It was recently designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
Bridgetown and its historic Garrison won the international acclaim on account of its outstanding British colonial architecture consisting of a well-preserved old town built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
However, these pictures, taken by a group of visitors, tell a totally different story.
The group of mostly first-time visitors to the island was led on a tour of the capital city on New Year’s Day by Jim Webster, a Bajan-Canadian, who is back home for his annual winter break.
To his surprise and embarrassment, they were greeted with piles of unsightly rubbish that left them feeling disgusted.
In an email to Barbados TODAY, Webster, a former employee of the then Seawell Air Services said his first thought was to “send the picture to the Guardian [newspaper] because it seems that the Barbados Government only takes action when things get into the foreign press”.
However, he decided not to go that route, even though his concern was such that he felt the situation needed to be highlighted and he immediately turned to Barbados TODAY.
“Dear Editor, [Yesterday] I took first-time visitors to Bridgetown. I was shocked and embarrassed by the amount of garbage and the state of disrepair along the walkway between the ZR bus stand and Bridgetown. There was garbage along the whole route,” he said in an email, to which was attached the necessary photographic proof.
Webster also expressed concern that garbage and litter seem to be everywhere on the island, adding, “We need to put away the rose coloured glasses. Barbados can be better than this.
“As someone who loves Barbados I feel saddened to see the lack of respect people seem to have for this once lovely land. Sadly, it wouldn’t take much to clean it up. Bajans, the Government and tourists need to quit littering and then there needs to be a concentrated effort to clean the place up. If we all did our share we could have this place looking better again . . . first we need to find the will to take the first steps,” he added.
When asked to elaborate on the matter, he expressed concern that while “there is a real problem coming from above at the level of the Government . . . at a lower level, Barbadians and tourists seem to have lost respect for this land.
“Unfortunately, when tourists see garbage then they think this is the normal and then they litter too,” Webster said, while urging Barbadians to lead by example.
He warned that “the garbage fairy is not going to clean this mess up,” adding that “the garbage is one thing, but the maintenance on what was recently a showpiece walkway is now non-existent.
“The whole island and Government buildings seem to be in a state of decay. It is like there are no street cleaners or maintenance personal working for the Government.
“Governments and management must lead by example. That is not happening. It would take one or two hard working individuals one day of conscious effort to clean up that strip. The job isn’t huge but nobody is doing it.
“Sweeping stuff in a pile and not carrying away doesn’t cut it,” he added.
Today Barbados TODAY contacted Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe for a response to Webster’s concerns. However, Lowe directed us to the Sanitation Service Authority whose acting General Manager Roslyn Knight said she would have to look into the matter.