Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has thrown his support behind plans by the Freundel Stuart administration to develop the historic Fort Denmark in Speightstown, St Peter as a heritage tourism project.
Government this morning introduced a resolution in Parliament, seeking permission to transfer ownership of the 459 square feet of land from the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTI) to the National Housing Corporation (NHC), which in turn can sell it for the purpose of developing a cultural and heritage tourism project in Speightstown with the potential to expand across the north of the island.
“I am pleased that this parcel of land . . . one of the last remaining pieces of land on the west coast of Barbados, is going to be the subject of development . . . . The vision for Speightstown as a major centre for heritage tourism would benefit Speightstown, the north, and Barbados in general,” Arthur said in his contribution to the debate.
However, the Independent Member of Parliament for St Peter who, as Prime Minister in a former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration had vested the same piece of property in the BTI, said he was opposed to the reversal of that decision.
He therefore sought clarity from Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman on the reason for the change.
At the same time, he asked facetiously, why Kellman was not facing a no confidence motion for seeking a private partnership to develop the property, when the then Opposition Democratic Labour Party had brought one against him for a similar move.
Arthur contended that a tremendous opportunity had been missed over the years because private partners were not courted to develop Speightstown.