Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, is calling for cultural activities to transform Bridgetown from a “sleepy city” after hours to a hive of vibrant night life.
Speaking to the media following a walk-through of Bridgetown where he interacted with vendors plying their wares on Swan Street and Marhill Street, he said the City was “dying before our eyes” and disclosed that his Ministry would be reaching out to the Ministry of Culture to come up with an entertainment package for shoppers.
“I was the Minister who brought Festive Fridays to revive Pelican on Friday evenings and we have to have night markets… We have to have bustling in the City, where people can have some musical entertainment and make Bridgetown a place where people want to be and keep it open and alive after 4:30 p.m.
“That is the only way in which we are going to come out of this crisis, by making sure that Barbadians can find things to do, entertainment to participate in and help us lift each other out of the mess that has been inflicted on us by COVID-19,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, President of the Barbados Association of Vendors and Retailers (BARVEN), Allister Alexander, thanked Government for improved relations with the sector, adding that there was steady progress towards a fair deal for vendors.
“This is a historic struggle and BARVEN will never give up. We will continue to fight this struggle and we have allies in power that are listening to the people and have come to the rescue of their own heritage. We are looking forward to the completion of the Vending Policy that also takes out all of the archaic aspects of vending regulations.
We thank the Minister for caring enough to come on the ground and come among the vendors to see actually what the conditions are and we are certain that we, collectively, would be able to work through these issues and bring resolution. BARVEN’S philosophy is finding solutions through consultation as opposed to confrontation,” he stated.
Head of the Bridgetown Revitalisation Committee for the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Eddy Abed, expressed concern about the vacant shop spaces in Bridgetown. He also mentioned concerns regarding cleanliness and poor lighting of the streets and the need for improved patrols. Mr. Abed said Bridgetown must be attractive and welcoming to our visitors.