Tourist writes: “History, beauty… no longer relevant in Barbados”

Tourists come for history and beauty, riches you can’t build with concrete.

by Cindy Martell, American visitor to Barbados

I am so saddened to read of the senseless loss of Sam Lords Castle. My husband and I took our honeymoon in Barbados at Sam Lords Castle when it was a Marriott property 19 years ago. We treasured every moment and the tales of Sam Lord, evil as he may have been. Sam Lords dinner was a highlight of our trip and history of the castle.

I learned of its tragic fate while researching for a return to trip to Barbados for our 20th Anniversary. I’m quite certain we will find a new special place as the history and riches that took us to Barbados originally appear to no longer be relevant. Tourists come for history and beauty, riches you can’t build with concrete.

22 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, History

22 responses to “Tourist writes: “History, beauty… no longer relevant in Barbados”

  1. canajan

    Was in Barbados last week, and went in to see the charred remains of that stately old castle. What an absolute shame to see it and the grounds in there current state.

    Then went to The Crane, a magnificent property, but does not have the character or history of Sam Lords, a former heritage site.

  2. Mobert

    Maybe, if the property was insured, the insurance money could rebuild it?

    If not, maybe an overseas hotel chain could be persuaded to buy it over,
    renovate and operate.

    Shame for sure, a MAGNIFICENT property.

    Private beaches are not allowed in Barbados, but the ‘Castle’ has an inlet that is as close to a private beach possible, with cliffs on both sides and a HUGE beach inside (mentioned just in case an overseas investor reads this), so access is naturally restricted.

    It is a breathtaking property!

  3. Politically Tired

    Mobert
    The beach is beautiful but as a public beach the public would by law have to be allowed access to it!

  4. Snowblind Canuck

    My wife and I are retired and do some traveling every winter. We don’t like cruises although we did like the BC Alaska trip we took in 2005. We are not rich and like the all inclusive packages that can be booked a few days in advance when they try to fill up the airplane. We’ve been to most of the Caribbean islands but not Barbados so we gave Barbados a try last winter.

    I’m sorry to have to tell Barbados that the package was double the price of the Bahamas or Cuban all inclusive places and your island is filthy compared with Bahamas. Cuba is pristine probably because each plastic bag or cup is treasured. Nobody throws anything out until it is unsuitable for continued use so there is no garbage thrown on the street.

    Barbados is probably a nice place if you are super rich staying at the better resorts but your package tours can’t compare with other islands because of price but also because your island is so dirty and not so good beaches. I liked the Barbados people we met, so this criticism is about your product and the overpriced nature of your tourist product. The hotel was terrible too. The staff were good it was the hotel facilities and rooms that are horrible. Not enough staff to keep everything clean and repaired. (Time out at the Gap)

    Sorry but we won’t be back.

  5. Mobert

    Sorry to hear of your experience Canuck.

    The thing is, that is the unfortunate matter here, those who have money, suck everything out of them, dont like to hire staff or pay more, because it cuts their hefty bottom line.

    This is why we have such high real estate prices too, the real estate is in the hands of a comparatively small percentage of people, who can afford to sit on it.

    Hotels will only upgrade when they get so desperate for visitors that they then renovate.

    For the real estate, things will change when Governments eventually have to bring in legislation like additional land taxes for properties whether land or houses left idle and additional land taxes for other than the first residential home re those owning multiple homes.

    I too have on an occasion stayed in what used to be a top drawer hotel, about ten years ago.

    The room was run down although the staff were good.

    Sucking money and no re-investment.

    But, enjoy your holidays anyway, as an average bajan I sympathise.

  6. Adrian Loveridge

    Canuck,

    Its a very sadly reflection of your Barbados experience, but there are some mitigating circumstances (not excuses).
    The hotel you mention was part of a Government attempt to compete against the private sector. Up until today, taxpayers do not know exactly how much they have lossed in the process , but a former Prime Minister quoted a figure of BDS$400 million.
    Our small hotel is close to a former GEMS hotel which closed and re-opened after nearly BDS$40 million was spent on it, at rates 20-30% LOWER before the ‘investment’.
    The whole group practiced systematic predatory pricing (selling below cost) for years and properties like ours without the benefit of cheap or non-repayable loans have struggled to survive, let alone spend what is necessary to continuously upgrade.
    It is NOT an excuse but when Governments play at operating in areas they have absolutely no expertise, its one of the consquences.

