Government and the private sector are being urged to make a bigger commitment to efforts to revitalise Bridgetown.
Commerce Minister, Donville Inniss made this plea after a tour of Cave Shepherd???s newly-upgraded Broad Street flagship store on Wednesday afternoon.
While thanking shareholders, staff and management for constantly investing in the 109-year-old retailer, Mr. Inniss said their action ought to send a signal to many others around Barbados that it was the right time ???to invest in plant, equipment and people???.
He further contended that if Cave Shepherd had faith in the island, then so should Barbadians as well.
Querying the purpose of individuals spending money on upgrades and renovations and then still unable to drive people to come into Bridgetown to shop, the Minister said such persons would not see any returns on their investments.
???Whilst others may talk about Warrens being a city centre and Wildey and other parts, I firmly believe that Bridgetown has such a historical, cultural, socio and political significance in this island, that we are duly bound to maintain Bridgetown as a vibrant city.
???What do I believe needs to be done to transform Bridgetown and make it a shopping mecca again and drive more traffic in here? Firstly, it must look like a place that people would wish to come to???I will be honest and say it is beginning to look drab and dreary. I see too many buildings with broken windows and doors that are in dire need of a paint job,??? he charged.
He stressed that creative ways must therefore be found between Government, the private sector and civil society to bring the City alive and make it look like a place that people would want to work and shop.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cave Shepherd, John Williams, commended the project team on the upgrades, as well as the minimal disruption customers faced.
The CEO disclosed that the renovations included half of the roof being covered with photo voltaic panels, as well as replacing the entire air conditioning plant to energy efficient units. All floor, ceiling and lighting treatments were also upgraded to LED lighting.
Four Otis escalators were also installed as part of the two-year, multimillion-dollar redevelopment project that involves a complete makeover of the 83,000 square foot store by 2016.??