The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) is again going after clients for outstanding rent.
An official source told Barbados TODAY the Government agency locked out some clients at Pelican Village Craft Centre on Friday due to non-payment of rent.
The under-patronized location, which is likely to go under private management soon, is home to just over two dozen retail shops and over a dozen workshops, a restaurant and bar and an annex with an art gallery.
Barbados TODAY was unable to get an official word from the BIDC authorities or Minister of Industry, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss on the development.
However, at the end of December Inniss had told a BIDC awards ceremony at the Hilton Barbados Resort that tenants owed $15 million in arrears to the agency responsible for promoting and facilitating the establishment and expansion of business here. This was up from $10 million in 2014.
At the time Inniss had warned that unless debtors met their financial commitments to the BIDC, the quality of service they received would deteriorate.
“You have a duty to pay your rent and to pay soon,” Inniss said then.
“If you don’t pay your rent, the corporation may find it difficult to insure the building which you occupy. When you turn up the next morning and find that your place has been broken into, it is the same corporation that you will say should have security on the premises,” he added at the time.
Over the past three years the BIDC had threatened several times to take action against those who continued to renege on their payment arrangements.
One industry player who did not want to be identified told Barbados TODAY the situation was extremely sad, adding that all the storeowners wanted was traffic to the Pelican Village so they could get the required sale to adequately and persistently pay their rent.
“Pelican does not get the traffic at all,” said the source, adding that the vendors tended to make better sales at hotels and other locations.
In fact, the source said some agents of the retailers in Bridgetown were going as far as to encourage tourists coming off the cruise ships to “walk straight to Bridgetown and don’t stop until you get to town”.
“Looking across you don’t even know what is over there. You really don’t know that it is a craft village . . . sadly they don’t get the traffic and they don’t get sales many weeks. When they don’t get money they can’t pay their rent. And this is not the first time . . . we really can’t afford that. They really need sales,” said the source.
The BIDC has about 12 industrial estates across the island comprising 70 commercial buildings and more than 300 separate units in the corporations buildings.