The following is a clarification statement issued by Sarah Taylor, an associate of Allan Kinch, to respond to an article published in the Sunday Sun (13 August) titled Savvy Setback. See full Sunday Sun article posted below at the end of the submission.
I want to give some clarity on how the statement in question came about.
I was messaging the journalist pertaining to the petition to keep Savvy On The Bay open and I told the journalist I signed for 2 documents weeks ago that turned out to be a stop and enforcement notice on the Old Eye Ward building. It ordered that work had to stop and spoke about returning it to the state it was in before we started working on it. It was not something we discussed at length, I had mentioned it because I remembered getting a nose bleed as soon as I read it.
I was lost as to why the planning department served the notice without determining the application that was submitted in 2020 and updated two weeks prior to the notice being served. I was was also lost as to why they asked for an application to be submitted in the notice when they had already been submitted.
Some people tell us we should not speak out and that we will be victimized more. Others who speak out on our behalf are also told the same thing. Something is deeply wrong when people are told not to speak out about injustice because they will be victimized. Speaking the truth should NEVER be considered wrong especially when it is spoken to prevent evil from prevailing.
This property was sold by the BTII for tourism development. Barbados Tourism Investment Inc’s welcome statement on its website states as follows: The BTI is a critical conduit to guide your Barbados investment experience by providing details on all relevant private sector and government agencies to help you better leverage your time and resources. Their vision statement says: To be the lead Agency for facilitating investment in tourism and urban regeneration in Barbados.
The properties in question, both the Old Eye hospital and the lands that Savvy on the Bay lay on were advertised and sold to Mr Kinch. Mr Kinch was the highest bidder. The process was extremely long and stressful. The land was advertised and described with boundaries to the sea. This description was in both the advertisement and the tender document. The agreement from BTII said that a surveyor was to do a new plan to the high water and to point out the line marks to the purchaser which was done… As we all know no development is supposed to be allowed at least 100ft from high water as the beach in Barbados is public and that is not disputed by Mr Kinch. He very much supports this.
From that time to this our lives have been wrought with stress over this investment. From delays over the sale, a Minister trespassing on the land and cutting down trees worth thousands of dollars and Mr Kinch being defamed in Parliament by the same Minister. We have also endured destruction of property on more than one occasion and downright bullying.
It was no secret what Mr Kinch intended to do with the land as plans had to be submitted with his tender document to BTII . BTII’s acceptance letter stated “The Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. has reviewed your proposal and the accompanying development concept which you have envisaged for these properties. We believe that your plan, should it come to fruition, it would enhance the tourism product offering in the Bay Street corridor which form a part of “Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison” which has been designated world heritage status.”
Sadly I believe I will have to say and share much much much more on the debacle.
How can any person whether a Barbadian or a foreign investor consider investing in a country where things like this happen and NO responsibility is taken. As a young man who called in to Brasstack said, why should he break his back working only for the government to come and take up what he worked so hard for.
We have suffered for years begging the Government to meet and to do the right thing. Begging them not make our country to look so badly. At the end of the day we are all humans, one no different to the next, flesh, blood and bone and yet we have been treated callously without care or thought. A few weeks ago I sat in my doctor’s office and was told your heart is in arrhythmia, your blood pressure is high and your cholesterol is high and I was told how dangerous it was. I would like to ask the government what will it take? What pound of flesh or loss of life will satisfy them!
Bajans have a saying. Don’t air your dirty laundry. I have a saying do not have any, don’t keep dirty laundry. Wash your laundry and put it out in the sun and wind to dry. When people will not meet to resolve matters in private there is a point that it must become public especially when we live in a society where the law courts do not work and we are reminded of that by the very one given the task to ensure they work! We are told accept it or take it to court and you know how long that will take!
A part of the agreement also stated that if at any time before the purchase was completed if the government wanted to acquire the land the sale would stop and the purchaser would be refunded his deposit. I say that to say the government up to the end of 2019 could have gotten out of the sale if they so desired. They say that the sale of the land was a policy position of a previous administration and that from the time this government came into power they made it clear to Mr Kinch that they wanted to preserve that part of the overall site for the public of Barbados. They claim they could not stop the sale but according to the agreement that is not true and yet they chose to complete the sale and take Mr Kinch’s money and land tax dollars for years and proceed to frustrate and ridicule him from that time to this.
Sadly yes there is much more to this story. To quote a great leader for whom I once had great respect for but that respect is fading quickly.
