New project ‘bad for business’
A MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR project designed to improve tourism facilities in the country has been identified as a threat to some businesses in Bridgetown.
Lalu Vaswani, president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI), told the business community last Friday that the proposed Sugar Point Cruise Terminal off Trevor’s Way on Harbour Road would compete with Bridgetown for visitors as well as local shoppers.
His comments came during the first monthly meeting of the BCCI at Hilton Barbados with guest speaker Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
Vaswani said the Revitalisation Of Bridgetown Initiative, which was started in 2008 with Stuart as chairman, had received funding from the Inter-American Development Bank to, among other things, promote new attractions highlighting The City’s World Heritage designation.
“The interim report of our consultant’s baseline study indicated a fall-off in the number of businesses [in Bridgetown] from 1 992 in the 2010 survey to 1 035 in 2013,” Vaswani told his colleagues.
Among the threats which the report highlighted were the proposed Sugar Point Cruise Terminal, he added.
“The potential for loss of parking at the Pierhead and Hinks Street makes it imperative to plan for long-term parking for The City. We therefore urge Government to ensure that the environmental impact assessment study be completed before any irreversible decisions are taken that could exacerbate the existing adverse impact on the business environment in Bridgetown,” the BCCI president noted.
In his presentation, Vaswani reiterated an earlier call for Government to do what it could to speed up the approval of projects proposed by the private sector in order to spur growth in the economy.
He also said the grouping empathised with public and private sector workers who were losing their jobs across the country.
“We also recognise that the impact of this staff adjustment action will result in a decline in consumers’ purchasing potential and consequently, affected businesses might be compelled to take defensive action as well.” (GE)