Reviving the Gap
Head of the Dream Makers Millennium Foundation and one of the main people behind the thrust, Hal Austin, acknowledged that it would take much more than the†$250,000 requested to achieve their goals, but he was of the opinion that it would at least be a start.
Austin was yesterday speaking to group of Gap stakeholder at the Reggae Lounge in Christ Church to discuss ways forward to bring back patronage to their businesses and make it into a mini Las Vegas.
“When Barbados is marketed, everybody mentions the Gap – the Gap is the place to see the Gap is the place to be. We make a significant contribution. We want to approach it in two areas — we are looking to do it by some contributions from our partners in the Gap, some contributions from the wholesalers, and also some fund-raising events: a craft and food festival and a carnival in June.
“We are looking to raise some funds to make this a reality so it is not that we are going cap in hand to the Government begging for $250,000. We want to play our part in making this happen,” he said.
“We want to do this collectively to be able to stake our futures and ensure our businesses have the returns to our owners and ourselves and at the same time maintain employment and maintain a prosperous future in the Gap.
“To this end what we are trying to do is to bring the Gap businesses together. We want to revive the Gap and we can do that but we need to partner with the Ministries and department that have a stake as well.”
With the potential investment from Government and the funds they intended to raise, they expected to address critical areas affecting St. Lawrence Gap such as poor lighting, the boardwalk that had become a hazard to many tourists and locals, landscaping, inefficient maintenance and especially vagrants, who harass visitors and make a trade of selling “blackies”.
Austin further said he already sent letters to the Ministry of Tourism, the Barbados Tourism Authority, Barbados Tourism Investment Inc., Sanitation Service Authority, Government Electrical Engineering Department and other departments for help.
There are close to 100 businesses in the gap which some estimate contribute more than $100 million to the local economy and an additional $20 million through taxes. Those with an interest in the resuscitation of the Gap all agreed it needed a lot of help and called for greater harmony† between entertainment practitioners and hoteliers on the issue of entertainment noise. (KC)