Daily Archives: May 2, 2006

The World Cup is About CRICKET – Remember?

Tony Becca over at the Jamaica Gleaner has a few words about what Cricket World Cup has become, and what it should be.

Worth reading.

Jamaica Gleaner – Cup Is All About Cricket

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Island Life, Traveling and Tourism

Barbados Water Park Battle On The Horizon – Graeme Hall Wetlands In Danger

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A proposal by Caribbean Splash Inc. to build a multi-million dollar water park in Graeme Hall, Christ Church, Barbados, has encountered a roadblock – a negative Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report…

… but our little birdy in the Ministry of the Environment tells us that some staffers in various other ministries are pushing government to ignore the report or find ways around it.

"This is shaping up to be a classic battle between concerned Environment Ministry staffers and those from Economic Development. Preservation vs. development…"

Hummingbird (BFP source)

A Town Hall meeting for residents in the area has been scheduled on June 7th as many have grave reservations about the impact of the water park both on their homes and upon the watershed leading to the Graeme Hall Wetlands. As we detailed in our article "Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary (Part 1) – A Barbados National Treasure… But For How Much Longer?", part of the Graeme Hall Swamp has been designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" – but the rest of the swamp is still unprotected from development.

Hummingbird says that some factions intend to use the June Town Hall meeting as a dog and pony show to allay fears without having to answer the serious technical questions raised in the Environmental and Social Impact Report. (We will see about that!)

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Can You Pee In Only Half The Bathtub?

When we were little, Grandma used to throw all the brothers in the bath together – and she would assure the older two "Doan worry. Little J will only Pee in his part of the tub."

Those water fights on bath night were sure fun. But… as much as I wanted to believe Grandma back then, it just didn't sound right that Little J. could pee in his part of the tub and not pee in my water too….

Now, I'm just a little older, and I will not be so ready to believe anyone who says…

"Don't worry about the Graeme Hall Swamp and Nature Sanctuary. The Caribbean Splash facility will only pee in it's own part of the natural watershed."

Story Links

Nation News article here.

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website here.

Caribbean Splash Inc. website here. Photos displayed under the fair use provisions.

Information Request – Can You Assist?

The owner of the land to be leased for the water park development is the Barbados Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation. Barbados Free Press would like to know the history of this land. Who originally owned it? How did BADMC (now there's an acronym!) come to own the land?

If you can assist with this information please drop us an email at barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com or use the comments section of this post.

Thank you!

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Environment, Island Life, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

Big Tourist Operators and Condos Killing Barbados Jobs and Sub-economies. We Need A Stategic Vision and Honest Leadership Now

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"If tourism is doing so well, why are we losing so many of our hotels, so many jobs in tourism?"

…Small hotelier Adrian Loveridge of Peach and Quiet Hotel, Christ Church, Barbados.

…And citing figures from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security's recently published Statistical Digest, Loveridge said that one in seven – 14 per cent or 2,000 jobs – had been lost in the tourism sector between 2002 and 2004 – down from 14,200 to 12,200 in three years. (Nation Newspaper article here.)

What is Going On With Our Tourism Industry?

Hotel operator Martin Richards is just about to sell his King's Beach Hotel to a British investor who will be tear it down and build condos…

"A number of the resorts and restaurants are closing and turning into condominiums because the all-inclusive product has killed the restaurant trade, and it is killing the smaller, independently-run hotels.

"[All-inclusives] don't provide any business to Barbados, with the exception of the resort the people stay in. They don't provide any business to the restaurants, taxis, shops, supermarkets, gas stations, because people go to the resorts and stay there . . . . It's not good for Barbados; it's not good for tourism," he said.

Richards said the hotel he owned for ten years had also suffered the consequences of the big tour operator and the larger [all-inclusive] hotels, with their 600-plus rooms, agreeing rates as low as US$65 a night. He said with King's Beach rack rate at US$285 a night, they couldn't survive.

The Future – Big Competition from… Cuba?

That is the situation now, but as we mentioned in our article "Cuba After Castro – What Does It Mean For Barbados?", a free Cuba will change everything in the Caribbean tourist industry. Competition is going to get tougher… much tougher…

The threat that Cuba presents to our tourism industry cannot be overstated.

Thanks to the USA’s embargo and travel ban, Barbados has not had to vie with Cuba for American tourism dollars. With a dramatic resurgence in the Cuban tourism industry, and an increased number of Cuban resorts catering to both the low and high-end tourists from the USA and Europe, can Barbados still be competitive? We already lose significant visitors to Cuba from the Canadian and European markets. Without the American-legislated “head-start” how will we fare?

Leadership & Strategic Vision Needed Now

For a country that relies so heavily upon tourism dollars, Barbados seems to lack a central strategic plan to ensure the health of this vital industry. Yes, we see efforts here and there – government conferences, promotions by hired PR firms out of New York City, Bajan food tastings in the U.K., and our Tourism Minister attending investment conferences in the Middle East – but all this seems hodge-podge without an overall strategic plan and vision.

Condos are springing up willy-nilly where tourists used to stay – dramatically shifting the nation's visitor demographics and killing local restaurants and other tourist-dependent businesses. This seems to be happening without controls or debate.

Back in January before he bolted for the Government side of the house, then Opposition Leader Clyde Mascoll charged that the wholesale rush to condos was harming the tourist industry.

Haven't heard too much about this lately from Mr. Mascoll because he is now being a good little boy and obviously doing as told. That's just what happens the Leader of the Opposition trades sides.

Barbados Sacrificing The Future For Quick Dollars Now

The huge international tourist operations do not care about the long-term sustainability of Barbados' tourist industry. They don't care about the health of our families, our jobs and our society. All they care about is cheap rooms and profits. When Barbados is burned out, there will be plently of other islands to take our place.

Similarly, the condo developers have their own short-term interests in mind – and not the interests of Bajans or their country. This is just how things are, which is why we need honest and bright people in national and local leadership… people who will fight for the future and not sell out for quick money.

We wouldn't even care when the current Government and their friends steal and feather their nests a bit – if they would only look after the future of Barbados as well as they mind their own bank accounts.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Island Life, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

Death Boat Arrives In Barbados

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Everyone seems to know someone who saw the small vessel brought into harbour on Sunday. White hull streaked with rust, baby blue deck and the sombre faces of those whose task was most unpleasant.

The Nation Newspaper has most of the details of the tragic end of eleven men who apparently were trying to journey from Africa to… where? The wind and the waves eventually took the boat to off the coast of Barbados, but at this point we haven't heard anything but rumours. Were they shot? Did they die of thirst?

Whatever happened, each had dreams and family – friends who still wait hopefully for word. No doubt, we will hear all the details eventually.

But for now, a prayer for the dead… and our thanks to those whose sense of duty compelled them to take on tasks that would make most of us turn away.

Thank you fisherfolk, HMBS Trident, HMBS Endeavour, Police, Coast Guard, Medical and Funeral personnel and to all.

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Filed under Barbados, Island Life