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GUEST COLUMN: Pickering means progress

Frank da Silva

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THE HONOURABLE David Thompson, last Saturday, announced an exciting project, the investment of the Pickering Town Centre Project in St Lucy which will contribute $1.7billion to Barbados. I believe this reflects a paradigm improvement on many of the projects that have gone before that would have contributed to attracting foreign exchange to Barbados. The highlights of the Prime Minister’s address are worth repeating. That 600 jobs will be created as construction moves into its peak period. That 300 or more opportunities in support of residential and business aspects will develop. That government, with great confidence, is looking forward to substantial increases in payroll taxes, property taxes, VAT, income tax and transport services.The impact will go far beyond Pickering and one cannot help being impressed by the major players behind this project. Our government’s irrevocable commitment to ensure that 40 per cent of projects, mainly from government, would go to small and medium sized businesses should be expanded to include innovative private sector investments like the Pickering Town Centre Project. I look forward to this group of entrepreneurs and investors leading by example in this regard.As everyone knows, the parish of St Lucy has suffered serious neglect for many years but the people in that constituency chose wisely when they selected the Honourable Denis Kellman, CARICOM’S Ambassador extraordinaire to be their representative and he has laboured relentlessly over several years. I hope that his proven talents will be fully utilised and he can be given an additional role to ensure that all major projects in St Lucy of this level are implemented fully without unnecessary delays that too often plague many good projects and affect the overall performance of the governments of both our main political parties. Finally, I believe it is fitting and proper that we all salute the Prime Minister for his continued devotion and commitment to Barbados in spite of his current health challenges, demonstrating to an overwhelming degree his love for country and setting an example of leading from the front. Over the last few weeks, from the time the Prime Minister shared his health challenges, there has been a remarkable outpouring of concern and care and this is reflected in the continued prayers.   What is exceptionally gratifying is the growing number of members of Team Barbados, agreeing that we can all make commitments to reach the highest level of excellence in whatever we are involved in. Whenever the captain is not at his best form, then all players, Cabinet, statutory boards, constituency councils and all Barbadians, must seek to contribute at the highest level of excellence they are capable of as a way of showing gratitude, respect and concern. Recognising fully the O’Neal/Barrow family connection with St Lucy I wonder if I might suggest to all concerned with this exciting new project that they explore taking responsibility for the house at the Garden in St Lucy in which Errol Barrow was born and restore this.   So, Ambassador Kellman, the O’neal/Barrow family, the investors and all others connected with this project, good luck and over to you.
• Frank da Silva is a member of the Democratic Labour party and a former high commissioner.