Working towards a revitalized BridgetownAn aerial view of Bridgetown
By Stacia Browne | Wed, April 25, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Bridgetown NOW STANDS poised under The Revitalization Of Bridgetown Initiative (TRBI) to bring a blend of commerce, culture and entertainment to the island’s capital.
The TRBI was conceptualized by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry in 2008. But what exactly does TRBI seek to do? Primarily to increase commerce and opportunities of various kinds to one of the most important areas in Barbados: our historic capital Bridgetown.
TRBI was born from a real need to bring vibrant life and modernization to the capital of Barbados, which was one of the most important and developed commercial hubs in the Western Hemisphere in centuries past.
Historically, Bridgetown has played an extremely important part in this island’s development as a trading point, a commercial hub and the heart of Barbados’ parliamentary system.
But let’s turn to the present day.
The better, the more relevant, more modern and more active Bridgetown is, the better Barbados will be regarded by local businesses, entrepreneurs, prospective investors, international organizations and visitors. A capital that is cared for and invested in will offer opportunities that will redound to the benefit of businesses and the general population alike.
The more awareness of TRBI grows, the more the mandate is realized, but what is essential is partnering – that will be the key to turning opportunities into reality. However, this initiative cannot be realized by the chamber alone in championing the cause. Public and private partnerships will be extremely important going forward and whether big or small, new or well established, business houses in Barbados should be actively involved in TRBI as it pushes the development of our capital city Bridgetown.
Known affectionately to most Barbadians simply as Town, the space guards and is a platform for some of the most authentically Bajan ideals.
It was revealed in the chamber’s 2010 business survey 2000 businesses operate in Bridgetown, resulting in 9 000 jobs. It is therefore a place where much of Barbados’ employment is generated, at all levels of business, from very small stores and family businesses to large corporations.
Under TRBI, businesses in and outside Bridgetown also have an opportunity to partner under the Bridgetown Alive brand. Bridgetown Alive held its first event in 2010 and these events have been growing steadily since that time. Perhaps
the most popular has been Duty Free Day held in December last year (2011), while the most recent was held in March this year celebrating heritage. These events bring a potpourri of activities to the City centre featuring culture and entertainment.
Thus far large, medium-sized and small business have partnered and contributed to the effort, but there will be even more room grow.
TRBI is therefore not merely intended for those companies, organizations or businesses that are housed in and around Bridgetown but also for every business, small, medium or large, operating in Barbados. If our capital looks good and works effectively it is to the advantage of all companies on this island. With a capital that holds rich memories, heritage and potential, TRBI is setting a platform for Bridgetown to showcase the best that Barbados offers in terms of culture, entertainment and business. But not only for entertainment and culture; TRBI will bring projects such as beautification of The City, building new and modern infrastructure such as the LIME WI-FI City initiative in 2011, much needed signage and lighting throughout the city space.
In 2008, the chamber hosted a stakeholder’s retreat that brought to bear the significance of Bridgetown as a space, commercially, culturally and economically. Since that time the chamber has been championing the need for Bridgetown to become the commercial hub and vibrant City that it once was.
One of the most important benefits under TRBI is the 150 per cent tax credit facility available with TRBI for businesses contributing to the project. This is a real and significant benefit for companies that come on board. The initiative is covered under the Income Tax Article 12E and can be accessed by both small and large companies.
TRBI is now the quintessential platform for small and larger businesses to get involved in Barbados’ development.
With effective returns to businesses bringing increased reach to varying markets and greater value for partners, TRBI is one of the few platforms in Barbados that can significantly boost the development of Bridgetown while simultaneously creating significant spin-off benefits for the island in general.
• Stacia Browne is Project Coordinator of The Revitalization Of Bridgetown Initiative.
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