The Adrian Loveridge Column – Potholes and the Possible Effect On Tourism

Potholes Bajan style

It would be interesting to hear from our car rental companies to see if there has been a detrimental consequence as a result of the current and quickly deteriorating condition of our roads. Personally, as an ageing driver I am now very reluctant to drive after dark, especially if it is, or has been raining, as the potholes are so numerous and seem to be appearing almost everywhere.

So unless you travel on particular roads frequently they often take you by surprise.

Purely from a tourism perspective, there is also the cost consideration. Has there been a reduction in overall rentals or average duration of hire? Have companies experienced increased costs in maintenance and repairs to wheels, tyres and rims?

As virtually all the components have to be imported, with the extra cost in doing business caused by the increased rate of the almost insultingly called ‘National Social Responsibility Levy’ (NSRL) and surcharge on foreign currency usage, this must have had a considerable effect on the bottom line or profitability for many vehicle hire operators.

Then there is the cost to the country that if indeed more visitors are not hiring cars or reducing the average duration that directly relates to VAT collection, driver permit charge and all the taxes and excises associated with petrol or diesel purchases.

Add that to the possibility of the 50 plus car rental companies listed in the current local Yellow Pages directory, reducing their fleet size or deciding not to purchase additional new vehicles and the losses to the administration could well run into millions in lost taxes and duties.

And of course, it does not end there. Less car rental or shorter hire periods directly impacts on our attractions, activities and restaurants for both lunch and dinner.

Initially when we launched our re-DISCOVER lunch initiative, it was conceived and implemented for one of our largest vehicle hire operators. The thinking behind the concept was with a fleet of around 130 cars, each rental averaging seven days and at least one driver and a passenger. This alone equates to over 13,000 people per year from a single provider.

They all have to eat.

Many might be visiting Barbados for the first time and want at least to experience one or two of our places of interest like Harrisons Cave, Hunte’s Gardens, Animal Flower Cave etc., and explore various sights on the island.

Then consider those visitors staying in self-catering accommodation like villas, apartments and the ever increasing lodging choices offered by entities like Airbnb. They would also use the car to stock-up on consumable supplies like food and beverages at one or more of our supermarkets. This could result is more potential revenue and tax loss.

Many of us are left to wonder exactly what the mandatory annual road tax collected by Government is actually spent on and why at least a proportion is not seemingly used to at least try and maintain our roads in a serviceable and safe condition. And this is especially relevant to car rental companies who pay a much higher (almost 34 per cent more) rate per vehicle yearly than private motorists.

I believe it is long overdue that our private sector trade body, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, undertake some meaningful research among its vehicle hire members to try and calculate the true national cost of our rapidly crumbling roads.

34 thoughts on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Potholes and the Possible Effect On Tourism

  1. Very well thought out and presented article Adrian. Maybe it’s time for one of the referred to car rental companies to sponsors a signage campaign that says “FIX THE Really Hugh POT HOLES. The words would be all Upper Case Bold in say 22 Point Font or larger with the exception of the letters following the R and H. Those letters would be lower case 8 point font so as not to offend the relevant minister and his delicate sensitivities. No one would now be able to misinterpret the meaning of the message.

    • Unfortunately the more pressing issue is the shit overflowing on the South Coast and the more systemic challenges connected to the management of sewerage in Barbados.

  2. Well David, the hoteliers have to start a signage campaign on the South Coast too. Post signs al along the south coast the read “MINISTER LOWE YOU ARE Sure Hurting Island Tourism. Letters following S, H, I and T are lower case 6 point font and all other letters are CAPS, BOLD and 80 point font.

  3. Again under this gov’t we are going to new lows…..these potholes could be a tourism attraction next to Harrison’s Cave, Animal Flower Cave, Welchman Hall Gully etc if only they were not a blasted road hazard….The amt of dodging yuh got to do now while driving is getting ridiculous…is it not under this govt that road tax had increase??!!!!…how come the road conditions have inversely deteriorated….One of the things that Barbados had prided itself is the amount of paved roads in relation to our size…… now under this govt that feature is going to hell..why why why can this govt get any thing right…..

  4. Potholes+overgrowing road side bush+unkempt fields+southcoast sewage+garbage all over the place+high prices+…….= No tourists

    • Has the BHTA issued a statement about the possible negative impact on tourism caused by potholes?

