Barbados Government Asking Developers and Hotels To Keep People Employed – But What Of The 85 Jobs Lost At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary?

– 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.

Click On The Photo To See The New Graeme Hall Video

Click On The Photo To See The Graeme Hall Video

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.

Further Reading

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!


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Ethics, Nature, Offshore Investments, Politics, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

22 responses to “Barbados Government Asking Developers and Hotels To Keep People Employed – But What Of The 85 Jobs Lost At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary?

  1. littleboy

    Graeme Hall should never have been allowed to close just before the Tourist season. Some accommodation/financial package should have been worked out to assist them.

    I bet that if one of the hotels was in that position, that they would have been helped

    Psssssttt…just heard that two big boys in the hotel business get leggo….bet yuh “bread” that something will be “tailored” to suit them…according to Elombe…uh gone!!!

  2. Red Lake Lassie

    littleboy I don’t think that the sanctuary wanted any money. They wanted their wetlands protected by the government so that no one could build on the wetlands surrounding the sanctuary. When two governments said no to protecting the mangrove forest, the owner gave up.

  3. reality check

    someone needs to check the video link

    it wasn’t working and I noticed two videos on the Graeme Hall site?

  4. Fool me once

    Our country says to philanthropists and developers bring your money here but when it arrive we gone to abuse you so they go to other places where they get respect.

    On Graeme Hall what message we give out to tourists? We don’t care about environment and interesting places for you to visit but come anyway.

    Foolish be us.

  5. BFP

    Thanks Reality Check, link fixed.

  6. Fred Corbin

    Dear BFP.

    I would like to say here how disappointed I am in the Government of Barbados for allowing the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to close. As the son of the second owner of the 25 acre property, my father Ben Corbin was always enthusiastic about the potential the property had for eco tourism and the massive opportunity that Barbados had to further exploit this form of tourism by creating suitable cash flow programs to support the opening of the property to eco-tourism. I am hoping against hope that some thick headed investor will not be allowed to purchase the property for ever more invasive and polluting development, but rather that this last pristine area of old Barbados’s original coastal wetlands be preserved for the enjoyment of all.


    Fred Corbin
    CSW Engineering 2000
    Tel: 246 244 9240

  7. cq8

    Is it all over for Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary? We heard there were talks but then we heard nothing. When do they start to build the condos? That will be next no doubt.

  8. Hants

    Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary will be saved.

    Government will pay the $24 million and operate it as a Tourist attraction.

  9. Tell me Why

    Government will pay the $24 million and operate it as a Tourist attraction.
    Who made that statement, to whom: and what occasion. We have to see it to believe it.

  10. Hants

    @ Tell me Why

    I made the statement.

    It is up to you to believe it…or not. Free press!!!

  11. Margaret Knight

    Minister of the Environment, Dr. Dennis Lowe, stated on CBC-TV Evening News tonight that Graeme Hall Sanctuary WILL BE SAVED! According to him, it will be re-opened soon. He stated that the P.M. was very concerned over the issue of Graeme Hall (or words to that effect). So there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

  12. queenam

    @Fred Corbin.

    Stop looking to Gov’t to put their hands into failing businesses just because it seems to be some tourist attraction or whatever. Gov’t is not God, they cannot utilize taxpayers monies just because a minority of the populaces think it is a worthwhile investment. It might but difficult for those persons who have lost their jobs but they can get themselves re-train in some other area and look elsewhere.

  13. cq8

    queenam, government was quite capable of spending 200 million dollars on Kensington when the people don’t own it! Government was quite capable of awarding millions to the millionaires who race horses.

    In this case of Graeme Hall government does not want to save the Nature Sanctuary because certain individuals in government want to personally profit from the valuable lands at Graeme Hall.

    Graeme Hall nature sanctuary is not a “failing business”. It was shut because the owner got tired of Bajans not caring whether there was condos on the place or not. Condos we want and condos we will get on Graeme Hall.

  14. Tell me Why

    Minister of the Environment, Dr. Dennis Lowe, stated on CBC-TV Evening News tonight that Graeme Hall Sanctuary WILL BE SAVED!
    Replace the ‘will’ with the word he used ‘could’. He was very careful in shifting the emphasis from his ministry to the ‘government in general’ and the Prime Minister in particular. We await what ever decision by the PM, maybe Wednesday’s press conference might bear fruits.

  15. Optimist Prime

    Prime Minister Thompson was so disappointing last night that not even DLP bloggers are bothering to comments on his weak and disappointing performance.

    Here are the issues

    The DLP criticized the former government for borrowing for a rainy day. Now, Thompson is doing the same thing.

