Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate Colin Jordan wants all Barbadians to do their part in reviving Speightstown, but blames Government for sending a negative message about the St Peter waterfront town.
Chosen to contest the BLP stronghold St Peter seat in the next general elections, Jordan said that instead of encouraging business in Speightstown, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration was moving Government offices out of the area.
Addressing a BLP branch meeting at the Alma Parris School over the weekend, he cited the decision to move the Rural Development Commission to Bridgetown a few years ago as a negative signal.
“It sounds foolish because it is foolish. I don’t know how you move a Rural Development Commission and put it in the urban centre of Barbados. It makes no sense. When Government does that, Government sends a signal. Government by its action, is saying something about Speighstown.”
He also mentioned a decision to close the Speightstown office of the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) following the reopening of the office in Holetown which will now serve St Peter and other communities in the north.
“That also sends a signal,” Jordan, a hotelier, said.
Jordan said he was told that the BRA’s decision was based on the fact that the Speightstown office occupied rented premises while the office in Holetown was located in a Government-owned property.
“That, on the face of it, sounds like a pretty good reason but I must say that if Government is serious about keeping Speightstown alive, about revitalizing Barbados’ first town, then a monthly rent in Speightstown is a very small price to pay for Government’s contribution, to send a signal that it supports the revitalization of Speightstown.”
Jordan, with expertise in economics and accounting, asked: “When Government moves the RDC and the BRA office, how can we go to Royal Bank and say you shouldn’t move the Speightstown branch and put it in Holetown? How can we say that to the private sector, when Government, which is seen as the lead agency in the country, is, by its actions, moving its offices out of Speightstown?”
Jordan said the ordinary people of Barbados and businesses also had a role to play in revitalizing the town.
“This is not just about bashing an inept Government, but we also have to do our part. I’m as guilty as some of you. We don’t come to Speightstown as often as we should. Sometimes we pass through Speightstown.”
He said a Barbados Tourism Product Authority-organized fair dubbed, Speightstown Alive, held last month should be just a start in such Government-sponsored activities. “It cannot be the end, it cannot be ad hoc. It has to be part of a larger vision for revitalizing Speightstown, bringing life and activity back.”