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Let’s be careful on the Hyatt


ANN HEWITT

Let’s be careful on the Hyatt

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THE PROPOSAL TO ERECT a 15-storey Hyatt hotel in Bridgetown and on the coastline of Barbados is everybody’s business.

What exactly do we understand about the true costs and benefits of such a scheme?

I have read comments about its aesthetic enhancement of The City, its potential for job creation and a hoped-for increase in our foreign exchange earnings. I note as well the warnings about the threat it could pose to our valuable World Heritage Site designation.

But what concerns me most and what I would like to hear more about is the level of risk inherent in constructing so heavy a building on an island made up of coral, which by its nature is porous and fragile – friable, even.

What can our geologists tell us? to what extent do our coastal zone management experts endorse the idea? what do our seismologists think about the prospect of erecting a heavy, monolithic structure on the white sandy coastline of our capital city?

How can we ensure that the integrity of the London Bourne Towers, the Bethel Methodist Church and other nearby buildings will not be compromised by the earth-shaking vibrations caused by drilling and driving piles deep into the bedrock to create a secure foundation for the hotel? What reassurances can the environmental impact study give us on this matter?

We all know of the proliferation of caves and sinkholes across our island. We also remember the unspeakable Arch Cot tragedy not long ago when a young family in their apartment disappeared underground.

Let us err on the side of caution and insist on every aspect of thorough due diligence being observed before we erect so tall and massive a building on our precious coral coastline.

We must not allow our hunger for foreign currency and our urgent need for job creation to stampede us into hasty or desperate action. Rather than following Esau whose hunger drove him to sell his birthright for “a mess of pottage”, let us weigh the matter thoroughly and consider all the pros and cons before taking action.

Our National Anthem calls us as responsible stewards to be “strict guardians of our (beautiful island) heritage”.

– ANN HEWITT

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