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Government is banking on facilitating a number of infrastructural projects to stimulate activity in the local economy.

And Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is confident that ongoing efforts to improve the supply of water and management of sewage across the island will revitalise ventures whose planning permission depended on such provisions.

Stuart also said his administration was hoping to have the closed Almond Beach Village “rebuilt” quickly to restore important hotel stock, while eventually providing jobs for 1,000 people.

He was speaking this morning at the official opening of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados’ 19th annual conference at Hilton Barbados.

“Over the years Barbados has built a good infrastructure that has allowed us to be attractive to and competitive for business, but we have needed to renew our infrastructural assets … due to their age,” he said.

“The various components of the new infrastructure plan for the country are actively being put in place with issues like water and sewerage being actively addressed.

“Some planning permission applications for projects involving water use could not be finalised because there was no assurance that the required water would have been available.

“Because of the work done by the Barbados Water Authority in the last few years many of these projects are now in a position to receive permissions or to resume the application process, significantly increasing economic activity with their implementation,” he added.

The Prime Minister also said there would be upgrades to the Bridgetown and South Coast sewage systems, while “design work is substantially advanced and the financing arrangements are now being considered” for “the installation of a West Coast Sewage System”.

Stuart said he was also keen to have tourism-related projects either started or resuscitated, including Four Seasons and Almond Beach Village, which has been closed since April.

“We are trying to have Almond Beach Village rebuilt to quickly restore the lost rooms, create employment during its refurbishment and provide eventual permanent employment to at least 1,000 people,” he said.

Stuart reiterated Government’s goal to maintain employment in the public sector, noting that such a buffer was necessary, considering the number of people who had lost their jobs in the private sector and continued challenges in the tourism and international business and financial services sectors.

“In this situation, if the Government had reduced employment in pursuit of short term fiscal balance this would have reinforced the reduction in employment in the private sector and made overall employment and demand conditions considerably worse,” he said.

“Government has made it a considerable effort to keep employment up in the country without going into crash programmes or short term capital work of no significant benefit to Barbados.” (SC)

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