    Thompson and the DLP accused the BLP of going to Parliament for too many supplementaries, yet in one year, the DLP has gone for more in supplementaries – than the BLP did for the 14 years it was in office.

    Thompson said the national debt was too high, yet he is arranging to borrow an additional $400 million. This, after changing the law so that he can borrow one billion; five hundred million.

    The DLP clamped down on immigration with an iron fist policy but is too silly to realise that its new immigration policy will have serious implications for the agricultuaral sector, and by extension – national food security.

    Mr. Thompson’s solution to the high cost of living is: his “market day concept,” where anyone can sell without a “liscense.” Isn’t this a crop-theft promotion strategy.

    Is it not true that a policy must have certainty on incidence? Clearly then – the DLP does not know what it is doing!

    Here is the joke. Mr. Thompson said that his high point for the past year was his social policy across sectors. He mean free-bus-rides which will see him going back to Parliament yet another supplementary.

    His low point: People who are bright have no confidence in him.

    According to PM Thompson – the reason why CARICOM has been derailed: The people of the region should not have elected five new Prime Ministers.

    The reason why he does not have a clue on CARICOM matters: Arthur did not tell him what he was working on.


    Where are the fruits that would otherwise be rotting in Dominica?

    Where are the 2000 houses that were supposed to be built in 2008?

    What is the government’s plan to respond to the global crisis and what does it expect the citizens to do?

    Listen Prime Mminister Thompson! Uunless you have something to say – do not hold anymore press conferences. You merely remind Barbadians how empty you are and what a big mistake they made.


    Could you imagine that not a journalist asked the Prime Minister about his Manifesto or the National Strategic Plan?

    It still does not occur to the PM that since he failed to implement those 90 and 100 day promises, and reduce the cost of living – then his first year has been a failure.

    Worst is yet to come. Mr. Thompson is right. Barbadians should pray.


  16. Jerome Hinds

    Optimist Prime

    Forty years on the opposition benches for yuh BLP tail !!!

    After leaving all the mess with UDC missing houses , Bulkeley Meadows , ABC Highway scam , B’dos National Oil Terminal debt and much more….do you really believe that a FOCUSSED and COMMITTED DLP gov’t would continue the WRECKLESSNESS ?

    We the DEMS had to stop the ROT…!

    From the feedback I heard 99.9 % of the Barbadian public is tremendously pleased with the DLP gov’t after 1 year in office……..even David Commissiong has congratulated us !!!

    Tek dat !

  17. Sargeant

    @Optimist Prime

    • The reason why he does not have a clue on CARICOM matters: Arthur did not tell him what he was working on.

    In effect you are saying that the former Prime Minister was working on matters affecting the country and people of Barbados while he held the reins of power and did not pass that information on to the democratically elected Gov’t? What did he do with the information? Was it in his head or did he shred all the documents? Any and all documents of this nature are the property of the Gov’t and people of Barbados and not Arthur’s personal property.

    On second thoughts you don’t have to answer the last question it will only confirm what we have all know.

  18. Hants

    @ Optimist Prime who wrote,
    “Prime Minister Thompson was so disappointing last night that not even DLP bloggers are bothering to comments on his weak and disappointing performance.”

    You can have the blog “almost” all to yourself for the next 4 years.

    This DLP supporter/blogger is pleased with the performance of the DLP government so far except that I would have been even more pleased if ITAL was in place.

    Carry on OP. talk yuh talk. Keep writing. I have a meeting with JW. ESAF is not invited.

  19. Optimist Prime

    After one year in office, the DLP is yet to settle down. The Prime Minister reshuffled his Cabinet a mere ten months after being elected. The result: all of what was said last year, is being said this year – more promises to act. The DLP is stuct in a time zone.

    But while the DLP fiddles, over 3,000 Barbadians have so far lost their jobs and the cost of living continues to rise.

    Investor confidence is at rock-bottom – to the extent that the DLP is now begging investors to continue project, which they have placed on hold.

    The DLP cannot get a fishing agreement with T&T even though saying that it was easy as drinking a bowl of fish soup in St. John.

    The DLP crashed Barbados’ Offshore Oil Exploration Programme causing this country to loose millions.

    Prime Minister Thompson said his major challenge is keeping unemployment down and analyzing statistics. Did I not tell you that the DLP is “intellectually weak?”

    Mr. Thompson also said during his press conference that the first year has been rewarding. For whom? Pandor, “low,” Baloney and Power?

    All that mess, yet there are those who are saying that government did a good job. How would they know?

