“Our government gave Ames and Harlequin the benefit of our country’s reputation – and when the Harlequin house of cards falls, it will be the reputation of Barbados that is harmed the most.”
There are so many Caribbean islands with the same Carib sand, sun and water. So many Caribbean islands with friendly people and special cultures not found on other Caribbean islands. Each island nation has its own cultural flavour, its own beauty and its own special offerings to attract tourists and offshore investments.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep on saying it: there are other Caribbean islands more beautiful, more unspoiled, more private and certainly cheaper to visit than Barbados. Why then, do people come to Barbados and keep returning? What is it that we have that brings the world’s elites here instead of some other Caribbean islands?
Security and safety is a big issue. Although Barbados has fallen down on the job lately, we’re still a whole lot safer than say, Jamaica, the Bahamas or even Bermuda. We’ve lost some ground, true, but we’re still way ahead of so many other islands in terms of tourist safety.
But the big asset we have that differentiates us and attracts the tourists and investors is the perception that Barbados is a stable society where good laws protect investors, tourists, retirees, and citizens. This is so important, and has been front and centre in Bim’s long term success. Without this perception that Barbados is a land of laws, we are no better and probably worse than some of the competition.
And then came Harlequin.
When Barbados allowed Mr. Ames and his bunch of brigands to sell from plans without putting deposits into a trust account: we allowed Mr. Ames to ride upon our good reputation. We allowed Mr. Ames to collect money based upon the public knowledge that Barbados is a safe society, where people are protected by good laws. Continue reading