Opposition Leader Owen Arthur last night promised the people of the north that the revitalisation of that part of the island will form a major part of the party’s manifesto heading into the next general election.
Blaming the Democratic Labour Party for what he called the “ghost town” that is now Speightstown and other parts of the north of the island, Arthur challenged Barbadians to “rediscover the north”.
There was a time, he told a political meeting at the Alma Parris School in Speightstown last night, when this northern town was thriving, with plans for two retirement villages in the north that would have brought massive numbers of jobs.
But, he argued that the DLP had disregarded the potential, even for tourism and because of that it was now the area with the greatest difficulties in the island.
“What is happening in St. Peter is but a microcosm of the madness and the ignorance that is happening in this country… Now we see a region of Barbados that is dying,” he said, noting that the Carolinas and Redding had adopted Speightstown yet nothing was happening to develop that connection.
“The last thing that my administration did in 2007 was to take to Parliament a Scotland District Redevelopment Act. The Scotland District is one-seventh of Barbados’ land area. If Barbados is going to have commercial agriculture in the future and not talking about a sugar industry, a lot of it is going to have to take place in a reformed Scotland District.
“We have to go back to the Scotland District and make it suitable for rehabilitation; but above all, when people come to Barbados as tourists, what do we offer. We offer the scenic experience of getting into a car and going to see the Scotland District. That is how it used to be. Now, is has been abandoned, and Freundel Stuart it is a wrong thing for one-seventh of our land space, the Scotland District, to be left abandoned. That you have on the statute books, legislation to bring a Scotland District Authority to restore that land for agriculture, tourism, housing and whatever else and not a stroke of work done for it. Wait for our manifesto Barbados. There will be a section in it called Rediscover the North.” Stressing that he was not begrudging the south some of the development that was happening there, he however challenged that just as there were hundreds of homes going up in places like Coverly and others, there could have been some in St. Peter and St. Lucy.
“Because unless you bring serious housing to St. Lucy, the north is going to die,” he said. (LB)