We must work together
I AM VERY CONCERNED about my country, Barbados.
The Parravicino family has been here since 1887; my father was born here in 1891 and died in 1979. He went by the name of “Poor Bob” and he, his brother Vicki and friend George Manning were among the few main players in the early days of tourism and who started to develop this sector in Barbados out of their own pockets.
We are now celebrating 50 years of Independence and what I see happening in the island now is very disturbing. Nothing seems to get done; business people write about it daily and little or no notice is taken of them.
Fifty years ago we had running water as far as I know, all over the island, not to every household but standpipes were not far away. Today, in certain parts of the island people have not seen running water for days at a time and are living from a PET bottle and a jug. They call into Brass Tacks all day long to no avail.
Barbados could boast of its cleanliness in the past and foreigners always commented on this. Today garbage is piled up all over the island and there has been lots of talk for years about correcting the situation for the long term, but nothing is done. Fifty years ago, as you drove around the island, it was spotless.
Fields were all cultivated but today, prime agricultural land in St John, St Thomas and other parts are now covered in wild tamarind and other bush. Our roads have improved in some areas, yes, but in many the condition is bad.
We had a bit of a tourist season which has been going in Barbados for years, and thank God is improving again, but it is disturbing when a Budget is given by the Government and we are told about the plans and work that will be started on projects such as Sam Lord’s Castle, Hyatt and about investors interested in what was known as Four Seasons. We are now in November and I think the minister of finance himself [recently] commented he had hoped construction would have started on these projects.
I am not a politician and have never been so inclined, but when the Leader of the Opposition replied to the Budget andtalked about Sam Lord’s, that the construction was not going to be underway, the minister of tourism was quick to jump up and say it wasn’t true and work was commencing. From what I can understand, it appears that indeed this project has not started.
Fortunately, visitors love Barbados even though there is rarely a friendly welcome for them or locals at either the air or sea ports. I know we must be careful from a safety point of view for drugs and firearms and so on, but do it with a smile.
It is known that real estate is very slow, the foreign people are not buying like before and its quite simple; there is not much confidence in investing in property at this time. This is the feedback we receive from our clients continuously.
An editorial in the NATION newspaper on October 12 was very depressing as it said if something is not done, we could be like Jamaica in two years’ time. Well pushing water down a hill, anybody can do that, but it takes a pretty smart man to push it back up and that we seem to be lacking at the moment.
The bureaucracy and red tape to get businesses set up in Barbados is another major issue. I read in the paper and heard on TV recently, a Mr McConney talking about BIBA and saying that people seem to think only foreigners got jobs there. He made it clear that the international business sector employs 4 000 Barbadians, mostly females who are well educated and capable of doing any job and are well turned out for their work.
I personally feel the powers that be have got to start listening to people who have been successful and who are willingto work together in order to save our country. I believe that until this is done, as us Bajans say, we are just spinning top in mud.
The sad part about all of this is that Barbados is still a marvellous place to live. Barbadians are well educated people and a lot better can be done. However, we all have to work together as a team.
– NICK PARRAVICINO