Monday, June 23, 2008

Brian Lara In On Apes Hill

Every few months we go through these exercises where Sir Charles boasts to the press about how well land sales to foreigners are doing at Apes Hill. Today’s article in the Nation about Apes Hill is no exception as he seems to relish the free publicity to hawk his project with the usual name-dropping of one or two of his celebrity clients. This time around it is former West Indies cricket captain - Brian Lara. I suppose Lara should feel right at home at Apes Hill as neighbor of England’s cricket captain - Michael Vaughn, whose name Sir Charles also dropped last year.

So, basically, we have learned nothing really new about Apes Hill from this exercise. We already know (according to Mac Fingall) that “Barbados belongs to Trinidad” so there is no real surprise that Trinidadians are the majority land owners at Apes Hill. Bajans still cannot fish off Tobago without being arrested even though we took the Trinidadians to international court over it, but Trinidadians can apparently buy whatever they want in Barbados including Shipping & Trading and the vast majority of Apes Hill. I suppose it helps when they own the very bank - Barbados National Bank - bankrolling the enterprise. Hey, I am not knocking regional integration, but at a time when there is an obvious crisis for access to land for housing for Barbadians is it too much to ask for a little fairness on the part of Trinidadians and the Bajans who are facilitating them?

We all know and understand that Barbados needs the foreign exchange and tourism development is the way to get it, but the critical question continues to be - at what costs? We have already lost the south and west coasts and now with these huge land-grabbing inland developments like Royal Westmoreland, Sandy Lane, Apes Hill, Lion Castle, Sugar Hill and Black Bess it looks like the very heart of the country is being ripped out. Do we really need more gated communities like Port St. Charles which cannot even successfully support a single restaurant, and maintenance people have to be walking around turning on showers every few weeks just so they would work for the two or three weeks of the entire year when the apartments are occupied?

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