Blame BLP for slow growth
More than $84 million has been invested in the physical development of Harrison’s Cave, but nothing has been done to spur commercial activity to complement and recover such a massive investment.
That’s a major concern of Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, who blamed the former Barbados Labour Party administration for the delayed growth.
“I am saying that Harrison’s Cave is no different to the (sea) port and the airport. In other words, the same type of development that you would give to an airport you should give to something like the Harrison’s Cave or you give to the sea port,” he told the Lower House as members debated and approved money to pay a loan for the attraction.
“I am saying that Harrison’s Cave should be one of the biggest projects in Barbados, but for some reason the Barbados Labour Party seems not to understand the importance of commercialising anything that is important.”
The former environment minister, who was once responsible for the St. Thomas project, said Barbados was now “saddled with a cave with capital expansion of over $84 million and that is expansion” and no sign of recouping the millions of dollars spent.
“We have to understand that we have to commercialise this because it cannot be that we believe that we can just take the taxpayers’ money and just spend it and behave like cosmetologists. It is about the economic viability and it is the empowerment of the people of St. Thomas,” he said.
“Don’t let anybody believe that they can get away with the passing comments that this is something that has been done by the Democratic Labour Party and that we are not caring, and that we do not understand these things because we do understand.
“We understood them from the root because we planted the seed, the only thing [is[ that the seed was not watered well by the BLP because they are the ones who took over the project when it was first initiated and did not do a good job,” he added.
Kellman said it was now up to the current administration to correct the wrongs he said were committed by its predecessor.
“$84 million on a cave is a lot of money. I am not saying that it should not have been spent on the cave, but what I am saying [is] that when you are spending $84 million on any project like this you should be able to attract investment of more than $84 million because this should be enhancing development.
“This is a good example of a project that is a very good project, but for some reason we were not able to complete it in the early years and when the redevelopment came we were not there again to carry out and what you have seen is the bastardisation of a very good project.” (SC)