The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is calling for full disclosure from Government about the Harrison’s Cave management deal.
On Tuesday, Caves of Barbados Ltd (CBL) announced that Barbados’ premier attraction will be managed by Chukka Caribbean Adventures (Barbados) Ltd from December 1, 2020.
Today, DLP’s first vice-president and spokesperson on Business and Entrepreneurship Ryan Walters issued a statement challenging the Government to tell all on the arrangement.
“There are more questions than answers and this Government, which campaigned on a platform of integrity and transparency, owes citizens full disclosure,” the statement read.
When the deal was announced, Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins said the country will receive a full update at a media conference planned for November. Walters questioned why the negotiations were going on for such a long time and why Barbadians must wait until next month for the details.
“In May 2019, 18 months ago, Barbados heard via the media that Chukka Caribbean Adventures, a Jamaican tour company, was being given ‘serious consideration’ by the Mottley administration for taking over this national asset,” Walters said.
“At that time, former Tourism Minister Kerrie Symmonds was uncharacteristically tight-lipped. He refused to confirm or deny the reports. He told the media then that . . . Cabinet made a decision (which) is now subject to negotiation with the intended concessionaire, and that negotiations will be done by a college of negotiators . . .”
Yesterday, Barbados TODAY reported that Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Delcia Burke had confirmed that while the union had been informed some workers would get back their jobs, some posts would be abolished.
Walters said there is also major concern about job loss.
“One must also consider the issue of staff since they are likely to find their lives turned upside down in the midst of a pandemic, when work has been cut short at best and nonexistent at worst,” he said.
The DLP’s first vice-president also asked for the names of all of Chukka’s shareholders.
He also wants to know where local companies failed in their efforts to secure the bid.
“Another question must be: What were the areas where the local entities fell down in the proposal phase? Harrison’s Cave is a priceless national treasure in an ecologically sensitive and protected area. This is no time for shadow boxing; the Government needs to just come clean on this issue once and for all,” he said.
Chukka, Jamaica’s largest nature adventure tour operator, was chosen from four bids. (IMC)