Manager of Welchman Hall Gully Debra Branker is decrying recent vandalism at the natural heritage site.
She said over the weekend, people made their way into the St Thomas gully and destroyed several signs and removed others from their places.
“Somebody came through and did the most damage I have seen in one day this weekend. It was more than normal this weekend,” Branker said.
According to the manager, in recent times, management of the gully has also been tackling the issue of garbage being thrown into the natural habitat and persons carving names and signs on the tree barks. Barbados TODAY understands that the garbage includes a rusted car engine and drink bottles which appear to have rolled into the gully from the higher elevations.
The manager explained that when the gully is closed, there is no security to observe what is happening at the site.
“During the lockdown the gully has actually been okay. However, last week a group of people came through and they literally destroyed a couple signs, picking up the number signs and throwing them. We found a couple but we have lost maybe five. Right now, because of the current position the gully is closed during the week and opened up during the weekend and I cannot replace the signage.
“Now when people walk through, a good ten to 15 per cent of the signs are gone. Another issue I am having is something I have noticed since the lockdown and that is more garbage is coming down from the sides of the gully from residential areas and I find that very disturbing.
“I have heard people dumping glass and tiles and I couldn’t see where it was coming from because of the trees. Another issue I am having with vandalism and I am thinking they are kids more than anything else but they like to write their names all over the trees. I often say to kids during the tours that it is like me coming to your house and writing ‘Debra was here on your dining table. It is not cool’,” Branker said.
While giving Barbados TODAY a tour of the location to show the damages, the manager said with a significant reduction in tourist arrivals the gully is not making the revenue as it should and management is therefore unable to replace the signs at this time.
Branker said while she has been observing the Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins visiting a number of tourist attractions in recent weeks, she believes it is important to show that there are persons who have no regard or respect for some of these attractions.
“My main reason for calling the press is just to get it out there that vandalism hurts the attraction and we are all suffering right now. This is just lawlessness. It is irreplaceable. I have to admit that it was very disheartening walking through and seeing all of the signs down.
“Some people came through and they were wondering where the nutmeg grove was because that was one of the signs that came down. We just want people to know that it is happening and to keep their eyes and ears opened for things like this because it is not easy and it is not going to get easier right now,” she said.
Branker said she intends to make a complaint to health authorities about her growing concern of the increase in loose garbage getting into the attraction site.