BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Minister of culture, youth and sport, Stephen Lashley, has responded to an article by Julia Bradshaw in the Telegraph newspaper in Britain that stated “Barbados stinks”, as she described the extent of the current sewage problem plaguing the country that the government has not yet come to grips with.
Bradshaw, who was also a one time resident of Barbados, went on to state that this “is a symptom of the incompetence and perceived corruption of the current administration” led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s Democratic Labour Party (DLP), which she claims Barbadians have dubbed the “do-little government”.
Lashley called the article “slanderous” and called into question its timing and tone, pointing the finger at opposition party forces and other political operatives who he feels are behind it.
The Telegraph article went on to deride the Barbados government for its economic mismanagement, citing economic indicators have deteriorated over the past few years.
Bradshaw claimed that foreign exchange reserves are down to less than six weeks of imports, and that “the fiscal deficit is also soaring, foreign direct investment has plummeted…” along with “economic growth has come to a virtual standstill…” and “the country’s credit status has been downgraded to junk in recent weeks, and still the government takes no action.”
She also claimed that: “Because of the stench, tourists are leaving. Many who have not yet arrived are cancelling flights. ‘Snow birds’ – people who come to Barbados every winter to escape the cold and are among the country’s biggest fans – are talking about going elsewhere next year.”
However, preliminary estimates of tourist arrivals up to March, 2018 from the Barbados Hotel Association are not available and there is no way to confirm whether or not Bradshaw’s comments are accurate.
The government, as well as the Central Bank of Barbados, expect a robust tourism year in 2018 and have factored that into their economic forecasts.