      On Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 10:27 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:


  5. Ok Adrian. Finally after seven years of your doom and gloom analysis and predictions of the barbados tourism numbers which btw you were proven wrong over and over again as the numbers kept improving.
    Finally you have found a source of “discomfort” to write a poision pen article.
    Am with all that you have written about barbados tourist numbers and its fast decline because of your twisted imagination one can best belive that your pronunciation and “concerns”would be proven to be less more of a concern to the tourist who for most of time prefer to be sitting beach side at one of barbados best beaches drinking a rum and coke most preferably than driving cross country on pot holes.

  6. So, pot-holes won’t be a concern to tourists because, rather than visiting tourist attractions, supermarkets, Oistins, Harrison’s Cave, Andromeda Gardens, go sightseeing or places recommended by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., which will require travelling on the roads……………

    …………..tourists will opt to remain an entire day and night “sitting beach side at one of Barbados best beaches drinking a rum and coke?”

    Your stupidity is beyond belief and definitely knoweth no boundaries.

  7. wuh damm i have heard over and over again by the blp operatives that frequent here that tourist do not spend money , so now when the politics of the situation fits operatives purposes all of a sudden tourist interacts with various attractions .
    well shit man i/ll be dam

  8. Bad roads have been part of our physical infrastructure history . I doubt it has a significant bearing our tourism product. We have one of the most extensive road network per km^2 in the world. However, maintaining this extensive physical asset at a world class level doesn’t come cheap, and has never been our strength.

    I dare say, a good portion of our primary roads need some rehabilitation. The workmanship on some of our roads fall way below international standard, as the picture above suggest. This sector is rifed with corruption the world over. In closing, bad roads doesn’t deter the adventurous one bit to explore. Just get a 4-wheel drive. I have been to many vacation spots in the region where some of their best attraction site is off the beaten track. Talk about bad roads. Yet, the visitors are not deter.

  9. Tourism is not the island’s only bread and butter, I have a family member wants to invest in a few vehicles on the island, but because of the horrid state of the roads when walking, let alone driving, no one will invest a few hundred thousand dollars in new vehicles just to see them drop into potholed craters to damage their suspensions and engines….even if they are 4 wheel drive.

    The roads need upgrading to more permanent levels, like concrete…or investors will bypass the island and find islands with more intelligent governments, like St. Lucia, Grenada or even the struggling Dominica, so make up your minds quickly..

  10. Because of our long legacy as a former premier sugar plantation colony coupled with a relativey flat tapography, we have inherited and built-out an extensive road network system. Also, since independence we have managed to pave all of it, notwithstanding the potholes.

    However, maintaining this ~2000km of roadway is another thing. One can venture to say that there is a mismatch betweeen the size of our road infrastructure and the size of our economy . We even have a larger road network per km^2 than oil -rich Trinidad .

    @Well Well. Cement road do last longer, but way more expensive to build.

    • @fortyacres

      If we have a dense road network then we need to prioritize. We cant have ALL the roads falling apart at the same time.

      On Tuesday, 14 November 2017, Barbados Underground wrote: >

  11. Prortize and another area gets th]e backlash. The fact being that barbados economy has expanded vastly over the years with not enough money on hand to fix or replaced things which are broken.
    The water problem comes to mind as an area that remains incomplete despite govt efforts.
    Now how much and where does govt prioritize without undermining other areas that are necessary to the overall services of the people.

  12. Forty…which makes it a one time spend, instead of every 3 to 5 years, with new technology and mountains of added discarded plastic bottles being currently used ya can get 20 years or more of solid road life.

    Arawak offered to do it because they have the equipment, experience and technology, but Lashley refused.

    Doubt a kickback was being offered……so ya stuck with marl, pebbles and barber green every 3 to 5 years…if they get around to it, cause they got all these parties, wukup fetes and celebrations to pay for with your money….instead of road refurbishments.

  13. Prioritize to this inept DLP administration means spending tax revenue on irrelevant, unnecessary things, such as over $7M on a year-long Independence celebration, which up to now, they can’t say exactly how much money was actually spent and how much money was realized.

