Barbados Moves Into 20th Century – Will Now Have Road Signs!

Updated December 8, 2011

Welcome New York Times readers!

For some wonderful reason, New York Times journalist Stephen Heyman linked to this post in his delicious new Dispatch | Eating in Barbados.

Cuz’s Fish Shack gets mention right up there with Cin Cin by the Sea too. Yummy!

Our original post first published December 12, 2006…


Happy And Proud People Stand In Front Of New Road Sign

These days as a Bajan citizen, it is so difficult to not be negative about how things are going in our country – and in this respect, we at the Barbados Free Press are no different than most other people. The only difference is that we have a soap box to stand on.

We are torn between being grateful for whatever life gives us – family, friends – the little moments that make life enjoyable – and the realization that we always seem to have to settle for second or third best – as individuals and as a country.

Understanding this, perhaps our readers will forgive us for pointing out the total absurdity of Minister of Public Works Gline Cline standing in front of a green-painted roadsign like it is some triumph of civilization and good government. The photograph appears in the Barbados Advocate (link here) and in the Nation News (link here).

The real story behind the road signs is that after 12 years of this government, after hundreds of millions of tax dollars frittered away on cricket, the GEMS hotel scandals, office buildings and highways over-budget by 500% and all kinds of mismanagement – our new highway signs were purchased by private concerns in the tourist industry who realized that a tourist-based economy just might be assisted if the tourists had signs directing them to places of interest.

Government Priorities Seem All Askew

When Government Minister Gline Clarke stood in front of this new roadsign, he should have apologized to Bajans and the Tourism Industry that his government took 12 years and a push by citizens to even start a programme of proper signage.

The issue of signage is so fundamental to providing a positive visitor experience and publicizing tourist attractions that the lack of signage for so many years must simply be due to neglect or lack of competence.

But this seems to be the way on Barbados: Great showpiece expeditures by government on huge overbudget projects – coupled with a total lack of attention to the basics: We lack clean water for everyone, sewerage disposal, a clean and capable hospital, signs to tell tourists and citizens how to get to tourist attractions, reliable garbage pickups – and on and on and on.


You Mean, Government Wasn’t Already Coordinating Roadwork?

In the same Barbados Advocate article, we also see a big announcement that utility companies will now have to notify government of any work that requires them to dig up a road or othewise interfere with traffic. This is so non-emergency roadwork can be coordinated and timed to provide as little disruption as possible.

Big announcement by Minister Clarke.

All I could think of when I read the Barbados Advocate article was, “You mean, they weren’t doing that already? That’s pretty basic. Just standard management practice.”

Yup – basic, standard management practice: but not in Barbados.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

17 responses to “Barbados Moves Into 20th Century – Will Now Have Road Signs!

  1. Bajanboy

    Why is the private sector paying for things that fall squarely in the mandate of government. Do the branded road signs conflict with Town and Country restriction on roadside billboards? Imagine the day when even road markings (lines) are sponsored by Cockspur or Banks.

  2. ivan taylor

    road signs, bus stops that lead nowhere, public transport that does not support the public, hospital services that are far from healthy, what next.

  3. West Side Davie

    Up north where there are few signs anyway, the “boys” tear down the signs so they can “assist” tourists with directions at intersections (for a fee of course – ed). Especially at T intersections where tourist cars have to stop.

    You see “da boys” sitting there waiting for cars and they take their turn with everyone paying a “charge” to the boss man in charge of the intersection.

    It is gang activity an nothing has been done about it for years. Police know about it but do nothing.

  4. Tudor

    Gline Clarke complained about utility companies digging up the roads soon after the Govt has fixed them and then not fixing them back. When he calls their names they are ALL GOVT, NPC, BWA.
    Is something wrong here or is it me?

  5. Jason

    Road sign? Road sign?

    What is that? Never seen one before on the east. Mostly we just know where to go.

    Gonna take away all the fun of watching the tourists drive their rental cars in circles. 🙂

  6. Jet

    New Hotel Association signs leave much to be desired. The Hotel Association sponsor name bigger than place names. You have to get real close to read sign. Why not copy the big American road signs. We are going backwards on this one. Heard Alvin Jemmot on tv. He has a very extremely strange speaking style.

  7. Bimbro

    This is one of the most intelligent, articles I’ve seen on Bim, but ‘how dare you sound a negative note, Sir!’ You’re certain to get some of the ignoramuses who inhabit these boards accusing you of ‘being too negative’, as they do me! Take no notice of them, Sir! As you said, Bim is far too comfortable with second best! The complaceny is amazing! You aspire for higher standards, Sir, and take no notice of the fools!

    By the way, a year or so, ago I tried to place an online order for a Barbadian street atlas in preperation for a visit which I planned to make. Do you think I could get a proper one? Nothing doing! Apparently, Bim is n’t big enough to warrant a proper streets directory or A-Z as we call it in the UK.. I had to laugh! Keep striving for better, Sir. I’ve given-up on the fools!!!!

  8. Stephen Small-Warner

    You’re probably joking, but its’ no joke not finding way/locations in B’dos and I’m a Bajan who as a teenager and adult, has driven on anything passible in every parish of this island when I lived here.
    I recently aborted a trip to show my son, still on the island, the Scotland district from St. Lucy through the parishes going East to South. I turned in to too many dead ends of prior passible roads following “To City” bus signs. Bring on the direction signs!

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  10. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    BFP you are spot on with this particular negative. This is a classic case of the small island mentality being depicted here. Remember in Barbados we think within the box i.e. 166 square miles. Insulting that he is standing in front a sign like it is piece of establish genius when they need to do alot more on our roads. Like:

    Run reflected wood stands along non lighted roads
    But road numbers depicting highway 1,2,3,4
    Wait my girlfriend here be right back with this

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  13. Wily Coyote

    Road Signs, Road Names, Road Numbers Geeeeezzzzzz, what new idea will Barbados come up with next. Barbados Ambassador to the UN should propose this been done in ALL WORLD Countries, sorry I meant all THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.

  14. Newbie

    Barbados is twenty years behind the rest of the world. It is so because the Elites want it so. WOW we got road signs now, where is the transparency legislation. They (Government) spend the bulk of public money without regard to the public’s opinion and then bring out something that has been on the drawing board for 20 years and we think that they actually care. Anyone connected to tourism that did not see the need for better road signage and road maps long before did not have any vision at all, but would now expect KUDOS for having taken so long to see the big picture. They are all full of B.S.

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  17. watcher

    Congratulations Barbados on getting your first road sign and the
    micro-wave oven…enjoy!!!!