    This highlights the point made by Minister Sinckler that people who do not know what happens in Parliament or how government works – changed the government. We live in a democracy son.

    Imagine! A whole twelve months have passed without the DLP making good on the very things it promised as part of its agenda for “change,” and on which its credibility was hinged, yet there are those who said it did a good job.

    The answer is simple. The police, BDF and Prison Service have been forced to lower the bar, yet find it difficult to get credible people to employ.

    My question therefore is, who are these people who think the DLP has done a good job?

    Certainly not any of those 3,000 who are now on the bread-line! Could it be those who are feeding at the trough as well as those who have tickets to the buffet?

    Here is something for you Sargeant:

    Have you heard about the CARICOM Secretariat? Look, Thompson has access to $2.7 billion left in the Treasury, an umemployment rate of 6.1 per cent, high investor confidence – and what?

    The Barbados economy is being dangerously mismanaged. Had not for the perfect wicket the DLP inherited, Barbados would today be in the hip-pocket of the IMF.


    As regards Jerome Hinds, did Commissiong not say that the DLP is intellectually weak? The DLP being “focussed an committed,” as you alleged – is the same as if it was not focussed and uncommitted.

    Think about the slave trade.

    It robbed Africa of the young, bright and strong and left the weak and the old. That is the predicament in which the DLP now finds itself.

    One final point.

    Why subject Former Prime Minister: The Rt. Hon. Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford to the indignity of having to report to a Senator Minister of Foreign Affairs, who did not even face the polls.

    The real reason! The DLP is intellectually weak and is very short on good talent.


  20. Sargeant

    @Optimist Prime

    Did I not tell you that the DLP is “intellectually weak?”

    One of the things that the B’dos electorate held against the BLP was the arrogance that they displayed when they occupied the corridors of power and it appears that their banishment to the opposition benches has not cured them of that disposition. What with the above statement and the recent pronouncement by OSA of Parliament being comprised of “po rakey” representatives.

    How does OSA’s statement reflect on Parliament when his party was in the majority? Talk about “po rakey’, I won’t call names but they know who they are.

    What Offshore Oil Exploration program? If there was ever a deal wouldn’t Liz and the BLP seal the deal to trumpet the accomplishment when the election was called?

    As to the fishing agreement, the reason that B’dos and T&T can’t agree to a Fishing agreement is the same reason that Caribbean politicians can’t come to an agreement on any thing. I mean Dr. Williams said one from ten leaves nothing and that mentality still exists today. The BLP supported the establishment of a Caribbean Court of Justice with primary location in Port of Spain, Trinidad, guess which Gov’t hasn’t signed on.

    The BLP operatives like to throw around more numbers than drunken actuaries at a convention so where is this 2.7 billion? Is it in US securities? US money markets? If it is it sure ain’t worth 2.7 billion today at least not in purchasing power since the US dollar has gone south against the other major currencies in the world.

    OP I think you should stop the navel gazing and the moaning in Roebuck Street and see what is happening to other countries due to the economic meltdown in the world today. I won’t compare the B’dos economy to those of other Caribbean islands but if you think that a country whose main economic product is tourism will somehow be immune from the recession in North America there is a building in Black Rock which will happily accept you as a resident.

    BTW Sandiford is not the PM, he is the ex PM. If he takes a job which requires that he report to a Minister shouldn’t he report to the Minister? We know OSA would never do that he never reported to any one, the only one he reported to was God……..which meant he reported to himself.

  21. Optimist Prime

    @ Sargeant

    I won’t compare the B’dos economy to those of other Caribbean islands but if you think that a country whose main economic product is tourism will somehow be immune from the recession in North America there is a building in Black


    Foreign direct investment! Does that mean anything to you? It should, because this issue is one of credibility for the DLP.

    Thompson called it selling land to pay bills, now Sealy is begging investor to have confidence in the DLP.

    You should read George Orwell’s: “Animal Farm, then the page 11 article in the Barbados Business Authority of January 12, 2009.

    Don’t you think it ironic that the party, which talks most about ‘education,” is the most “intellectually weak?”

    If you really want to know how Barbadians feel about the first year, why not ask the middle class who are now paying additional taxes.

    How about those who are saddled with high land tax bills?

    Why not ask shopkeepers who now have to look for $1,000 or Nurses; Teachers and the Police – who did not get those duty free cars and increase pay?

    How about public service vehicle owners and operators?

    Take note that I will now shift further comment on this subject to the appropriate section of this blog.

  22. Wuh?

    Optimist Prime, you need to stay at Power In The Blood and help them get those Demons out of you!

    You are a sad, unfaithful, dishonest man.