    That money could have been spent providing Barbados with an “independence gift” of paved roads, cleaning the drains to prevent flooding and maintenance of the infrastructure.

    • What we know is that the government has spent millions renting equipment to compact the Mangrove dump and paying private waste haulers. The latest is the money being paid to rent pumps by the BWA. Of course there is the millions spent to fill potholes that will be washed away next shower of rain.

      To be continued.

      On Tuesday, 14 November 2017, Barbados Underground wrote: >

  14. Ok the 7million spent on independence still stuck in the blp operative craw. As a matter of fact anything having to do with barbados achieving independence has been a bone of contention from day one for the blp party and its lackies.
    Barbados infrustructure did not start crumbling seven years ago
    We have a sewage system built the size of a toilet to service a growing population and surrounding business industries
    We have previous govts who never gave concerted effort to the long term financing of a crumbling infrustructure however after the horse has long bolted we have the blp lackies looking for quick fixes and expecting money allocated for barbados patriotic interest to be quickly withdrawn and dispatched
    Only unpatriotic people would question the allocation of funds that places it country independence in line with other countries who does the same as a symbolic gesture to honour its people.

  15. that is why the experts like Arawak with years of experience in cement roads and the specialzed equipment to get around those challenges would have been perfect…

    ……instead of the same decades old scams and even older scamsters.

  16. This inept DLP administration wanted to create the impression among Barbadians that the country cannot afford garbage trucks, but the SSA was renting a D9R Caterpillar tractor from Brathwaite’s Construction, to use on the Mangrove Pond Landfill, at rental fee of over $23,000 PER WEEK………….. or $1,196,000 PER YEAR.

    …………… while the SSA’s tractor remained parked in need of repairs.

    They could not afford to buy garbage trucks or repair the D9………………. but could afford to spend over $7M on a shiite celebration, that the country could not afford as well. And a shiite hound political yard-fowl wants to convince Barbadians if they were unsupportive of the nonsense, they’re unpatriotic.

    Patriotism is defined as having a “devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country,” and to tell the government it’s doing shiite when it’s doing shiite.

    Only an idiot would define patriotism within the context of holding fetes for DLP lackies, while other DLP lackies and operatives benefit from the funds allocated.

  17. @David. I agree. The primary corridors and thoroughfares should be given priority. They should at least divide the primary roadnetwork into sections and assigned a dedicated road engineering crew for each section.

    @Well. I hear you. However, I have seen roads built in the old days(crushed stone subbase) that have lasted for over 30 years.

  18. Forty…you do realize the well known scam artists have no such long term plans for no road to last 40 years on the island right, most of them will be either dead or drooling in their diapers in 40 years, unable to spend their scam money, so dont look for anything longer than a 3 to 5 year road plan…

    while ya at it, name me one minister or politician you know will go along with a 20 year road plan let alone a 40 year road plan, they do not exist on the island, maybe in 2 generations you will find real genuine leaders, but not just yet.

  19. One of our major problems, is the absence of modern road building and maintenance equipment. We take too long to effect building and repairing of our roads. Filling potholes will not solve any long term problems.

  20. While I accept the for the last two decades, we, Barbadians, collectively suffered with what I like to call “Implementational Paralysis” as it relates to the diversifying of the economy, I beg to differ with the notion that potholes are having such a great impact on a failing sector, one that’s been failing since 1990 as far as I am concerned.
    Adrian loves ( no pun intended or implied here) to detract from the fact that Barbados is just too expensive as a direct and undeniable consequence of GREED!
    Hoteliers, Customs, you name it are just greedy and offer no real or perceived value. Hence, Barbados’ attractiveness has waned.
    We cant compete with juggernaut’s like Dubai and the other Arab Emirates, so we blame whatever we can on the failure of us to be novel, innovative and less GREEDY!
    Stop the nonsense, diversify the economy and cease planting my tax dollars into the hands of the greedy few who are not delivering value back to the country already!
    Potholes killing tourism my ass!

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    Asiaciti Managed Millions For A Carousel Of Millionaires And Fraudsters

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    Mauritius’ Rise As Tax Haven Comes At Africa’s Expense

    How Nike Stays One Step Ahead Of The Regulators

    Big U.S. Political Donors Play The Offshore Game

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