COVID-19 update and press conference – January 14, 2021. (PMO)

Barbadians would want satisfaction if they purchased a good or service and it was not up to par, and visitors to Barbados deserve the same.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley conveyed this message last evening during a COVID-19 update to the nation, as she sought to explain why it was fair that visitors who had been inconvenienced, as a result of not receiving their COVID-19 test results in the specified time frame, should be compensated.

Ms. Mottley said Government took the decision to offer a refund for accommodation and a return trip to Barbados to visitors who had come to see what the island has to offer, and were unable to do so because of being quarantined at their accommodation due to the backlog in testing. 

“How do we believe that we know that we’ve done something that falls short of what it should be, and that we should just turn our face away and do not offer any form of satisfaction …. especially in circumstances where in many instances, those persons would not have budgeted, nor would not have the funds to be able to pay …. That’s not the school that I was brought up in; that’s not the Barbados that I know and that’s not the person that I am,” Ms. Mottley stressed.

She explained that the proposed amount of money to be disbursed on refunds for accommodation and return trips was within Government’s financial capacity to facilitate because it would be negotiating bulk rates.  

“As Minister of Finance, when we’ve done the numbers the numbers are within our capacity …. I want to be able to say to you that for us to buy tickets for 400 persons to return to Barbados … is not going to be the same thing that you are going to pay as an individual, to a tour operator or to an airline,” she said.

The Prime Minister also noted: “It is because we recognise that we may not always be able to control when something bad happens, either from a natural disaster, or from our own actions, and what we can always control, my friends, is how we treat people, and we simply do not feel that a person should have to source, pay a lawyer, in order to be able to do the right thing.”

Ms. Mottley also pointed out that the effort to do the right thing would help to repair Barbados’ Brand, which is very important. 

She highlighted one of the ripple effects the damage to Barbados’ brand would cause, by indicating that at least one person in every family is connected to a business that provides a good or service in the tourism industry, as was seen last year in the number of persons who became unemployed.

She added that the cost to offer reimbursements to visitors could not compare to Government obtaining electronic advertising on CNN, BBC, ABC, CBS NBC, or buying ads in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the London Times or the Toronto Sun, in order to repair Barbados’ Brand. 

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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