Above: Bridgetown (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
What will Barbados’ capital look like in 25 years? In 50 years? What should it become?
“Something needs to be done — if not our capital will collapse,” says Lalu Vaswani, the president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Vaswani, who recently paid a courtesy call on new Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss, says he and other stakeholders have a shared vision on how to see Bridgetown develop over the next 25 to 50 years.
The hope is to see the capital transformed into a city of diversity, operating 24/7 and blending commerce with culture, entertainment, heritage and tourism.
The goal of the Chamber is not to “take over from what anyone else [is] doing,” he says, but to be the driving force to bring together ideas for Bridgetown’s future.
One of the long-term goals being considered is to create a corporation called Bridgetown, Inc, which would be publicly and privately owned by privately driven. The organization could undertake several of the activities that multiple agencies are currently doing, he says.
Following the meeting, Inniss said he expressed interest in such avenues for development, pointing out that the Ministry “was meant to be a facilitator of the expansion of business in Barbados and it was here to help and not to hinder.”
“We have a very open door policy, and we have to be very proactive and very responsive to the needs of the business community,” he says. “This government recognizes and certainly appreciates that it really has to be the private sector that has to really drive this economy forward.”
It’s the private sector, he said, “that takes the baton and runs with it in terms of creating jobs, expanding businesses, creating and saving foreign exchange and all that has to go with it.”