I would like to take this opportunity to address certain accusations made regarding my personal and professional opposition to billboarding on the landscape of Barbados in a recent edition of one of the daily papers.
While Environ Ltd has demonstrated a commitment to the environment and scenic landscape of the island with our project Adopt-A-Stop, which provides bus shelters with advertising from sponsors, I do not endorse billboarding.
Adopt-A-Stop and Choice Marketing/Seen Advertising (a competitor) are bus shelter providers. My company has provided a public amenity at no cost to Government successfully for 20 years. Environ Ltd has always worked with Government and with communities to provide a locally manufactured solar-powered, traditionally designed shelter with litter bin.
I have never attempted to launch a billboard project –– out of principle, and because billboarding was contrary to the law and visual sensibilities of Barbados (Town And Country Planning Act Cap 240 1985).
Barbados is not the only jurisdiction that has had to face the threat of billboarding. In tourism-based economies in the United States, such as Maine, Vermont and Hawaii, anti-billboarding policies have improved road safety and maintained the visual amenity of those popular, high net worth destinations.
This is what has differentiated Barbados from other tourism markets in the Caribbean. I support the authorities who regulate and enforce anti-billboarding policies in this regard.
To clarify, in most jurisdictions, town planning legislation addresses different types of structures and commercial signage. In North America, for example, there is often a distinction between a structure such as a bus/transit shelter and an outdoor advertising sign or billboard.
A bus shelter is considered a structure, not a sign. It is a free-standing structure, with a small footprint and is located on a bus transit route, which is designed to accommodate embarking and disembarking bus transit passengers. The primary purpose of bus shelters in Barbados is to provide seating and shade for 70,000 Barbadians and visitors using the bus and PSV transit system daily.
A billboard, is a type of sign that consists of a rigid sign, display, or device, usually
free-standing, which is left on or fixed to the ground, or to a building. The primary purpose is to display advertising posters.
As for my personal and professional interests, my record on beautifying the environment –– planting trees and providing community amenities sustainably –– speaks for itself. I have overseen the planting of over 2,000 trees in public areas, such as palms on the ABC Highway and fruit trees at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
I have also installed unbranded benches in numerous scenic areas for the public to enjoy. I am committed to Barbados and will continue preserving and creating spaces where Barbadians and visitors may enjoy their surroundings.
–– BARNEY GIBBS,
Environ Ltd (Adopt-A-Stop)