    PLEASE give Barbados another chance and I can promise you that some of us offer outstanding value-for-money recognised by many of our guests and leading travel organisations.

  7. Green Monkey

    I’m sorry to have to tell Barbados that the package was double the price of the Bahamas or Cuban all inclusive places and your island is filthy compared with Bahamas. Cuba is pristine probably because each plastic bag or cup is treasured. Nobody throws anything out until it is unsuitable for continued use so there is no garbage thrown on the street.

    Some of the inhabitants of this island can be nasty fuh true. I was out walking the dog the other morning and passed by a gap where someone had thrown down a bag (or bags?) of garbage in some tall grass and bush right by the intersection with the main road. The bag had burst open (or perhaps dogs had got into it) and the contents were now strewn about and perfuming the morning air with the malodorous scent of old garbage – not a very appealing smell to my human senses. Doubtless any nearby rats living in the bush would find it quite enticing and be suitably grateful for some easy meals courtesy of the mysterious humans who whimsically will provide tasty treats and nourishment for them one day and try to poison them the next.

    As far as seeing a day when no garbage is thrown down in the streets of Barbados, the day that happens, you can look for there to be snowball fights in hell too.

  8. JustSayinBajan

    Adrian Loveridge,

    Please let people know that you are not a Barbadian when you make comments. Americans, Canadians, and Brits never apologize for all of the horrors that they commit against people in the world but yet always want people like Bajans to apologize for minor things.

    I am a Bajan, and I won’t apologize for a thing. If Canuck (identity could be false) and others who visit Barbados choose not to return for a second visit, that is their prerogative. I hope they have a wonderful time wherever they go.

    I am in the U.S. now and just got through reading about the horrors that are going on here. I don’t ask Americans to Apologize to me for the nonsense they engage in every day, so I don’t want to hear them or anyone else’s complaints about Barbados. Why other Bajans choose to respond with apologies to people like Canuck is beyond me. The colonial era is over.

    Having said all of that, I do think it is a tragedy that the Barbadian government has allowed Sam Lord’s Castle and other historic sites to deteriorate or be demolished.

  9. Nostradamus

    @JustSayinBajan

    Please explain exactly why adrian Adrian Loveridge should “let people know that you are not a Barbadian when you make comments.”

    I could have made, and endorse all he said and I am a 100% bajan.

    His comments were spot on and by the way he wasn’t an apologising.

  10. JustSayingBajan

    Nostradamus,

    I am a Bajan who has been living in the U.S. for decades. I have seen Americans commit MANY human rights violations and atrocities against people, mostly people of color, around the world and in the U.S. They NEVER apologize for anything they do. Yet they go to developing countries and expect people to apologize to them if they don’t have a pleasant experience.

    Adrian said to Snowbird Canuck, who I suspect is not really a Canadian, “PLEASE give Barbados another chance.” I want people to know that it isn’t a Bajan begging someone to come to Barbados. Afro Barbadians shouldn’t be begging anyone for anything in 2011. I want people to know Adrian Loveridge is a White American.

    There are approximately 200 countries in the world. People have many options. If they go to a place and don’t like it, they should go elsewhere next time. The people in the places they don’t like shouldn’t have to apologize to them and shouldn’t beg them to come back. I am aware that tourism is important to the Barbadian economy, but Afro Bajans shouldn’t try to please tourists to the point where they are subservient. Afro Barbadians have done enough serving, don’t you think?

  11. just like to know

    JustSayingBajan I agree with you 100%. Mr Loveridge don’t like the way business is done in Barbados, he should take his business elsewhere, but he won’t because he make a 110% good living here. Those of us who lived in Europe, America, Canada or anywhere else in the whole had to put up with all types of discrimination, but through it all we made it, and helped our loved ones back home, so please let us get together and make Barbados a better place. People who dump indiscriminately should be fined. As for the visitor he received what he paid for.

  12. repeat visitor from Canada

    hey this debate is just about quality and keeping tourists happy- and that’s important for Barbados. Could it be that Barbados has some issues, whether they are raised by a Bajan or non-Bajan, right?

  13. JustSayingBajan

    Repeat Visitor From Canada,

    Canada has issues also. Too often White people ignore issues in their own countries and travel to places like Barbados and lecture the inhabitants about their issues. People are fed up with that.

    Keeping tourists happy is important, but people of color should not bend over backwards so much to keep tourists happy that they become subservient. Barbadian citizens don’t exist just to serve tourists. Barbados does not exist just as a playground for tourists. It is home for the Barbadian people.

