Efforts are in motion to spruce up Oistins Bay Garden, with the tenants and the National Conservation Commission (NCC) working together to make the area a world-class attraction.
Ralph Thorne, Member of Parliament for Christ Church South, the constituency in which Oistins is located, said he had done some mediation between the NCC and those who operate in the Bay Garden in an effort to find common ground and end the conflict and suspicion that has existed between the two sides over the years.
“We have agreed to have a new and more cordial relation between NCC and the tenants. Everybody came away from that meeting feeling happy that we should have a bright future, that the previous frictional relationship between NCC and the tenants should come to an end,” Thorne told Barbados TODAY.
“The NCC is willing to meet its responsibility to maintain a very high standard in relation to… the physical appearance and the substance of the Bay Garden. They have agreed to do remedial work to the Bay Garden, which has started, and we would like this work completed. I have asked the operators themselves to meet their own responsibility in maintaining the physical plan, in working jointly with the NCC.”
Thorne added: “We recognise that Oistins Bay Garden is now Barbados’ leading tourist attraction, and if we are going to be marketing the Bay Garden as Barbados’ leading tourist attraction it must meet the highest standards in terms of its physical attraction and food.”
The improvement work began three weeks ago, with a focus on power washing the area, cleaning drains, and renovation and painting of stalls.
Thorne is working closely with major stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Barbados Fire Service, National Conservation Commission, the vendors of Oistins Bay Garden Incorporated and the Minister of Environment and National Beautification Trevor Prescod.
Describing the remedial work as a welcome relief from ailing problems, president of Oistins Bay Garden Incorporated Patrick Bailey said now the country has reopened since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a lockdown, and flights are expected to arrive this weekend, he wants the place to be to the satisfaction of tourists when they visit.
“You don’t want to come to Oistins and have water settled and that kind of stuff. Really, we hope that in spite of the pandemic you may find a few people travelling, so you still want to have somewhere presentable that people can attend, sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and ambience, what little it is, even the locals,” he said.
“We came together for the benefit of Oistins. It is not something that can be done overnight, but with the help of each entity, we are working for the betterment. We are hoping to get everything finished within a reasonable time frame that the vendors can open up and more or less try to get things as close to normal as possible.”
Manager of Angels Cafeteria Suzette Bispham said she was also hoping to see a return to coal pots and flames burning throughout the Bay Garden.
The proprietor who has been operating there for 24 years, added that the work could not have started at a better time, considering the country had been on lockdown and business had slowed down.
Bispham, a former Oistins Bay Garden Incorporated president, thanked all those involved in the cleanup effort.