The Adrian Loveridge Column – Opportunities Abound!

My wife and I recently spent a short break at The Crane Resort and Residences to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. While we have both known the owners for over three decades and visited the property many times, it was the first time we had stayed overnight or longer and as someone who knows how challenging the hospitality business can be at times no-one could not fairly applaud the transformation of a once 18 room hotel and its location.

Paul Doyle, his family and support staff have created a blissful holiday haven from what was a sleepy St. Philip backwater.  As a result generated hundreds of new jobs in an area of limited employment opportunities directly and many more that financially benefit from the venture. This is why I remain doubtful that we sufficiently honour, support or encourage our existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and were very pleased to read that the effervescent Peter Boos now chairs the advisory board of the Barbados Entrepreneur Foundation (BEF).

With so many talented young people on Barbados it seems only logical that meaningful encouragement is given to them and hopefully, once and for all remove the many barriers and deterrents placed in their way. As Peter so graphically states ‘Until we get an environment that really encourages entrepreneurship, it’s not going to develop as well and as quickly as we would like’. Perhaps the answer lies more in the private sector, but surely there is much more our relatively new Government can do.

Clearly this view is shared as again quoting Mr. Boos ‘’So I think after a time the effort to try and engage Government effectively, despite several meetings and discussions and so on, nothing from that end came’.

Perhaps an example could be, I vividly recall many years ago the then Canadian Government seeing so many lost opportunities for products made in their country, which could be exported overseas, headhunted prominent members from the world of commerce and sent them abroad to spearhead trade delegations where the nation had an existing embassy or consulate.

Again, there must be an enormous wealth of knowledge, skills and proven ability within our business sector. And I don’t just mean at the mega- company status. Imagine even at the small business level, if an additional 5,000 new enterprises could be created.  Of course some of them will fail or not reach potential, but that is life and it exists all around the planet.

As many of the larger commerce based entities continue to downsize, resize or whatever justification they give, more and more opportunities evolve which could, with proper guidance, soak up substantial unemployment and create taxes for Government.

We should not forget or learn from those who could envisage and were brave and determined enough to transform an ageing small hotel into one of our single largest foreign currency earners and employers.

Jack and Mighty Gabby Return to Crane Resort

Mighty Gabby of Jack fame led a protest at the Crane beach on the 31 March 2018 triggered by the decision of Crane Resort management to restrict vendor access on the beach adjoining their property. His message was crystal clear to Paul Doyle, Butch Stewart and ilk – view video embedded in the blog.

The blogmaster is of the view we can debate the technical issues raised by what is foreshore, high water mark and the like stoking this issue, however, let the word go afar that the Rh beaches in Barbados- every grain of sand- BARBADIANS have right of access.

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‘The Beach Belong to We’

Submitted by Tara A. Inniss. PhD (UWI) MSD (UNSW) BA (York). Department of History and Philosophy, Cave Hill Campus, The University of the West Indies, Barbados, innisst@yahoo.com, The History Forum Blog

When Gabby wrote ‘Jack’ in the early 1980s, he was responding to hoteliers asserting their rights over beach front property. Some almost 40 years later, Barbadians have felt secure in the notion that ‘The Beach Belong to We’. But no more. Many downplay beach access issues proclaiming that beaches in Barbados are public. However, we have witnessed increasing tension among property owners, watersports operators and beachgoers over the past 5-10 years with property owners asserting their rights over beach space above the high-water mark. But, to me, a disturbing trend has been the use of lines of (usually empty) beach chairs that create an artificial barrier (like a wall or fence) between beach users and properties. One only has to look at the aerial drone footage of beaches like the Crane, Mullins and even Carlisle Bay for evidence of this phenomenon. I believe that it is a way for property owners or even beach chair operators to conduct a ‘land grab’ at the expense of beach users. Although some complain that watersports operators harass their patrons, which is a legitimate concern, the majority of beach users pose little harm to their businesses.

In the context of access to recreational space, Barbados’ beaches have historically been the one of the few refuges that Barbadians have had access to for sporting activity and relaxation since Independence. Given the high incidence of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs), these spaces are very important to providing access to free physical activity such as swimming, beach cricket, running, walking, etc. which Barbadians need to prevent diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Access to these spaces and activities should not be limited because of predatory business practices which privilege the needs of the visitor over the Barbadian. Also, given that beach chairs are being used in this way, we should ask ourselves if a lazy day at the beach for the visitor should be prioritized over the potentially active lifestyles that we want Barbadian families to pursue.

