Government Senator Andre Worrell has charged that development projects conceived under the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) are consistently being “blocked” by people trying to derail the efforts of Government, well-intentioned groups and investors.
“It is no secret that there are persons in this country who want to see this DLP Government fail. They wished it from 2008.
“There are political activists against us and businessmen who don’t support us,” he charged, while making his contribution to debate on the Appropriations Bill 2017 yesterday.
It was within this context that the senator rehashed details of a deal between the previous Barbados Labour Party administration and the then Barbados Shipping and Trading (BS&T) to set up the Pierhead Development Project more than a decade ago.
Quoting the September 20, 2005 edition of Hotel Executive – a publication for tourism industry officials – Worrell reminded that Bridgetown was to be transformed into a prime real estate for marinas and condominiums with the construction of a five-star, 200-room Le Meridien hotel.
While questioning why that project had failed to get off the ground, he demanded to know why there was stiff opposition to the proposed $100 million Hyatt Centric resort on Lower Bay Street.
“We have to ask the question, ‘why didn’t [the Le Meridien] hotel open in 2010 . . . . Was it because the Government changed in 2008? Did that stop the project or were there other factors involved? We need to ask those questions.
“Why is it that there is so much opposition and resistance to a similar project that is coming in the exact same area, that would bring the exact same benefits of redeveloping Bridgetown and bring life to the capital City? Why is it that we must have so much opposition to that? Is it because the Government changed? Is it because we don’t want any good to happen under the Democratic Labour Party, or is it because we only have a select few who must be able to see economic benefit in Barbados?” Worrell asked.
Although he did not mention anyone by name, his comment seemed to directed at political activist David Comissiong, former Member of Parliament for The City Dame Billie Miller and members of the Barbados National Trust, who have been bitterly opposed to the Hyatt construction in the heart of Bridgetown and its historic Garrison, which is a world heritage site.
As Comissiong prepares to challenge the matter in court, Worrell warned that the country could not move forward unless all were willing to move pass “the parochial political pandering to a nationalistic discussion on sustainable development in Barbados.
“We need to focus on things that will help to take this country forward,” he stressed amid demands for public consultation and a full environmental impact assessment to be conducted before the multi-million dollar development proceeds.