Kellman wants major heritage tourism attraction in the north

Government is looking for a partner to develop 459 square metres of crown land at Fort Denmark in Speightstown, St Peter into a major cultural and heritage tourism attraction.

Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman this morning introduced a resolution in Parliament to transfer the land from the Barbados Tourism Investment Incorporated to the National Housing Corporation (NHC), both state entities.

In leading off debate he said the island’s tourism product was stale and needed some fresh attractions.

He also made a case for the development of the rural areas as tourist sites as part of a programme to offer visitors something new ever so often.

In this context, Kellman said Government needed a private partner to buy the historic property and build the heritage area that would act as a springboard for the creation of new tourist sites to include such rural parishes as St Philip, St Andrew and St Peter.

“This piece of land is being vested in National Housing and I am hoping that in investing it in National Housing that they can find a useful partner to help develop the tourism and community tourism project, the heritage of the area, correct the environmental problems, and also maybe, that somebody would be strong enough to recognize the history of the area and help the Minister of Tourism and International Transport in developing his great plans for this country,” he said.

Kellman made reference to Lamberts Hill in St Peter, which he said provides a breathtaking view of the island, and which he described as an ideal location for community tourism, with the potential to introduce visitors to home-cooked dishes.

This, he said, was something the Rural Development Commission (RDC) should consider.

“It is a good location where I think Rural should look and do what I have been asking to be done, where you blend the farming with the open areas and develop it as one of the community sites to be visited because of the fantastic view, and then invite the people to some good old Bajan cooking grown from the lands of Barbados,” said Kellman, who has direct responsibility for the RDC.

However, the minister said whoever was interested in partnering with Government on the project would have to be willing to consider the historic significance and heritage value of the area when they develop the property, “because with the number of forts in the particular area, there is great heritage”.

The minister also said that vesting of the property in NHC would create opportunities for Barbadians to earn a share of the tourism pie by owning property along the coast and renting them to tourists.

“So the north, as it relates to community tourism and development is doing well. And we need to acknowledge that we need now to give it the impetus to allow the north now, to expand the role that it has always played when we first settled this country,” the Member of Parliament for St Lucy stressed. 

3 Responses to Kellman wants major heritage tourism attraction in the north

  1. Donald MacPherson December 8, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    This is the same politician who wants to spend millions of dollars, which the GOB does not have, to build an airport in the north of the island.

    Reply
  2. fred flintstone December 9, 2017 at 4:10 am

    I have no idea about the details of said development but I fervently hope they are more sensitive to the real value of Speightstown in bajan history than to simply throw up a couple of old cannons and some whitewash. Real historical development takes specialists and respect. The north of the country want very careful development in order to avoid ruining an area that can easily fall prey to commercial and governmental overdevelopment. I suggest turning the entire area into a national park.

    Reply
  3. RosaG December 12, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    This land transfer is a most curious thing. But not quite as curious as the strenuous arguments given by Minister Kellman to justify it. But first of all, a correction: the piece of crown land is not 459 square metres, as reported, but 3,459.4 square metres. It’s a pretty significant difference.

    This article left me in a morass of confusion, with Minister Kellman’s pronouncements even more incomprehensible than usual. But if I have understood the article correctly, in order to develop cultural and heritage tourism…

    …a piece of land along the costly west coast of the island is being transferred from Barbados Tourism Investment Incorporated (a natural entity to take the lead on a tourism project) to the National Housing Corporation;
    …Government hopes to partner with ‘somebody’, and “maybe, that somebody would be strong enough to recognize the history of the area and help the Minister of Tourism and International Transport in developing his great plans for this country,”…maybe…or maybe not.
    …the developer may construct houses or villas or condos, some destined to serve as rental property for a few lucky Bajans.

    Exactly which Barbadians will have the opportunity to own this beach-front land? At what rates will the residences be sold?
    It is extremely interesting that of all the crown land which could be vested in the NHC, ostensibly for the construction of housing, this is prime beach-front property;

    It will be equally interesting to see which developer will be chosen as the ‘partner’…and what form which this ‘partnering’ takes – for example, if it involves the sale of the land to the partner, whether outright or not, and whether ‘ordinary Bajans’ will have a chance to purchase whatever is offered up for sale.

    There are a lot of causes for concern here, and there is obviously more in this mortar than the pestle. But hasn’t the government learned through its other forays into housing that it is not equipped to be in the real estate business? Why does the Barbados government believe that it is acceptable for the country’s resources, including scarce land, to be used to facilitate the ownership of rental property by a few Barbadians?

    International thinking on the role of a government where housing is concerned, is that it is to facilitate the access of low-income earners, the otherwise poor and most vulnerable members of the population to adequate housing. It is not the role of government to facilitate the dream of home ownership for those who don’t fall into those categories. This is even less defensible when the country’s economy is in a shambles, as ours is. There really is an urgent need to re-examine the mandate and workings of the NHC, because the modus operandi is as clear as mud. It has clearly lost the plot.

    Reply

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