Criminal hide-out

Fear of robbers prompts St Joseph residents to clear unsightly bush

Hackleton’s Cliff in St Joseph is frequented by tourists because the spot offers one of the most breathtaking coastal sights to be found anywhere on the island.

Visitors at Hackleton’s Cliff enjoying the view of the East Coast.
Visitors at Hackleton’s Cliff enjoying the view of the East Coast.

Overrun by unsightly bush which was providing a hide-out for robbers, residents embarked last October on a community clean-up project to transform and beautify the area.

The aim was two-fold: to improve public safety and boost the area’s tourism potential by making it more appealing.

However, residents say their limited resources can only go so far and are appealing to tourism authorities in particular to lend a helping hand with the execution and maintenance of the project.

Roger Moore, one of the men behind the community initiative, told a visiting Barbados TODAY news team that he has contacted and written letters to various entities asking for help but is unhappy with the response.

Roger Moore pointing to an aspect of the beautification project at Hackleton’s Cliff, St John.
Roger Moore pointing to an aspect of the beautification project at Hackleton’s Cliff, St John.

“All we getting is a lot of hot air and promises,” he said.

Besides debushing a large section of the cliff which overlooks the east coast, the project has involved planting flower gardens using plant material mostly from the garden of Moore’s mother.

Lawn grass and a mower were donated by another resident.

Moore said the initiative to debush and beautify the area was prompted by a number of robberies that had taken place. He said when tourists made their way through what was then an “eye sore”,  robbers hiding here would pounce on them..

The situation had gotten so bad that an island constable had to be placed in the area, he said.

“We decided that instead of leaving it as a danger zone, to beautify it with some fruit trees and plants. It is work in progress because we are not getting the financial help and then we using manual labour,” Moore said.

“We just try to put a donation box to help with small things but that is not enough. Most people would come onboard the project if it was beneficial for them. If we could find somebody who would just come out and see what going on.”

Moore said not everybody who comes to Barbados wants to see only places like Harrison’s Cave.

“Sometimes people come and don’t have money to spend, but they can come and see this natural beauty here. Just come and see what little help can offer,” he said.

Moore said restroom facilities were desperately needed. He said when tourists want to carry out their bathroom business, they are often forced to either ask residents to use their toilets or resort to the alternative of making their way into the bush.

He said a portable toilet would be a good solution. “Sometimes there are tour buses and taxis passing through. The Island Safari also comes through. If you are a guy, you can go by a tree and relieve yourself. But for a female you should have a portable toilet.”

Moore said although the project has not received the recognition and assistance it deserves from authorities, taxi drivers and tourists often give it a thumb’s up. He recalled that two weeks ago, a repeat visitor who came to the cliff was surprised and pleased with the transformation of the area.

“He say he love it because when he first came, it was nothing but bush. He could not believe it is the same area. He remember having to walk through to see the view. No help but we just decide to put our all into it because it is a safety mechanism not only for the visitors but also residents too.”

Tour guide Dunston Harris, who was at the site with a family from England, told Barbados TODAY he recognized that residents are not obligated to do what they are doing, stressing it is a very good initiative.

“The visitors that I bring here really enjoy this spot. It is a wonderful place,” Harris said.

Visitor Ian James said the view from the cliff was one of the most beautiful scenes he had ever seen and encouraged the residents to continue the good work.

“The plan is to get some benches, umbrellas and tables. Sometimes, people come up there with their own chair and just relax and look over. Some people might come, no hurry to leave, but no place to relax,” Moore said.
anestahenry@barbadostoday.bb

Ovid Sargeant (right) showing Ian Jones (left), his daughter Milly and wife Denise a pot of lentil peas rice and chicken cooked on the outdoors at Hackleton’s Cliff.
Ovid Sargeant (right) showing Ian Jones (left), his daughter Milly and wife Denise a pot of lentil peas rice and chicken cooked on the outdoors at Hackleton’s Cliff.

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