Government Senator Patrick Todd has no time for prophets of doom and gloom.
In fact, he prefers to listen to those whose vision is for a Barbados that is a bountiful country where unemployment will fall to single digit levels with the construction of additional accommodation along the Needham’s Point Peninsula/Carlisle Bay beachfront.
Todd gave this upbeat prediction Wednesday in the Senate while throwing his support behind a Government guarantee of a loan of $17.625 million for Barbados Conference Services Ltd from The First Citizens Bank, (Barbados) Ltd.
While dismissing suggestions that a renovated Government Headquarters should be transformed into a hotel, the former Member of Parliament for The City expects many spin off tourism benefits from the planned development of the Needham’s Point Peninsula/Carlisle Bay area, stretching right down to Brandons, St Michael.
“The Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy would have said that his ministry is actively looking at the possibility of constructing a massive conference facility in this area,” said Todd, while acknowledging that meetings, incentives, conferences and events constituted a lucrative aspect of the tourism industry worldwide.
“I remember just a few years ago attending a conference at one of Disney Hotels in Orlando, Florida, where there was a corridor of nearly 70 metres long and on either side of that corridor were conference facilities. The conferences were fully subscribed. The conference centres were holding 2,500 delegates comfortably,” Todd said, adding that with facilities of this size Barbados would be in a better position to attract business.
He also spoke of the Government’s tourism development plans for the area saying, “What we are looking at are thousands of jobs being created as hundreds of hotel rooms are built along this area and other parts of the island. There will be jobs in the construction phase and also to facilitate the day to day running of the hotel plants,” said Todd, who envisages thousands of visitors participating in guided tours, patronizing bars, rum shops and the village shops in Nelson Street, Baxter’s Road, Tudor Street, the Bayland and other areas in the City centre.
“It will be a win-win situation. There will be a trickle down effect where much more money will be circulating in the country and therefore I do not have room for the prophets of doom and gloom.
“I see a bountiful Barbados, a Barbados where unemployment will go to single digit levels as we seek to really propel the economy forward,” Todd explained.