“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.
That’s the perception even though it is not always true, and wasn’t true where Mr. Ames was taking people’s money and then using it for purposes totally unrelated to their purchase and expectations.
Harlequin’s house of cards is almost all over. There can’t be much time left because there can’t be many new investors – the word has spread thanks to the internet.
Take the “H” hotel. The above photos were taken a few days ago. Once again we see a few guys going through the motions. This is not a vibrant construction site. It is a pretend construction site that doesn’t look a whole lot different from when we last took a few flicks.
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.
Something for our ‘leaders’ to think about the next time that some offshore investor property developer arrives bearing gifts – because no doubt Mr. Ames spread some gifts around freely.