to do a myriad of infrastructural works for this country.

  5. It seems as though a RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL will be constructed in St. Lucia……………. and it is expected to open in 2021.

    According to “,” “the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, which is part of Marriott International, signed a management agreement with Range Developments to open a 180-room resort in 2021, close to Hewanorra International Airport and the Pitons.”

    It is projected that the construction phase would create 500 jobs, with a similar number of people to gain employment when the property is opened.

    Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said the plan to bring Ritz-Carlton to St Lucia is a historic and significant event in the continuing development of tourism on the island.

    Interestingly, the project will be developed under the island’s Citizenship by Investment programme.

    • @Artax

      You listened to the Governor this evening? CBI is not a priority for Barbados based on his understanding, concerns about creating problems for Barbadians who currently enjoy visa free travel to some countries.

  6. Adrian;

    I believe you are a member of the private sector, let’s see the colour of your money to move your suggestions along. Talk is cheap, putting your personal finances on the line is quite another thing. Most of the private sector have evaluated Barbados dismal economic position and are no doubt of the opinion spending cash at the moment would be extreme foolissness. Better sit back and keep the money in the off shore matteress and take a wait and see position.

    Individuals with money are generally not foolish, some Bajans, not so much.

  7. MSN lists “The 12 Best Islands in the Whole Entire World.”

    1) Palawan in the South Pacific
    2) St. Lucia
    3) Santorini: a Greek island
    4) Bali
    5) Capri……. an island just off Italy’s Amalfi Coast
    6) Thai island: Khao Phing Kan…………. Also known as “James Bond Island”
    7) Maui
    8) Fernando de Noronha…….. an island offshore the Brazilian coast
    9) Waiheke Island: a bohemian New Zealand island
    10) The Spanish island: Mallorca

  8. @ David

    I remember reading an article which reported Stuart saying he was considering CBI, but Donville Inniss said he was not in favour of Barbados entering such a program.

    I understand the concerns that were raised, especially with the threat of terrorism.

    Presently, Barbadians do not require visas to enter over 140 countries and territories.

    Syrians, for example, require visas to enter France. Assume a Syrian acquires Barbadian citizenship through a CBI program and obtains a Barbadian passport.

    As a result, that Syrian would not require a visa to travel to France, because he is essentially a “Barbadian” and is eligible to enjoy the benefits of visa free travel, where applicable.

    • @Artax

      The problem some of us have with CBI programs is that it signals we are out of ideas as a region. And this is despite the billions spent on educating our people. Note St. Lucia s following the same tourism mode used by Bahamas, Barbados, Bahamas and a few others.

  9. David&Artax

    What am I missing on this CBI conversation?

    For decades going back to the days of Messel&Colbert to the present where you have Russian oligarchs and Saudi princess owning west coast properties with mega yachts parked out for every one to see……..what do you call this then?

  10. @ Vincent

    There is a difference…….

    Although residence may be granted to investors and wealthy individuals who may purchase property in Barbados, they are not Barbadian citizens.

    A Citizen-by-Investment program provides special provisions that would give those individuals an opportunity to legally acquire Barbadian citizenship and a Barbadian passport, based on their investments and criteria which meets the requirements of the Henley & Partners’ due diligence (if this process is used).

  11. just back from crop-over… pretty lame…if it wasnt for the shoot up there would be nothing really to talk about . Gave the friday fish fry a pass on recommendations of locals . Was headed to berts for a daiquiri but it looks like melnyks old liver whats going on there.

  12. There are only so many good ideas out there for creating high-income societies in places like the Caribbean, where most people are lazy, unserious and not-too-interested in ideas.

    In addition to conventional tourism, the region has established (a) off-shore medical schools (with plans for medical tourism), (b) citizenship-by investment programs, (3) off-shore financial services, and (4) marijuana production. These are all excellent ideas and they should all be pursued in an enthusiastic, disciplined way, instead of with half-hearted reluctance.

    What is missing is a manufacturing component, (except in Trinidad), but I hear Jamaica is pushing ahead with plans for big trans-shipment warehouses that could provide a foundation for “finishing-touch” manufacturing. Is Barbados too geographically disadvantaged to follow suit?

  13. Yeah. Right. Read below, and GOOGLE to find out the history of SANDALS, and try to understand the SANDALS model. Try to understand how SANDALS negotiate and allegedly renege and the squabbling to get even the room and sales tax!  Also, try to understand there are at least a dozen global brands who can invest and bring in far more than Sandals.

    Is Sandals a good corporate citizen?


    BTW, did you hear a Minister promise transparency in the Sandals corrupt process? People are silent while a PM and his govt — all in that govt are responsible, collectively as they like to say when they want to duck & hide and shirk personal responsibility – decide they want a resort in To

    bago, they had already spoken to Sandals while in Opposition, so the PM decide he want Sandals, get the land via rather suspect means to govt ownership, start negotiations, no project document or similar info to the people, no invitation to tenders, no concrete justification for this project based on what we will put out and what we will get back, no information on tendering, procurement, no tenders or evaluation committee, but his govt negotiating with someone they selected, long before they came into govt, and now they promise transparency AFTER they make a deal and signed it! So, you choose who you want, make your deals, and then after you signed the agreement, you will tell the people? That is the PNM’s concept of open & transparent governance? And, no one in this country is objecting to what is regarded as a corrupt process in any part of the world, except T&T!

    Is Sandals a good corporate citizen?*

    Aug. 16, 2017, 2:36 AM AST 0 Comments

    Last week, in this space, the opinion was expressed that the actions of Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, in moving to have CL Financial wound up and its assets liquidated could jeopardise Prime Minister Keith Rowley’s dream of having a Sandals hotel complex constructed on the Golden Grove Est

    Transparency for Sandals deal, please

    Transparency for Sandals deal, please

    The issue of multi-year, all-encompassing tax holidays granted to Sandals Resorts International before that Jama…

    and this is the PNM’s idea of open & transparency in procurement, governance etc: we will tell you what we want to tell you and ONLY after we make deals and commit the nation to who knows what!

    Govt commits to Sandals disclosure

    Aug. 17, 2017, 8:55 PM AST 0 Comments

    THE Government is committed to disclosing the terms of its agreement with Sandals for the establishment of an all-inclusive resort at the Golden Grove estate in Tobago.


Leave a comment, join the discussion.