Call for probe into finances
Independent Senator Professor Henry Fraser wants an urgent investigation into the finances of Harrison’s Cave.
He made the call as he voiced concern over the failure of the cave’s management to submit financial reports for an extended period. The last report was laid 11 years ago in 2003.
Speaking on a resolution on the compulsory acquisition of parcels of land at Sturges and Welchman Hall, St Thomas for the public purpose of the facilitation of the Harrison’s Cave Redevelopment Project and for public access to the cave, Fraser said he was “distressed, disappointed, amazed, surprised, shocked that we have had no financial reports on the cave for so many years”.
“This is an absolute disgrace, it cannot be covered up, it cannot be hidden, there is almost no apology that is adequate for Barbados’ premier attraction to have no financial statements. Even if there are only 400 or 500 visitors a day in comparison to the potential maximum carrying capacity of 1,000 or more visitors a day, the income generated by say 500 visitors a day, is extraordinary,” he said.
“I have to ask that an urgent investigation be carried out in relation to why the cave should be losing money. Many years ago we were all impressed because the cave’s visiting numbers had reached close to 200,000 visitors a year – many times more than any site in Barbados. Some of the best sites in Britain, which is a heritage site country, only manage to get 200,000 to 300,000 visitors a year.
“I would suggest, therefore, that as a matter of urgency the financial statements of Harrison’s Cave need to be fully investigated and reported to the House of Assembly and this Chamber as a matter of urgency,” added Fraser who has been working in the heritage and heritage tourism field for the past 33 years.
Fraser described Harrison’s Cave as the eighth wonder of the western world.
Meantime, Fraser suggested that lighthouses such as the South Point Lighthouse and Ragged Point Lighthouse, which are steeped in history, should be restored and made heritage sites.
Noting that heritage tourism is the fastest growing area in the sector, Fraser suggested that it should be used to attract visitors from the region during the summer periods.
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