Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn has predicted a resurgence in economic and other activity in the Scotland District once the multi-million-dollar rehabilitation of the area’s road network is finished in another four years.
He said on Tuesday that the critical works in “this special part of Barbados”, which makes up one-seventh of the island’s land area, will result in several benefits for the entire country as well.
“I suspect that with this renewed investment by the Government of Barbados into the Scotland District, that once completed we will start to see almost like a renaissance, if you like, with respect to a whole host of activities within the Scotland District,” Straughn said in Parliament as he introduced a resolution to approve the borrowing of $256.6 million from the Export-Import Bank of China to finance the execution of the Scotland District Road Rehabilitation Project.
Explaining some of the benefits of the project, Straughn said the area in the northeast of the country is prime for agricultural development and the improvements there will have ripple effects.
“It is important that from a food security perspective, that we’re able to stabilise the road infrastructure within the Scotland District, which then helps with respect to us being able to attract or allow locals to expand their operations from an agricultural perspective within that area, attract new investment, potentially with respect to not just tourism but equally for locals to be able to do business and know that people can get to and from their businesses or they can get their produce out to the market as appropriate, given that the road infrastructure would be improved. So there are a whole host of reasons why this is absolutely critical at this time,” the Minister said.
He said this specific project is consistent with the Government’s thrust to use capital works to spur growth in the economy.
“As a singular intervention over the next four years, within this space, we’re absolutely confident that with this and the other works that we intend to bring in resolutions to this Chamber to address a number of key areas, would allow us to be able to, over the course of the next four years, without any further disruption . . . to be able to implement the measures we have determined would be appropriate to bring Barbados back,” he added.
Straughn said that through the project, the current government has responded to the needs of residents in a way that no other has done since Barbados became independent.
He said the resolution is intended to “make sure that we change the dynamics and the environment within which they live”.
“And with the continued support and commitment with respect to other public utilities and the capital words that are required to improve their lives, I am absolutely proud that this Barbados Labour Party government will stand tall and proud and have a very strong record of being able to respond to the needs of ordinary citizens where they cannot, on their own, respond.
“I hope and wish that over the course of the next four years as these very, very important works are executed, that . . . in the midst of all of the crises that we are experiencing, that we will be in a position to see brighter and better days for these people within the context of the Scotland District,” Straughn added.
Under the Scotland District Road Rehabilitation Project, 56 roads stretching over 224 kilometres will be improved.