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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Dubaification Of Barbados: Road to riches or Faustian bargain?


Palm Jumeirah off Dubai


One of the proposals announced earlier this month in the first budget of the new DLP Government in Barbados is the creation of "offshore islands and marinas for yachts" to help satisfy the demand for beachfront land for tourism development. The proposal is not new since only last year the then Deputy Prime Minister, now Opposition Leader, mentioned it in connection with the passage of the national strategic development plan. It is curious now that she has not given the current initiative a wholehearted embrace. Of course, back then many who are now on the government benches were at best sniggering when she presented it or outright labeling the entire strategic development plan as not even worth the paper it was printed on as indeed it was described by their intrepid leader, the current Prime Minister and now new champion of the Dubaification of Barbados. As the saying goes - the more things change the more they remain the same.


click photo to enlarge


The massive land reclamation projects the likes of which were hitherto never seen in Barbados or perhaps even the New World, we learned from the Prime Minister that deep-pocketed local and international investors and developers are already lined up to start the digging and the filling. No further details were given by the PM in his 1-page statement (see photocopy above) except that it is all going to cost the Government and the people of Barbados - zip, zero, nada. It will all come out of the pockets of the aforementioned local and international investors. Again, as the saying goes, "if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is," but even if we give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt on the funding, we still have not even begun to count the tremendous environmental, sociological and other costs involved here. A project(s) of this magnitude will fundamentally change Barbados forever. Are we ready for those changes?

For example, it was widely rumored in the last election campaign that the new government plans to introduce casino gambling to Barbados. Without going into all the allegations, it is quite obvious that placing the casinos on the "islands" would immediately outmaneuver the anti-casino gambling lobby in Barbados; but the "mainland" will still have to live with the costs and consequences. The Prime Minister promises to go about his tasks with prudence and care but we all know only too well that coming from a politician usually translates as expedience, and we also know the latter is usually very, very costly.
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1 comment:

  1. You should find this interesting: http://digg.com/travel_places/Dubai_Palm_Jumeirah_the_Eighth_Blunder_of_the_World

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