Barbados will be transformed into a night time cruise destination thanks to new arrangments being offered to the international cruise industry.
That’s the view of Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development Denis Kellman, who was contributing to debate on the Cruise Ships (Opening of Facilities) Bill when the House of Assembly resumed sittings today.
The new legislation will allow cruise ships berthed at the island’s port to operate their casinos, shops and bars in a 12-hour period starting at 6 p.m. daily.
Additionally, passengers who wanted to take in Barbados’ nightlife would be able to do so, something Kellman said was innovative and a plus for the island.
“This bill is not about passengers who remain on the ship, it is about passengers who will stay off the ship and have more time to spend in Barbados. All those who understand the tourism in Barbados would know that when people are enjoying Barbados they then have to rush to get back by a particular time,” he said.
“What we hearing today is the Opposition [is] now saying that we should not allow the tourists to remain in Barbados and spend money with Barbadians, but we should allow the ships to leave and go on the high seas and stop the tourists from remaining in Barbados and spending money in Barbados.
“What we are saying [is] that instead of the ship having to leave and do what they are accustomed doing anyhow that they be allowed to remain in the port and do what they normally do, while those persons who want to enjoy Barbados will be able to continue to enjoy Barbados.”
The St. Lucy MP said the new laws were “far reaching” to the point where Barbados would demonstrate to the world that it was “not only about cruise tourism during the day, but it is also about cruise tourism during the night and we have now opened up Barbados and we are not limiting Barbados for cruise during the day”.
“What we are saying (is) that we understand Barbadians and Barbados, we understand how to enhance the product of Barbados, but what you are hearing is some short sightedness from the other side who cannot appreciate that we are living in a modern world and that we are taking this country forward,” he said.
Kellman also dismissed an Opposition suggestion that Government was seeking to introduce casino gambling in Barbados. “I do not support the charge that we are legalising casinos for Barbadians. I have seen nowhere in this bill that any Barbadian can go anywhere in Barbados and can find a casino to play and I think, Sir, it was rather unreasonable for anybody to read this Bill and to say that there are casinos in Barbados where Barbadians can now go and play the casinos,” the minister stated. (SC)