When one is struggling, and perhaps near the point of death, waiting two years plus for relief might not seem like much hope. But to the good folk who operate from the Pelican Village Craft Centre, the announcement that work will start by the end of the year on a new cruise facility off Trevor’s Way might be the best news they have heard in several years.
That is, if the planners have included them in the overall design. When he made his grand announcement last Saturday, the Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson did not specifically mention Pelican Village in the plans for the new $300 million Super Point Cruise facility, but his reference to bringing Bridgetown to the cruise tourists left enough room for reasonable extrapolation that pelican folk will get the break for which they had been waiting for many years.
There is no doubt about it. Pelican Village is a fine facility — a massive improvement over what existed before — but for a number of reasons it has never attracted the cruise ship passengers who pass it daily like ships in the night. On top of that, because of its location, it is not on the beaten path for Barbadians. If, as a Bajan, you end up in Pelican Village it is because you had a specific reason for being there. Bajans don’t browse at Pelican.
For some time now we have wondered whether it was not necessary to create some physical attraction/ convenience that would direct the hundreds of cruise ship passengers who are naturally attracted to the park-like greenery of Trevor’s Way, as they make their way to Bridgetown.
We wondered whether some kind of “super” overpass over the four lanes of Princess Alice Highway — a structure wide enough to accommodate a steel band and a few displays of Barbadian craft and clothing, so designed that it is almost as green as Trevor’s Way — would not naturally beckon our guests to the village and all it has to offer.
But such suggestions might now be moot, since the reclaiming of 15-odd acres from the sea for a huge dedicated cruise operation, starting a mere stone’s throw from Pelican Village might be just what the doctor ordered for the struggling proprietors. Again, we add, as long as the developers and the Government of Barbados have made provision for them.
We don’t expect that developers will spend $300 million and then just invite competitors in, so it is important that those who have the final say at Bay Street ensure these people have a chance — a fair chance. The artist impressions of the ultra-modern facility are nothing short of impressive, with what appears to be a deliberate move to mirror aspects of Barbadian culture by creating a Bajan village/town square in the port.
We applaud the move, as shown in the photos and outlined by the minister, and we anticipate that if the final product squares with what was sold last Friday than Bridgetown generally is in for a major boost. We admonish the authorities though, not to forget the old as they plough ahead with the new.
There is tremendous potential in Pelican and the people who operate from there, as there is in Bridgetown generally, but we suspect that most Barbadians will not disagree with us when we suggest that some broader issues related to the aesthetics of the City ought to be address simultaneously over the two years when the new facility is being built.
With the right approach we might be able to attract far more Barbadians and tourist back to a revitalised Bridgetown, including a resuscitated Pelican Village.