Expand Cave’s reach, says Kellman
Any projects related to Harrison’s Cave should no longer be concentrated around the entrance to the cave only, says Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development Denis Kellman.
He said if the country really wanted to exploit the value of the St Thomas tourist attraction, expansion and construction would have to stretch from the cave to as far as the Welchman Hall Post Office, so that instead of the cave itself being the sole commercial aspect of the area, duty free shops and other businesses would be located along that stretch.
Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday during debate on a resolution for $851 245 to cover the first of three quarterly payments of a short-term loan for Harrison’s Cave, Kellman added that even though he had given such advice to the former administration, it had spent over $84 million “just at the mouth of the cave again, and the only thing of note is an elevator”.
Suggesting that the same type of development normally done at the air and sea ports should also be done at Harrison’s Cave, Kellman said that it should be one of the biggest commercial projects in Barbados.
“We should not be here today discussing whether people should be moved from around Harrison’s Cave. It should have been concluded ever since,” he told the chamber, noting that this period of economic crisis was not the best time to be correcting such issues.
He added that the failure of the cave’s restaurant was another example of bad planning since it had been part of a structure that was badly laid out.
“You have to plan the restaurant based on the number of people in the area who will use the restaurant and then treat the tourists coming off the cruise ships as gravy.”
Speaking on the resolution, Kellman added that the project had a lot of potential but if it remained as it currently was, this and subsequent Governments would have to keep pumping money into it.
“We have to commercialize things around the cave,” he said, noting the strong eco- and heritage tourism potential in an area that included Welchman Hall Gully.
“When you are spending $84 million on projects like this, you should be attracting investments of more than $84 million.”
He added that when Government spent money on a project, other related developments should be prioritized and not the project alone. (RJ)