– Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy Pleads With Developers To Continue
– Tourism Employers Could Reduce Work Hours, Not Staff
As we at BFP have been saying for some time, this year is going to be a tough one – very tough. We’ve also said that each of us should look after our own family members and friends because government may be unable to do so. Plan for the worst, hope for the best is always wise.
Minister Sealy has been asking the tourism industry and project developers to continue with their plans, especially considering that the developers have already received concessions and assistance from Barbados. I’m not a politician but it seems to me that this is where political skill comes into play. Politics is often referred to as “The art of the possible”, so let’s see if Minister Sealy can make things happen.
“If Everybody Eats Less, No One Starves”
Another place where Bajans can help each other is by accepting cutbacks in hours at work so that everyone remains employed to some degree. The Nation newspaper had an editorial mentioning this possibility a few days ago. That option may upset some folks, but the alternative might be even more upsetting.
What About Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary?
The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary employed some 85 people, most of whom found themselves unemployed when the operation shut down on December 15, 2008. What is sad about this situation is that the sanctuary was not shut for economic reasons – the wealthy sanctuary owner is an internationally respected philanthropist who spent US$35 million dollars to create the island’s premier eco-tourism attraction and funded operations to give something back to Barbados and the world. Plus the popularity of the attraction with tourists and Bajans meant that the operation had been almost self-supporting. The sanctuary was not closed for economic reasons…
Unfortunately, developers and their politician friends in both the DLP and BLP want to develop the primarily government-owned lands around the sanctuary and they have fought tooth and nail to prevent the establishment of the proposed Graeme Hall National Park that would have protected the sanctuary and provided some desperately needed public green space on the concrete-jungle south coast. The owner of the sanctuary, a wealthy philanthropist named Peter Allard, understandably gave up on Barbados when he found that the new DLP government intends to develop and profit from the Graeme Hall wetlands area just as the last bunch did.
After the sanctuary closed we heard a few rumours and even a press release that the government was talking with the sanctuary owner, but like most of the government “initiatives” around this place that turned out to be just so many words. Lots of words and no action. Meanwhile, those 85 jobs are gone and Minister Sealy is running around trying to convince other companies not to fire a dozen here and a dozen there.
If any of our readers have heard anything different, please let us know, but we believe that those 85 jobs and one of our premier tourist attractions are gone, gone, gone.
BFP – Dec 2, 2008: Barbados: Ten Thousand Say Goodbye To Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary
Nation News – Jan 9, 2009: Tourism Indeed Our Business
BFP – Nov 26, 2008: December 1st Last Chance To See Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary For Free
BFP – Nov 25, 2008: Save The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Facebook Group Goes International!
Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website here
Nation News – Jan 7, 2009: Sealy: Let’s Get Going!