Submitted by DAVID A. COMISSIONG , President, Peoples Empowerment Party
On Tuesday 26th July 2016 — Barbados’ “Day of National Significance” — notorious Barbadian businessman Mark Maloney, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, and one Patrick Mc Cudden, senior Vice President of the American multi-national company known as Hyatts Hotel and Resorts staged a so-called “signing ceremony” and informed the Barbadian people that in two months time Hyatts Hotel and Resorts will be commencing the construction of a massive fifteen (15) storey hotel at Carlisle Bay, Lower Bay Street, within the precincts of the UNESCO designated world heritage site of historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, and abutting Barbadians beloved Browne’s Beach.
The foreign businessman, Patrick Mc Cudden, also informed the people of Barbados that all senior management positions at the new hotel will be filled by “expatriates” ! (Apparently, we Barbadians are only qualified to hold low level jobs in this Hyatt hotel!)
In addition, the notorious Mark Maloney advised the Barbadian people that this massive 15 storey hotel is just the beginning of a proliferation of new hotel development in Carlisle Bay!
Well, this is the social disaster that I have been trying to warn my fellow Barbadians about over the past four and a half years!
As long ago as the 20th of February 2012 I issued a Press Release entitled “After Skeete’s Bay, Browne’s Beach Is Next“, in which I tried to warn Barbadians about an impending plan to construct a number of foreign, “brand name” hotels up and down the length of our beloved Brown’s Beach.
In the public interest I now offer the text of that Press Release for re-publication:–
“As a result of a protest launched by Mac Fingall, Stedson Wiltshire, and other residents of St Philip, the eyes of the Barbadian people are fixed on Skeete’s Bay!
But the Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) wishes to warn the citizens of Barbados that an even more prominent and culturally important beach is in danger of being taken away from native Barbadians and turned into an enclave for wealthy, white North American and European tourists! We refer to none other than Brown’s Beach – the world famous Brown’s Beach that extends across the length of Carlisle Bay in the parish of St Michael.
All Barbadians know Browne’s Beach. It is reputed to be one of the finest beaches in the world, and, along with Brandon’s Beach, is the beach of choice of the black, working-class people of Barbados.
It is also a beach that is famous in the native literature of Barbados. Our very own national poet laureate – Kamau Brathwaite – virtually grew up on Brown’s beach, and was so shaped by this experience that Brown’s Beach became the spiritual and cultural source and centre of a number of his most important poems.
Go to Browne’s Beach any time of the day and any day of the week, and you will find hundreds of black Barbadians communing with each other, and enjoying this magnificent and priceless component of their birth-right. Indeed, many Barbadians will tell you that Brown’s Beach is their health spa and doctor combined together, for it is the place where they escape from the stresses of life and rejuvenate their spirits.
It is against this background that we in the PEP were recently shocked to learn that one or more business consultants are currently engaged in developing a plan to offer up Browne’s Beach as the location for a number of foreign, brand-name hotel companies to construct opulent five star hotels on this most loved of Barbadian beaches!
The President of the PEP has actually spoken to one of the consultants, and heard the same type of unedifying and self-serving rationalizations that the Canadian capitalist – Paul Doyle – has advanced in relation to the Skeete’s Bay project. According to these people, we Barbadians should be willing to let go of national assets like Brown’s Beach because we are dependent on foreign exchange, and foreign companies are well equipped to market their properties internationally and to bring additional thousands of precious tourists to our shores.
All of these capitalist businessmen talk as though the people of Barbados only exist on the material plane – as though we Barbadians are similar to pigs whose only purpose in life is to be fattened! They all seem to overlook that we are human beings with spiritual, cultural and psychological yearnings and needs!
Well, before this private sector driven idea of turning over Browne’s Beach to “foreign brand-name hotels” gets any further, the PEP is hereby firing a warning shot across the bow of our Ministry of Tourism, and indeed, across the bow of the entire Cabinet. And we are telling them that Browne’s Beach is much too sacred to the native people of Barbados for us to stand idly by and permit it to become an alien zone that is effectively off limits to us.
As it is, we Barbadian people are already sharing Browne’s Beach with a sizeable number of North American and European tourists. And we are happy to do so. But a balance must be maintained, and Browne’s Beach must never be permitted to become one of your typical West Coast beaches – beaches that native Barbadians feel no longer belong to them!
Furthermore, the time has come when we Barbadians must consciously set out to take firm control of our nation, and mould it in accordance with our own ideas, needs and predilections.
We have been operating hotels in Barbados for over 200 years now, and we know about the hotel and tourism industry. We don’t need any foreign tutelage! Let us therefore resolve that future hotel and tourism development will, as far as possible, be based in the construction of locally owned hotels, guest houses and related facilities that radiate the unique culture and hospitality of Barbados and Barbadians.
Thus, if there is to be any further tourism related development along Brown’s Bay, let us ensure that it is owned by and evocative of Barbadians. And let Browne’s Beach always remain a place where Barbadians feel at home!”