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On ‘death row’

The Gap needs urgent financial aid, says spokesman

The spokesman for St Lawrence Gap, Maxwell And Dover Residents Association, Adrian Donovan, today called for an urgent financial injection to save the once bustling entertainment spot from “death row”.

“A financial stimulus needs to be injected into The Gap for its revival, because at present it is on death row. There is no maintenance programme in place and the product looks really run-down. The Gap is too dark; there are a number of lights that are not working and need to be fixed,” Donavan complained.

His cries were echoed by businessman Valance Eastmond, who said The Gap in Christ Church had the potential to become a major tourist and cultural attraction, but at the moment little or nothing was being done.

Valance Eastmond, owner of Fire And Soul Bar Grill & Lounge.

Valance Eastmond, owner of Fire And Soul Bar Grill & Lounge.

“You see this street, it should be like daylight in the night,” he argued, while suggesting that the National Cultural Foundation should put more emphasis on The Gap and seek to utilize Bajan characters such as the Mother Sally to enhance the experience of vistors to the South Coast stretch.

“Put a Mother Sally walking down the street, put a juggler in a corner there, a limbo dancer somewhere else, the Green Monkey, some stilt-men, men ’pon de steel pan, a man blowing fire and so on . . . . The NCF [National Cultural Foundation] can pay these people and they can still get tips on the street and we will get some life in The Gap,” Eastmond explained.

“I want every door coming down this street to be buzzing, ’cause the potential for everybody will be more,” he said.

As a Barbados TODAY team walked through The Gap yesterday, a common sight was For Sale signs on properties. Missing were the big names, such as the After Dark and The Ship Inn. The once popular McBride’s was also a shell of its former self with upturned chairs and padlocked doors as business owners cried out that life in The Gap was “dead”.

“We are supposed to be the entertainment capital of Barbados. We are catering to people to come and stay here, so that they could enjoy our nightlife, but yet they want us to turn off our music at one or 2 a.m. –– and they advertise it: Barbados, St Lawrence Gap, the entertainment capital,” lamented Eastmond, the owner of Fire And Soul Island Grill & Lounge, who has embarked on a massive $150,000 refurbishment exercise to “spruce up the place” and attract more people to his business.

Herman Maloney, part owner of the Crave Restaurant and Reggae Lounge, agreed with Eastmond. He said that cut-off time was a big contributor to the lacklustre vibe on the street.

“The Gap is known basically for late partying. I mean you had places like After Dark, The Ship Inn. They stayed open till the first bus run. Now the police come around and you got to close. There is no reasoning with them,” Maloney complained.

The businessman said things were “so bad in the Gap”, proprieters had been trying different things to keep their doors open –– such as working with party promoters.

McBride’s Pub now closed in  St Lawrence Gap.

McBride’s Pub now closed in St Lawrence Gap.

“My partner and I almost run the Lounge by ourselves right now. We used to have four or five guys in there, but now you have no money to pay them . . . . We only have one security now that works with a scan at the door to make sure no one comes in with a weapon.”

The cry is the same for craft vendor D. Williams and taxi man Bryan Davis who have been plying their trade in St Lawrence Gap for the past five years.

“I am not complaining exactly,” Williams said adding: “Sometimes you make a little, sometimes you don’t. People are coming by, but they are not shopping because they are complaining that things are too expensive. It’s bad. During the last three years I have had to reduce my prices,” she told Barbados TODAY.

Williams, who works 14-hour shifts from Sunday to Sunday, pointed to necklace sets which sold for $40 before –– they are “now selling for BDS$20 and they still asking you sell it for $15”.

Davis, who is connected to one of the hotels, described the situation as simply “tough”.

“Everything has slowed in The Gap and I am hoping and praying that the [winter] season turns out to be a good season,” Davis said, while sitting on a guard wall next to his closed taxi car.

But while Eastmond and Maloney blamed time restrictions and condominium life for the decline of life in St Lawrence Gap, W. King, who mans Jan-Frank’s Cocktail Bar, puts the blame solely at the feet of those he called “hustlers”.

“Before the guests would normally come out and stay out. They don’t do that now because of the hustlers; they are the ones causing The Gap to be so bad. From the time visitors come out on the streets the beach bums begging and harassing, and all of those things; that is what is causing The Gap to be dead,” said King.

A former businessman who has lived in the area for the past 16 years, charged the problem stemmed from a zoning conflict.

“St Lawrence Gap has a zoning problem; you cannot have luxury, housing and commercial entities on the same street. That should not be; it will not work. Everything else is just simply excuses,” said the resident, who did not want to be identified.

However, Sean Defreitas, who still operates a business in The Gap, suggested otherwise.

“Like everything else in Barbados, we need to work together to make things work. You can’t work only for what you want or I want. We got to work together; it takes two hands to clap.

