Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman says he is serious about developing community tourism in the north of the island.
The Member of Parliament for St Lucy told a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) branch meeting in St Peter last night he was committed to pressing ahead with development plans he had for Archer’s Bay and North Point in his constituency.
Kellman did not go into details, however, about the kind of development he was proposing or the time frame for bringing the projects to fruition, only suggesting that hosting mass events would be possible as a result.
The Government representative said he had already spoken to Minister of Culture and Sport Stephen Lashley about the possibility of having St Lucy play host to more cultural events.
“It is large enough to hold a substantial number of people and we have cultural events there and also sporting events, because you have the playing field, you have the park and you have the beach,” Kellman said in relation to Archer’s Bay, adding that the area could also be used for Crop Over events.
Turning his attention to North Point, Kellman said he had also asked Lashley to “enquire and acquire” property there to carry out projects that could promote culture as well as tourism.
“So we will continue to ensure that we empower the north and bring projects. They are not going to be all large projects. . . It is those small projects that will create the great multiplier effect,” said Kellman, while stressing that there were tremendous opportunities for community-based tourism and cultural activities in both St Lucy and St Peter.
Alluding to past plans for developing the abandoned
St Joseph Hospital, the former Almond property and the old U.S. naval base in the north of the island, Kellman accused the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) of ignoring those projects over the years due to a lack of foresight.
However, he said no matter what was said or done by the BLP, “it will not stop us” from going forward with planned projects for the area.
The St Lucy MP argued that community based tourism activities were not being adequately captured in the national tourism figures and, therefore, the true amount of tourist spend was much more than what was being perceived.
“So you understand that if we want to develop tourism, the north of the island has to play a significant role in that development because it is these areas that have the services to propel and increase the foreign exchange and foreign reserves because you cannot only think about bed nights. You have to think about the additional spend. And that is what we have been doing,” said Kellman.
“It is okay to bring a million people to Barbados but if it is not touching the masses of people in Barbados, it is not going to create the economic activity,” he added.