    I think Barbadians should go forth each day and live their lives to please themselves. If tourists show up and like what they see and choose to return, that is fine. If tourists show up and don’t like what they see and choose not to return, that is fine also. No apologies should be made to the people who choose not to return.

    My slave ancestors are smiling down on me, because I choose not to work in the tourism industry and spend my days kowtowing to people after they had to spend centuries kowtowing.

  14. MANJAK

    There are some semi literate dunderheads that populate the blogosphere at times. Two prime examples here has been JustsayinBajan and JustLike ToKnow. They have exhibited gross ignorance, petty small island
    nationalisn and the foul whiff of racism.
    We have had a visitor to our shores highlighting problems that bedevils Barbados’s major industry of employment. If not addressed and corrected these flaws are likely to have financially negative results on jobs and the ability of working men and women to feed their families.
    Adrian Loveridge a hotelier and someone with significant expertise in this arena contributed to me what was an important overview of the wastage that has gone on in the industry via the calamitous Gems Project.
    It highlights the classic reason why BLP/DLP political whores should be kept away from administrating/project managing business in Barbados. Two horrendous examples……………….Gems and the absolute folly of Kensignton Oval. Oh, the utter and criminal wastage.
    Rather than engage in an intelligent dialogue that will help us to do better in our tourist industry, accept the criticisms that are being offered and rectify our failures we get two jackasses contributing nasty zenophobic crackpot postings.
    So lucky you JustsayinBajan that you do not have to work in the Barbados tourist sector for a living and feed your family (or kotowing) as you would like to characterise it. To invoke your slave ancestors to buttress your asinine witterings is insulting to those Africans who were dragged across the Atlantic to die in the canefields of Barbadios. Maybe the cold of north America have addled and shrivelled your brain cells making it almost impossible to think intelligently and coherently.
    But if you wish to be taken seriously you may of course wish to first answer Nostradamus’s query that he posed to you.

  15. I wish the poster o this trash would stop using my name? Can BFP track the real IP of this user and ban them?

  16. BFP

    Hi Ian,

    They are from Toronto Canada. They are on a “Rogers” system and they keep turning it off and on to get a new IP, so when we ban the IP (and we do) they switch. This happens once in a while as you know, so we’re just deleting the posts when we come on and otherwise ignoring them. It’s only a troll and the more you get upset the more they like it. It’s pretty ho hum stuff for us as we now have almost a million spam comments in the bucket.

    174.117.230.73

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    OrgName: Rogers Cable Communications Inc.
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    Address: One Mount Pleasant
    City: Toronto
    StateProv: ON
    PostalCode: M4Y-2Y5
    Country: CA
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  17. JustSayingBajan

    Manjak,

    First of all, if you are going to call me xenophobic, at least spell the word correctly. If you are going to call me semi literate, make sure you don’t have grammatical errors in your comment. I won’t point out your errors.
    I clearly answered Nostradamus’ question. Either you didn’t read my comment carefully or you have a reading problem.

    You are funny Manjak. Do you know what White Americans usually tell people who try to help them “rectify their failures?” They tell them that if they don’t like the way things are done in America, they can take the next flight out. Some even offer to pay for the airfare, lol. I have seen bumper stickers on cars and pick up trucks that read, “This is how we do it in the South.” That means if you are from the northern part of the country, Southerners don’t want to hear how you do things there, even if it is a better way. They figure if you moved from the North to the South, you need to adapt to their way of doing things (There is still pent up hostility over the fact that the North beat the South during the American Civil War). Yet, some of those hypocrites who won’t accept criticism at home go to Barbados and lecture Bajans about how they do things. Silly Bajans then take them seriously and run, skip, and jump to “fix” the problems they say exist.

    The time has come for Bajans to say to tourists, “This is how we do things in Barbados, so adjust,” instead of constantly bowing, kowtowing, scraping, and stepping and fetching to make themselves pleasing to foreigners. There will be some tourists who will like the way Bajans do things and return and some who won’t like the way Bajans do things and not return. There will be some who like the way Bajans do things but still not return. No matter what people do in a country, there will always be tourists who return and some who won’t. All I am saying is don’t stress over the ones who don’t return. Bajans have way too many eggs in the tourism basket.

    P.S.
    Canadians, Brits, and others are often not receptive to foreigners telling them what to do in their countries either. It is not just an American thing.