Moreover, given our changing coastline, beach erosion is a severe and ongoing problem for property owners and insurers. We only have to look at the high surf conditions experienced in recent weeks to see the damage that is done to coastal properties which extend their structures on to beach spaces because the high water mark has altered over time. Carlisle Bay is a good example. When the Deep Water Harbour was built in the 1960s, it changed the entire coastline of Carlisle Bay with now increasing land accretion due to sand depositing in the Bay — but that is only one hurricane or storm surge away from changing and given the threat of Climate Change, Government should be making a move to ensure that coastal properties are protected — not expanded into beach zones! There is an economic and environmental cost to all of us when unregulated coastal development occurs.

I have done some quick research on how this matter has been dealt with in some jurisdictions. When concerns are raised, the use of beach frontage can be curtailed or regulated by the state through by-laws or other legislation.

In 2015, in a Florida town, residents complained about a similar phenomenon being promoted among condominium developments along the beach. The City intervened and only a percentage of beach frontage could be used for the purpose of beach chair provision. Since then, tensions have decreased significantly. http://www.nwfdailynews.com/1.488270 In Barbados’ case, we may wish to pursue a similar provision which allows only a certain percentage of beach frontage to be reserved for beach chair use and only when that is satisfied can property owners put out more chairs within the boundary of their properties.

Other jurisdictions go much further. In Phuket, Thailand, officials conducted a ‘Beach Clean Up’ meaning that ALL structures, temporary amenities (beach chairs, etc) were to be removed from the island’s beaches leaving them clutter free http://www.phuket.com/phuket-magazine/phuket-beaches-clean-up.htm. In Australia, nothing permanent is allowed on beaches including beach chair rental although some jurisdictions are experimenting with this kind of rental enterprise within regulations. http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/18397/whats-really-different-about-the-beaches-in-australia/. I think these measures might be too restrictive especially to the small beach chair concessionaire, but they do indicate that some major popular tourism destinations take a hardline.

These are matters that should be taken up with haste with the National Conservation Commission (NCC) and it would not be the first time that they were asked to help regulate the beach chair situation. With increased tourism development along the island’s coastline and our current economic, social and health challenges, regulation of beach spaces is an important consideration.

Photo credit of featured image: ecaribonline

What is the Issue at the Crane Hotel Between Owner and Vendor?

Some of us want to hear what are the real issues fueling the dispute between the owner of the Crane Resort and beach vendors. It is easy retreat to the emotional side of the issue to beat up on the White guy and shout ‘dah beach is mine’ but has the public been given all the facts around this issue? Clearly Doyle is a businessman and has a right to protect his multi million dollar  invest. And of course the beach vendors benefit from unrestricted access to our beaches.

Source: Facebook

Here is an interview the owner of the Crane Resort had with the Nation newspaper to present his side of the issue.

 

Notes From a Native Son – Are We Facing the Point of No-Return?

Hal Austin

Two recent events should have shaken Barbadian society to the root. The first was the plea by former prime minister Owen Arthur for a truce on the dangerous standoff between the two dominant political parties on what to do about our badly managed economy, and for a cross-party National Commission on the Economic Development of Barbados. He did not put it in such words, but the sentiment is the same: if this generation of political leaders is going to pass on a sustainable economy and tolerant and stable society to future generations we have to call a halt on the political tribalism led by this terrible Ineptocracy (I love the word) and put our heads together in the interest of future generations.

The development, closely linked to the first, came out of the confusing and misleading hysteria about the future of Almond Resorts, was the call by Bjorn Bjerkhamn, the wealthy Norwegian, who now brands himself a ‘Barbadian’ on the basis of over 50 years of residence and, no doubt, a local passport. Mr Bjerkhamn is one of the wealthiest of the so-called New Barbadians, people who have moved from the four corners of the world and have sought to appropriate our lovely island and call it home. Some of them have nothing but contempt for local people, although this may not apply to Mr Bjerkhamn. I think I have some form on this: I have lived in Britain for over twice as long as I have lived in Barbados. Armed with my British passport, I am still reminded almost every day that I am an immigrant and any children or grandchildren those of us who have lived in Britain since the 1960s have, are called second-generation, or third-generation immigrants. It is a burden I am prepared to carry on my shoulders, since I challenge any man or woman to be more Barbadian than I.

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Saving Almond Beach Village At What Cost

Almond Beach Village beachfront

Neal & Massy (52% shareholder) delivered the Almond Mess lo Barbadians last week which has knocked CLICO from the front page of the Nation newspaper for the moment. A scan of that paper’s front page this morning should create some concerns for Barbadians. Bjorn Bjerkham is mentioned as one of about four parties bidding for the 30-acre beachfront Almond Beach Village property in St. Peter. If Bjerkham gets his wish a small island is about to be divvied up between COW Williams and himself with CLICO’s significant land holding currently encumbered as a result of its publicised demise.

