UPDATED: September 28, 2010
A little birdy tells BFP that there are problems with the new elevators at Harrison’s Cave and that management is debating on a fix – which seems to indicate more of a problem than just a few bad parts. Our anonymous source didn’t say the nature of the problem so we don’t know if it’s something to do with the windows or mechanism. There was a story going round a while ago about a window problem but we haven’t heard any more on that and the elevators looked fine to us when we visited a while ago.
Can anyone out there provide more information?
Meanwhile, here’s our original story first published on February 20, 2010…
How long will it take to pay for our “Investment”?
EIGHTY-FIVE million dollars!!! Is this figure correct?
Just what does $85,000,000 dollars have to do with reality?
Well, well, well. If one just takes into account the entrance fee, 60 dollars, and forgets such things as salary for the administrators, cave guides, guards, gardeners, maintenance crews and any other running costs, Barbadians will still be paying back for a very long time.
$85 million divided by $60 entry fee = 1,416,666.6 people have to pass through the Cave gates. That means, 56,666.66 people per year for the next 25 years.
Or, on average, 156 people, every single day, weekends, holidays included, arriving at the caves for the next 25 years.
We have never been told what the original work on the caves cost or seen anything on the cost breakdowns of these new multimillions.
What about all those who still hardly have running water? Were The Caves, really, the very best way to spend such money?
I hope, somebody will tell me I am an absolute fool, and explain why I am so. For it seems to me, Barbadians are in for a very rough ride. I sincerely hope I am wrong.
Colin L. Beadon
Barbados Free Press editor’s comments…
I have to agree with Colin on this one. I know that the caves are Barbados’ #1 tourist attraction (or so the government says), but…
How much increase in traffic will we see for our $85 million?
Did anyone do up a cost-benefit analysis for the government? Can we, the citizens, see it?
Does anyone know how many visitors a year paid the entry fee to Harrison’s Cave prior to the renovations? Now that the entry fee is raised to $60, will that have a negative impact on traffic? In our earlier article 50% increase in entrance fee to Harrison’s Cave but no re-opening date yet! citizen-journalist Adrian Loveridge said…
“Only a Government entity could consider hiking rates by 50% in the worst global economic recession in more than eighty years…
Yes! there has been a significant investment in the Caves infrastructure, but will glass fronted elevators attract more visitors?
Correct me if I am wrong, but average visitation of the caves has rarely exceeded 150,000 persons per year.
With child, tour operator, local and other discounted rates even if the net admission price of BDS$50 per person is achieved, that is only an annual turnover of $7.5 million before repayment of interest and capital on the loan and operational costs. What contribution are the new shopping and restaurant facilities likely to make?”
The caves received an earlier renovation too just a few years ago. Does anyone remember how much that renovation cost? Does anyone know how many visitors the cave had prior to the earlier renovation?
Don’t forget folks – that’s all borrowed money. How much in interest payments will it take a year to support that debt, let alone pay off the principal?
Secondary consideration: Who made the money?
$85 million is a boatload of money. As a citizen, I’d like to know…
– Who were all the contractors on the renovation. Every one, big to bit player – I want to know the company information for each one.
– Were tenders put out for all materials and services?
– Are any of the cave contractors or subcontractors or “consultants” owned by any elected or appointed government officials or their family members?
– Were any payments made by any contractor or subcontractor for any reason to any elected or appointed government officials or their family members? (They can get really slippery ya know! The subcontractor gets the deal but then hires the son of a public official to do “consulting” for the firm on some unrelated matter like “office automation” or “marketing advice” or other make-believe work. Thus, the money flows from the government to the subcontractor to the family of the government official who influenced the decision to use the contractor etc. Happens all the time ’bout hey.)
With no Integrity Legislation, no Freedom of Information act and no prohibitions about conflicts of interest, it’s pretty well a free-for-all here in Barbados.
After two years of DLP Thompson government, how are you enjoying your promised Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation folks?