  18. MANJAK

    Thank you Just saying Bajan for pointing out mistakes in my post of recent just shows we can all be prone to such can we not. The principle is though that we listen and learn and not to spew trite, ill thought out and sectarian views of the world about us.
    Adopting such makes us apt to becoming like the fundamentalist bible bashing theists that populate Barbados and who are immune to any reasoned argument contrary to their ahistorical mumbo jumbo views.. They do really believe that this world was created 2,000 years ago, that a stone was rolled away from a cave and a dead man emerged on Good Friday; that there is such a place as heaven and if we do not do right we will be consigned to damnation and hellfires in the hereafter.
    You strike me as one such who typifies this neanderthal knuckle dragging perspective and hence no use would be gained from having a dialogue with you or your ilk which would be of any enlightenment.

  19. JustSayingBajan

    Manjak,

    I want to put a challenge out to you. Come to the U.S. and tell an American you don’t like something about the U.S. Regardless of what it is you say you don’t like, I can assure you, you will be told to take your you know what back to where you came from. You may also be told that if things are so wonderful in Barbados, why are you in the U.S. And yes, some will offer to pay your airfare home. I know of what I speak.

    Tourists go to Barbados on a regular basis and say change this, change that, and change the other thing. After Bajans change things, other tourists go in and say that too many things were changed and now they don’t like it and will go elsewhere to find the natural beauty and history Barbados has lost. Bajans can’t win. Bajans have placed too much emphasis on tourism. They need to relax and chill out. As I have said before, they should go forth and live their lives to suit themselves. They should do what makes them happy. If tourists like what they see when Bajans are out living their lives to suit themselves, that is fine. If they don’t like what they see, that is fine also.

    Here is some advice I give to women, which can be applied to the tourism industry. There are some women who in efforts to attract men will change their hair color, eye color (contact lenses), have face lifts, boob jobs, gastric bypass surgery, starve themselves, etc. Some of them look hideous after many of the changes and are still rejected. What I tell women is that they shouldn’t do a thing to themselves. They should go forth into the world the way they are and men who are attracted to them will come to them. No matter what you look like, somebody will want you.

    Barbados is like a woman who is constantly being changed, because people want her to be attractive to foreigners. She has been changed so much now that she is starting to look hideous in some places and is being rejected by many despite the changes. The time has come for people to be comfortable with Barbados the way she is. Let the people who are not attracted to her go elsewhere and don’t give them a second thought.

    P.S. I don’t have any complaints about what Adrian Loveridge said, except for when he begged Snowbird Canuck to return to Barbados. Nobody should be begged to return to Barbados.

  20. jo

    I’m a bajan and I think my counrty is one of the best countries on the map, and who don’t like it can take themselves back were their came from. I think the problem with many of the islands in the Caribbean with the exception to Trinidad, it that we habe alot tourism to defined who we are as a people.

  21. Cindy Martell

    Its been fascinating to read some of the responses to my simple reflection of a magical visit I had to Barbados that can’t be repeated because of the loss of a key historical element. My disappointment in the loss of history and true treasures aren’t a criticism of the Barbados people. You can look any where in the world and see the physical elements of our worlds history being left to ruins or torn down for bigger and better. America is such a young country we don’t enjoy the riches of castles and palaces. We unfortunately have a culture raised to worship celebrity fame and athletes so forgive me if I felt such remorse over the loss of Sam Lords Castle.

  22. JustSayingBajan

    Cindy,

    I don’t know what to tell you except that it is mostly people from your part of the world who create the demand for the things that cause countries like Barbados to become concrete jungles. Much of the “development” that has been going on in Barbados in recent years has been for the benefit of foreigners. The golf courses, polo fields, hotels and resorts, town houses, condos, gated communities, fancy restaurants, etc., etc. were built mainly for wealthy White tourists and immigrants. Certainly, the new high end mall that is under construction is not for poor Barbadians. The new marina for yachts that is about to be built certainly will not be for poor Barbadians. Almost everything that is built in Barbados these days has the word luxury or exclusive in front of it. That is code for it isn’t for Barbadians.

    When people like me complain about the ridiculous extremes people are going to in the name of tourism and foreign exchange, we are told we are xenophobes, racists, and small minded small islanders. Lol, Manjak called me a semi literate dunderhead. You can’t fight the tourism and foreign exchange at all costs crowd.

    No matter what country you go to, if the government pushes tourism and encourages wealthy people to move to it, it will become a concrete jungle eventually. That is the way of the world. Those of us who want to see historical sites and natural beauty will just have to adjust.