Not so fast on development zone – Jordan
Tourism executive Colin Jordan is warning Government against rushing into expanding the Special Development Area for tourism and other investments.
Jordan is also advising the administration to be careful when trodding on UNESCO-designated protected zones.
Against the backdrop of Government’s announcement last week that it intended to expand the development area, Jordan is asking about investment in the original zone, adding that the answer would guide the manner in which the zone would be extended.
In last week’s presentation of the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said Government would amend the relevant laws to expand the development area to include the area from Speightstown, St Peter to Harrison Point, St Lucy; South-eastern Barbados from St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church to Ragged Point, St Philip; and from the Carlisle Bay area to encompass the City of Bridgetown as defined by the Chief Town Planner in the Physical Development Plan of Barbados.
“If the existing areas were not attracting the investment that we thought they should attract, the simple act of expanding the areas will not necessarily mean that the investment will immediately improve,” Jordan told Barbados TODAY last evening.
“There is going to have to be some more thought given to why the existing development areas weren’t built out, fully accessed, fully used,” the Barbados Labour Party candidate for St Peter said, explaining that such a probe would help determine how best to maximize the expanded areas.
He further advised that the administration should be mindful as it sought to encourage investment in Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage property on a World Heritage site.
“We have to be careful that whatever we do within the four corners of that designation does not negatively impact the designation,” the tourism executive advised.
The Director of Business Development at the Mango Bay Hospitality Group of Companies and Director of Finance at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, said: “Barbados trades in significant measure on its heritage and its history, location, and physical characteristics, and the UNESCO designation has been a very important one for the country.”
He called for Government communication with residents and tourism stakeholders through town hall meetings.
“Engage us. Let us know what the ideas are on the table, and let us have some kind of input so that our views are known . . . so we can say what it is we think should happen in our neighbourhood, in our country,” he told the administration.