Friday, April 12, 2024

EDITORIAL: Comissiong off target on Hyatt


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SOME THINGS SHOULD best be left alone, but there are others that must never be overlooked.

This is particularly truewhen contemptuous comments are made in public that may stir emotions among people who follow opinion leaders without thinking.

Such is the case with the remarks delivered by political activist and pan-Africanist David Comissiong, who spoke on Monday during Emancipation Day activities.

His opposition to the multimillion-dollar Hyatt Hotel investment is such that he plans to lead protest action against the project. We wonder if it was the occasion which may have contributed to him airing such views. Mr Comissiong is a well-known activist who fights many worthwhile causes.

On this occasion he seems to have picked one for which we dare say, even before he starts, that he is unlikely to get much support. We hold no brief for those behind Vision Development Inc., the developers of the resort, but to denounce it as being bad for the country makes absolutely no sense.

This project did not get the all-clear without meeting a range of stringent stipulations, whether environmental or structural. It will provide much-needed jobs, generate foreign exchange and benefit the economy in other ways. Barbadians and Barbados will be better off as a result.

The argument advanced by Mr Comissiong that the stretch of beautiful beach at Browne’s Beach will be lost to Barbadians once the hotel is built there does not add up. If that argument is applied logically then the same thing should happen in all of Carlisle Bay up to Needham’s Point. But, despite what some may want or how they feel, beaches in Barbados are all public. That is our patrimony.

Mr Comissiong should base his objection on other grounds. He should also appreciate that at a time when the Government is in dire financial straits that private sector investment in any and all sectors must be welcomed.

This country has never been developed thanks to the injection of only state funding, neither has it grown only because of the local private sector investors. Foreign investment and joint ventures between foreign and local business people have always been welcomed.

Even in countries with strict state control of their economies, it has become the norm to accept that the private sector and foreign direct investors are critical to growth. The private sector with its expertise, dynamism and capital is needed to participate increasingly in the economy.

Barbados cannot afford to put impediments in the way of the private sector in these uncertain economic times. Mr Comissiong is admired by many in his role as an unofficial public defender, but he should stick to just causes.


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