Safety First

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Implications Of The 2008 Change Of Government For The Mullins Bay Area

It has been just over a week since the new DLP administration came to power in Barbados and although we are still in the early days of their honeymoon we can still safely make some assumptions about the likely implications of this change on the Mullins Bay area for at least the next five (5) years. Even though there is a long history in Barbados of successive BLP/DLP governments criticizing each other’s projects and plans while in Opposition but “carrying them on” in Government this time around we will probably see some changes particularly in tourism development since the DLP was so strident in its concerns about “ad hoc” villa development pushing the price of land beyond the means of many Barbadians.

Consequently, it is hard to see them carrying forward plans for Warleigh Golf & Villas as conceptionalized by the previous administration through the BTI (Barbados Tourism Investment) whether or not that government agency survives. Firstly, its proximity to other high-profile ongoing and/or expanding inland villa projects like Lakes/Mt. Brevitor, Black Bess, Apes Hill, Sugar Hill and Westmoreland is probably going to be a problem - too close not to raise eyebrows. And, secondly, it falls in the constituencies of St. Peter and St. James North which remain firmly (some might say) in hands of the BLP - the former ruling party. If it is not completely sunk for the former reason, the latter ought to ensure its re-emergence in a more government-friendly location somewhere else on the island.

For the above reasons a similar fate probably also awaits the plan to transform Queen Street, Speightstown a mile north of Mullins into the St. Lawrence Gap of the West Coast. This plan would have given the area a real nightlife as well as providing west coast guests, particularly those staying in the north of the area, another dining and entertainment alternative to First and Second Streets, Holetown, to say nothing about cutting out the tiresome journey to Bridgetown, St. Lawrence and the South Coast.

However, whether or not government is involved in setting up the infrastructure, locals in the area are recognizing the opportunities and setting up their own bars and grills with “Karaoke Nights” and are being patronized by visitors and locals alike. Two opened in Road View in the past year alone and one restaurant in Battaleys saw major renovation and expansion. The fact that locals are seizing the day and are not sitting around waiting for the new government to come up with its “Tourism Masterplan” means that the area is set to move forward with or without the government even if it chooses to be a taillight rather than a headlight on the bandwagon.

One area though that Mullins Bay desperately needs the leadership of the new government is that of beach erosion which continues to be a major problem in the area. King Beach once the beach on which the DLP’s patron saint - The Right Excellent Errol Barrow - built a beach house and resorted to regularly while leading the island to independence and nationhood has already been washed away. Other beaches in the area are in various stages of suffering the same fate. The previous government had plans of tackling Holetown’s beaches after the current south coast restoration project. Notwithstanding the urgency of Holetown, it is the hope of this blogger that the beaches in the Mullins area also feature prominently in the “tourism master planning” of the new government.

1. St. Peter's Bay Condos (under construction). 2. Battleys Mews (opening soon). 3. Mullins Beach Mews (construction starting soon). 4. Woodpecker Apts. (construction starting soon). 5. Mullins Ridge (Proposed). 6. Banyan Tree Black Bess (under construction). 7. Apes Hill Club (under construction). 8. Royal Westmoreland (expanding).
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