A horrible stench and murky waters are not enough to drive visitors Dwain and Lizette Bell away from Barbados.
However, the Canadian couple is appealing to local authorities to take ownership of the situation on the south coast and deal with it promptly.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY this evening following a day of exploring, the loyal tourists, who have been visiting the island for the past 12 years, advised the powers that be not to wash their hands of the dirty and “unfortunate” situation.
“The situation is just unfortunate. Someone is not taking responsibility for what happened. I think someone needs to take responsibility for what is happening. The fact that someone is quoted in the newspaper as saying it isn’t sewage going in there to me is the wrong thing to say. Say it’s unfortunate, say we’re investigating, and say we are going to look into fixing it. Don’t wash your hands of it. Take ownership of it.
“This is a country that survives on tourism, and by doing that it makes you wonder what else is there behind the scenes that you are not seeing if you peel it back. And it makes you think what can you really trust of the Government,” Lizette said, making clear she also reflected her husband’s sentiments.
She said they love Barbados and they would keep visiting. However, she said the entire raw sewage issue made them rethink a decision to buy a home here. She also cautioned Government not to make decisions that would turn people away.
“We have talked a lot over the years about buying a place here and our friend Russell, who is from here originally, has thought about buying a place here and that has put him off. If you’ve got a natural resource that your country relies on then you need to protect it and use it to your advantage; don’t abuse it because you think people are not paying attention and not looking at it,” she stressed.
For the husband and wife, Barbados feels like home and they talk about the island and its people with a degree of passion found in those with an emotional attachment to the country.
They have brought their children and grandchildren here twice for Christmas, and they said they felt comfortable here.
It was for this reason they found the episode troubling, Lizette said.
“I don’t feel bad for myself or for our experience, I feel for the others. If this were happening down at Sandals, something would have been done immediately; if this were on the west coast where all the big resorts are, something would be happening. But this is a local area where people have guesthouses and have visitors here over and over again. It’s those people I feel for. The guy who has the beds and the umbrellas on the beach, he’s suffering. He says he is not because he still lives in a beautiful place, but he isn’t earning his income. The restaurants by the road that have the bad smell by them, those are the people I feel for, they are here and trying to make ends meet,” she stressed.
The couple, from Vancouver, Canada, is staying at an apartment in Worthing, Christ Church, the epicentre of the problem. They have seen the drama unfold, and do not believe the authorities that the sewage had not seeped into the sea.
“It’s just a shame what’s happening. The smell is awful. I know what a swamp smells like and that’s not swamp we are smelling. That sewage going in there and the colour that it was, and seeing the black line just going through the water, it’s just a shame seeing it all,” she told Barbados TODAY.
The Bells return to Canada on Saturday after a two-week stay. They have not allowed the situation to cripple their holiday, taking the opportunity to explore the island.
“The experience with the ocean is the negative part of it and it’s more because we love the area so much . . . . I love to swim so my ritual is usually to swim back and forth between the rocks and really build up my strength while I’m here. Then we also spend a lot of time down on the beach just hanging out and relaxing.
“This time the ocean isn’t good so it has given us the opportunity to go out exploring. We have walked to Oistins twice to pick up our fish, we have walked into Bridgetown, yesterday we walked to Carlisle Bay and today we went to Accra Beach. So we really had the chance to explore a bit more, and see more. We have liked it very much,” she explained.