Next month’s start of the winter tourist season minus the island’s largest hotel is a major blow that Government could have avoided.
That’s the view of Opposition St. Michael North East MP Mia Mottley, who today criticised the current administration’s handling of the issue, which saw Almond Beach Village being closed by Trinidad owner Neal & Massy and its 500 workers laid off at the end of the last such season.
She voiced her concerns this afternoon while leading the Barbados Labour Party response to an amendment to the Local Loans Act to allow the borrowing limit to be raised from the current $5 billion to $6.5 billion.
“The tourism sector is not hiring anybody. Far from that, Almond has closed and over 500 people will enter this winter season next month without work,” the former Opposition Leader said.
“The people who bought from Almond and the other hotels are not hiring anybody, the people who sold to Almond, like the food supplies, the laundries, the taxi people, the minibuses, the landscaping services, the (Barbados) Light & Power, even the (Barbados) Water Authority, non of them are going to get any revenues from Almond this winter season.
“And by extension the people who depend on these entities will not have any money coming into their pockets this Christmas or January or February or March because one of your largest hotels has closed, and when we say that the Government has options I mean it,” she added.
Mottley said this and other examples suggested Government was not serious in its management of the economy.
She said this view was not just held by the BLP but by others, including ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. “We have said over and over that what the Government has tried to do is to participate in a form of political cosmetology, political … dressing up and that’s what Standard & Poor’s has effectively said, that the numbers which are presented by this Government are difficult to believe,” she stated. (SC)