Member of Parliament for Christ Church South, Ralph Thorne, says businesses and residents in the constituency are breathing a collective sigh of relief following the re-opening of Worthing
Beach earlier this week.
According to Thorne, the continued closure of the beach would have crippled many businesses this winter tourist season. This morning the MP and noted attorney-at-law told Barbados TODAY that he has been in touch with representatives of restaurants and hotel owners since the announcement and noted that they are all breathing a lot easier.
“If that beach is closed, the viability of the businesses in the area would have diminished by about 90 per cent. That beach adds significant value to those businesses. We are talking about hotels, we are talking about restaurants and you are talking about patrons who go to these places simply because of the beach. That beach is as important as the physical buildings and if the beach had remained closed it would be as good as saying that the hotels and restaurants are closed,” said Thorne.
On Christmas Eve, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams suggested that the three-and-a-half-year-long sewage crisis on the south coast may be at an end, as a new wastewater outfall at Graeme Hall is now up and running.
Abrahams told Barbados TODAY that over the last few days, there was no sewage flowing through the emergency canals of the Graeme Hall swamp. With the new outfall functioning, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources advised that acting on the recommendation of the Ministry of Health and the Environmental Protection Department the beaches in Worthing, which were closed for the last five months, were re-opened to the public for bathing.
However the Christ Church South MP said that while the new outfall has addressed the long running crisis, the damage to Barbados’ reputation still had to addressed.
“The country lost a lot as a result of damage to its reputation. We lost a lot in terms of dignity and self-respect when we had an important area of Barbados polluted by excrement on the street. That was unprecedented in this country, so we all lost,” he said, noting that he was confident that the south coast would recover from the hit. Thorne explained that the allure of the south coast extended beyond the sea, sun and sand, as the hospitality of the people as well as the nocturnal social experiences are major components of the tourism product in that part of the island.
“Tourism in Barbados and particularly on the south coast is about the personality of the Barbadian. We kept our spirits and we remain an extremely hospitable people throughout the ordeal. We have survived that crisis because the south coast has a particular charm that would lure people there despite the crisis,” he stressed.
Earlier this month, Thorne vowed to press the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to quickly rectify the sewage issues affecting Worthing Beach since several businesses in the surrounding area were struggling because of the five-month closure.