by Anesta Henry
David McCoffrey is Canadian-born, but he is no stranger to Barbados’ shores.
In fact, he can still paint a picture of what the island’s fields and hills looked like “yesterday”, using descriptive words; and he remembers the conversations he has had years ago with those born and bred here.
“I remember when there were many more people in the fields, and the cane was cut with a machete, and not the machines. There were people in the fields doing very hard work and the sun baking down on them.
“Back then I rented a mini-moke and drove around friends we invited to the island,” McCoffrey said as he excitingly travelled down memory lane.
McCoffrey has been a repeat visitor to Barbados for a remarkable 39 years.
He has been coming with his wife Nan, who is now deceased, for 31 years, and on their 25th visit, they were invited to a reception for repeat visitors at Ilaro Court and awarded a plaque of appreciation.
And speaking to Barbados TODAY yesterday as he enjoyed a meal at a Shorey Village, St Andrew resident’s home, the Canadian boasted that he was “very proud to be coming to Barbados for so many years”.
“My wife and I started coming in 1970 after her parents visited and came back and told us how much they loved it. They said if you go to Barbados you are going to Heaven, because they loved it and the people.
“We came here, and it wasn’t quite Heaven, but more like paradise. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen,” McCoffrey said.
The 74-year-old businessman, who has formed a friendship with a number of prominent individuals on the island, recalled that what struck him from the time he landed in Barbados was the people.
The taxi driver he and his wife met stayed by their side, providing excellent service –– even carrying their bags when they went shopping.
“I would tell anyone to come here. Why? The weather, for one thing, is good –– a nice trade wind breeze coming off the ocean. It doesn’t get any better. Every time I come here, I always have a good holiday and enjoy myself,” he remarked.
The visitor noted that, as expected, there had been many changes to the physical and economical landscape of the country. The West Coast has almost completely changed, and the price of taxi fare is understandably no longer the same. But to McCoffrey who indicated he had adjusted to the changes over the years, Barbados was still the most beautiful place.
“The prices have changed . . . . Food, beverages and accommodation have all gone up. But these prices have gone up all over the world too,” he said.
“On the West Coast there are more condominiums than there were in the 1980s. With more condos and more hotels, there will be more people and busier beaches. Before, the beaches were much more private. But with a successful tourism industry, there will be more people,” he acknowledged.
He is no longer the young man who spent hours relaxing on a beach chair nestled in the white sand with his wife by his side, but McCoffrey has declared to Barbados TODAY that as long as he is alive and capable of travelling, Barbados will always be his number one destination. email@example.com