In the case of Bjerkham Barbadians may want to sit up and take notice. If he is able to acquire the Almond Beach Village property, he gets control of the greatest portion of St. Peter coastline – he already owns St. Peter’s Bay in the Road View area. Remember he is currently working on redesigning the Six Mens area with the Port Ferdinand marina project. For those who are familiar with the area try to visualize if Bjerkham is able to acquire Almond Beach Village property with its vast beachfront.

Officially our government boasts that there are no private beaches in Barbados but if Bjerkham is allowed to acquire Almond beach front it is akin to creating a private beach front in Barbados by effectively blocking off access at both ends. Whether by accident or design our laws of public beach access in Barbados are being circumvented by those who have deep pockets.

So what is new anyway!

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A Way Of Life: Ah had a roast potato and Digga dog eat um!

By Baba Elombe Mottley

In the years preceding the Bussa Revolt in 1816, an African-born man, a slave at Three Houses plantation, took the name of his slave master. The owner’s name was Brathwaite. This man was so trusted by his master that he was permitted to marry/lived wid a white woman who owned about 50 acres south-east of Three Houses. According to the Historian Ronnie Hughes, when the African’s wife became iil, she made arrangements for some freedmen to look after her estate as slaves could not inherit property.

This African man Brathwaite, used to walk from Three Houses to his wife’s property every day after he finished his master’s work to manage the small property and to look after his children. He subsequently got married/live wid again, this time to the outside daughter of his master with a black woman.

Among the descendents of Brathwaite, the African man, are: Trinidadian Prof Lloyd Brathwaite, one of the founders of Caribbean sociology and former Principal of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus; Grenadian Sir Nicholas Brathwaite, interim Prime Minister of Grenada after the failed revolution; and Barbadian Prof Farley Brathwaite, a former Dean of Social Studies at The University of the West indies at Cave Hill.

A recordings about the way of life the early 1970s (fishermen).

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Development At What Price Pat Hoyos? The Fight By Bajans To Own What Land Is Left

Pat Hoyos – Publisher, Hoyos Publishing Inc

Paul Doyle’s plan to transform Skeete’s Bay into a bustle by building a restaurant to complement the others he owns located at the Crane Hotel has had to be shelved.  Doyle has Mac Fingall to thank for putting a spoke in his wheel. It is a little over a week Mac went public with his concerns about Doyle’s Skeete’s Bay Culpepper Beach Houses project – Mac Fingall And St. Philip Residents ‘Fighting Back’ To Protect Their Way Of Life At Skeetes Bay which is pending Town Planning approval.

Since this project was forced to the public at the Town Hall meeting held at St. Catherine’s Sports Club, an obvious public relations job has been triggered in the local media. Pat Hoyos’s piece in the Sunday Sun [19/02/2012] titled ‘Ragga ragga Mac’ caught the eye today when he attacked Mac Fingall for vocalizing his concerns that Barbados was fast becoming a concrete jungle. To quote Hoyos, he labelled Mac’s protestation about how he viewed development in his parish as ‘one of the most awful anti-development rants I have ever heard’.  After reading Hoyos’s article it became obvious Mac Fingall was operating at a level which left Hoyos in his wake. It is obvious Mac’s reference to slavery had to do with the outcome if Barbadians continue to sell and allow ‘others’ to develop our finite resource, the land! The result will be that these fields and hills we call our own today will not be ours tomorrow.

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Mac Fingall and St. Philip Residents ‘Fighting Back’ to Protect their Way of Life at Skeete’s Bay

Skeetes Bay

The Late Prime Minister David Thompson promised Barbadians before he died that his government would not allow the East Coast of Barbados to mirror its West Coast. In the Barbados Physical Development Plan the Eastern corridor of Barbados cannot be commercially developed. Now that the West Coast has been dotted with concrete structures with few windows to the sea and limited access to beachfront for locals, attention has turned to the South East of Barbados. There is a ‘catfight’ which is currently playing out to develop the South Eastern area of Barbados which includes Ragged Point, Eastbourne and Skeetes Bay.

Paul Doyle, the owner of the Crane Hotel, finds himself at logger heads with residents of Bayfield and the surrounding communities. He proposes to develop 88 beach houses on 44 acres of land (each equipped with a swimming pool) he bought four years ago at Skeetes Bay and Culpepper in St. Philip. He unveiled his plans to residents of the area at a town hall meeting at the St. Catherine’s Sports Club where there was standing room only. Residents of the area are concerned that the way of life they know and love will be interrupted by the proposed Culpepper Beach Houses Development.

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