“St Lawrence Gap was always a shared corridor with both visitors, people living in the area, as well as businesses. So if it is a shared corridor, you have to figure out how you are going to use that corridor,” Defreitas told Barbados TODAY.

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13 Responses to On ‘death row’

  1. Princess Tiny Neferua
    Princess Tiny Neferua November 8, 2014 at 3:49 am

    You want to save where……..over the years there were so many dam complains from neighbors about this and that in the gap…YOU PEOPLE have killed the place…now live with it…..

  2. Carol Mills
    Carol Mills November 8, 2014 at 4:13 am

    So sad very happy memories. News of stabbings and shootings is definitely keeping tourists away need to sort that firdt. Used to be so safe to be out, I don’t feel that anymore. I love Barbados.

  3. JuJu Lynch
    JuJu Lynch November 8, 2014 at 4:14 am

    no doubt some foreigners will buy up cheaply and ‘revive’ the place. Maybe from amongst the same condo residents that complaining

    • Bobby Gilkes
      Bobby Gilkes November 8, 2014 at 4:39 am

      So when them buy it cheap the foreigners that is what I gine get for myself and children

  4. Kay Critchlow
    Kay Critchlow November 8, 2014 at 6:30 am

    The average age of holiday makers in Barbados I would put at 50 years if younger many have children. Problem is the gap been catering too a small audience of younger people who are probably on much more limited budgets. There’s nothing at night for the older folk the real spenders ! That’s the truth. It needs too be a little more calm and sophisticated then people may get their money out. To the street vendors when the gap acts cheap people will want to buy cheap like it’s a haggling bazaar . I also feel there need be some kind of small free train running up and down the gap all day and night. More sit down entertainment is needed not everyone wants stand all night just listening too banging music. Perhaps the gap misses opportunities as I have seen many holiday makers take there first stroll down the gap at around 8 pm too see there’s nothing and they return too there hotels. Lot of Europeans etc party eat early go too bed early too enjoy the sun they came too seek.

  5. Adam Shaw November 8, 2014 at 6:48 am

    You All Created This Problem Yourselves… Charging Entry Fee’s and Over Pricing and Playing Music to Loud With Other In The Gap Complaining…That Is The Price You Pay For Being Greedy

  6. Queenie ShaSha
    Queenie ShaSha November 8, 2014 at 7:24 am

    everything is being controlled…u cant make money in bim …rent sky high…operating costs sky high…foolish ppl refuse to let a party go on ….so no money can circulate…amd its all going out of the island….the ppl who r making the decisions lack creativity and practicality….everything is a taxxxx and restrictive…barbados is oppressed….

  7. jr smith November 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Business people in the gap ,are complaining, they are the ones who allow they businesses to run down as like many hoteliers, they set they sites on profits and that’s all they were concern with.
    These business people in the gap should behave like business people they are dinosaurs, they are the ones who should have gotten together, years ago with they committee and made sure the gap survive.
    But it seems as though they all think they were always going to be plane load of foreigners arriving every hour of the day, this doesn’t only apply to the gap but businesses in bim.
    If you compare the gap to oistins, they learnt nothing from oistins, although oistins is week end thing, correct me if i am wrong. The gap existed long before oistins, I could remember oistins ,bajans houses on the beach.
    Business men stop crying like babies, get your fingers, out put this thing right.

  8. hndrsn November 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Visiting from Canada with my son on entrance to the Gap we were acousted for drugs women and all sorts of stuff the place was bustling.that was 2010. We left and never went back even after sever
    al visits to the island.. It’s no surprise to me.

  9. Sunil Brome November 8, 2014 at 11:41 am

    The “gap” has been an awesome product in years gone by, there was a standard that was kept, somehow that was lost, i also agree certain limitations were put in place which changed the product, many factors played a roll in this, hotels have always been in the gap, so have private residences, for some reason it was thought building condos in the middle of party central was a good idea, so that was done. Then there was the expectation of peace and quiet.
    This hap hazard methodology of thinking in my view is killing the gap. Im not sure what can be done now, it seems a lot of effort has gone into pleasing a few residents and somehow the big picture was lost.
    Newsflash tourist need to be entertained, there are many similar products for sale in neighboring islands. The gap has been a product which encouraged spending by tourist and locals alike, obviously stimulating the economy. I suggest in future authorities realise that they cannot please everyone and sometimes desisions not so popular also have to be made.

  10. IAN KING November 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm


  11. orlando November 9, 2014 at 8:27 am

    What is being done in this Country by the Government is killing the Country. When you stop the music in the Gap at 3am you killed the Tourism in the gap. Visitors are here on holiday and you are telling them what time to go to bed there is no work for them the next day.

  12. Ado November 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    The Gap is the way it is because of all the complaints that were kenand the reactive action that was taken. Let the night clubs go until sun-up and action will return to the gap. Let the hotels sell themselves as part of the entertainment district and stop complaining about noise.


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