The leader said it was wrong that three countries were not at a meeting and that we need to speak with those with whom we disagree, and we don’t only need to narrowcast. The leader stated “That’s the part of the problem of the world. There’s too much narrowcasting instead of broadcasting. There’s too much talking at instead of talking with. But secondly, those countries must equally recognize that you cannot want to fully participate if you’re not prepared equally to engage and to see progress. The simple priority must be people, not ideology.” The leader went on to say in closing “I hope that we leave here today conscious that we must never again come to a summit to talk at each other, but simply to talk with each other in partnership and for the purpose of the prosperity of our people.”
My hope and prayer is for fair engagement and to see progress and prosperity for ALL Bajans. Both for the investor Mr Kinch who entered into an investment being lead to believe his vision was supported by the Government but also the vendors who stand with us and all Bajans current and future. We must honor our forefathers by continuing to plant good seed, seed that sees not just ourselves but our community and country flourishing. In doing that we will honor and do credit to our nation.
See Sunday Sun article below.
Developer ordered to restore building to original state
By Maria Bradshawmariabradshaw@nationnews. com
The owner of Savvy on the Bay has been ordered to return the National Trust listed building which he now owns to its original state of ruins.
That building, which is located next to the traffic lights at the corner of Bay Street, St Michael, has been undergoing restoration since 2020 and is now at an advanced stage of refurbishment.
Popularly known as the “Old Eye Ward”, it was previously in a state of ruin for several years with no windows, doors, roof, filled with garbage and occupied by vagrants.
Allan Kinch, who has been embroiled in a land acquisition with Government over the beachfront Bay Street lands which he bought from the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. in 2015, has already undertaken significant restoration of the building to its original design as required by the National Trust and he has installed bathroom facilities which are already being utilised by the public.
However, Dr William Duguid, minister with responsibility for planning and development, had previously told this newspaper that Kinch undertook all of this work without planning permission.
A source close to the situation said two weeks ago Kinch received anenforcement notice from the Planning & Development Department (PDD) ordering him to cease works on the building and to return it to the state it was in before such works started. He was also warned that he could face imprisonment or a fine for failure to adhere.
Last Friday was also the deadline for the 30 days that Kinch was granted to accept Government’s financial offer to repurchase the three sections of the land in that area, including the section known as Savvy on the Bay, a popular food truck business. Failing that, Government could use the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act to compulsorily acquire the lands.
All of this is occurring in the midst of an online petition which was also started on Friday called “Save Savvy”.
When contacted yesterday for an update on this situation, Attorney General Dale Marshall, who last month announcedGovernment’s intention to reclaim sections of the land for public car park purposes, said there was no update and that he was not aware of the petition.
When the Sunday Sun attempted to reach Kinch, we were advised that he could not speak to the media since he was involved in negotiations with Government.
The petition which indicates it was started by Marsha Lovell and has so far garnered close to 500 signatures, accused Government of refusing to properly negotiate.
It noted: “Savvy On The Bay is a tiny 24-hr food truck village in Barbados on the beautiful coast of Browns Beach in the Carlisle Bay. Since it was constructed last year, it has quickly become an extremely popular hangout spot. However, the Government of Barbados wants to use their power to take the land from the owner of the property to build a car park.
“This decision would leave over 150 persons unemployed, including all of the small business operators and their staff. Since it’s announcement, this move has been very unpopular, especially among Bajans and tourists who frequent the area, with many trying to figure out why would anyone destroy a thriving small business hub to build a carpark that nobody asked for. In a time of economic hardship, this decision would be catastrophic for all of the vendors involved.
“The Government of Barbados is refusing to properly negotiate and they have given the owner of Savvy on the Bay less than a month before they enact the legal procedures to reclaim the land. The vendors at Savvy need your help to stop The Government from carrying out this thoughtless decision!”
Sarah Taylor, the owner of Tranquillity Cruises and Beautiful Barbados Tours and Excursions Ltd, whose offices are also located at Savvy, said her offices were also in jeopardy.
“I have been operating tours in Barbados for over 20 years. We provide excursions for thousands of visitors to Barbados every year as many as 500 in a day on a busy cruise ship day. My company was awarded a Viator Experience Award for 2023. We are one of only ten in our region that won it so it’s a big deal.
“I have a passion for entrepreneurship and understand the blood, sweat and tears that goes into making a business a success, so I really have an understanding and have great compassion for the struggle small entrepreneurs face,” she said, as she promised to reveal more about the negotiations between Government and Kinch, who is her partner.
Kinch bought the three properties on the land – Zepherin House site, the area on which Savvy now stands, and the old eye hospital for $4 million from the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. in 2015 with a specific agreement that the property was to be used for tourism development purposes.
He revealed that he had submitted plans to the PDD for developments such as a hotel and condominiums among others but none had yet been approved.