STREET BEAT: Holetown not lively like before
SOME SAY Speightstown is dying while others have already pronounced it dead, but is Holetown going the same way?
The answer, as is the case with its northern cousin, depends on who you ask. If you ask Algernon White, a resident of First Street, then Holetown is only waiting for Two Sons.
“I would say Holetown already died. I have been around here for 30 years and all the potential I saw in it has gone through the door. The entertainment package needs to be adjusted and we need a greater police presence,” he said.
White said tourists had no idea where to go as nothing was happening, except karaoke every two weeks, which he said can be a cause of frustration, adding he had seen people’s disappointment on social media.
“Holetown has the potential for an entertainment package six to seven days a week. A lot of people are not into Limegrove; it is too expensive,” he said.
White said First Street had a bad reputation for drugs and called for more police patrols to control the bad elements.
Alrita Garraway is in agreement with White. As a fellow First Street resident, she said there was a need for “something livelier”.
“We need more activities on weekends. It is really busy on Old Year’s and sometimes late in the week but otherwise it does be dead, dead, dead. There’s Holetown Festival but that is just for a week,”she said.
Rashika Foster operates a stall in the West Coast Mall, Sunset Crest. She said she was baffled as to what was happening to Holetown.
“While I have only been here a few months, I know something needs to be done to attract people although I’m not sure what. It’s been slow even regarding tourists, which is strange because it is Crop Over season,” she said.
Senior travel advisor at Going Places Travel,Susan Forslund-Brathwaite said Holetown – along with the entire West Coast – was pricing itself out of the market.
“A lot of people these days who are coming to Barbados are looking for something more reasonable, such as on the South Coast, and a lot are staying in villas and self-catering locations as they are finding this area unaffordable,” she said.
Water sports operator Lee Haynes said it was not a Holetown problem but an island problem. He said “all over dead” and would only improve when the economic depression ended and people started spending money again.
“Tourists don’t spend like before; a lot of them are budgeting. Look how it is summer and no one here on Holetown beach,” he said.
The proprietor of the Sandbox, back in the mall, had similar thoughts to Haynes, though she kept her identity to herself. She said it was a Barbados problem but in terms of Holetown, there might not be a solution.
“What would people be coming to Holetown for that they couldn’t get in Bridgetown or anywhere else? Here needs something new, but I don’t have the answers or else I would be making lots of money,” she said.
Not everyone has given up hope on Barbados’ second smallest town. Debra Byer agreed it had been dead for a while but was on the way back.
“It was dead because all you had was karaoke on First Street and the sports at Surfside but now you have Limegrove and a lot more is happening . . . Plus these beaches have less seaweed than on the South Coast now,” she said.
In Trents, a resident, who declined identification, said Holetown was far from dead, adding there was no comparison between what was happening to Speightstown.
“The two can’t be compared because Holetown is a transit point to Bridgetown and is bound by Sunset Crest and Jamestown Park, not to mention the variety in the stores. It is a commercial area so it has to be thriving,” she said.