Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds. (FP)

A government minister is calling for a rethink of the way business is done in St. Lawrence Gap, if the popular south coast entertainment night spot is to realise its true potential as an entertainment centre for the country.

Speaking during the official opening of Primo Bar & Bistro on Monday night, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds, lamented that the tourism industry was a sector, that in some instances, had been taken for granted and “perhaps nowhere else is it as clear as right here in St. Lawrence Gap”.

He observed: “We have to use this opportunity to rethink those things that we have been doing here in Gap. If this is going to be an entertainment centre for Barbados, then we have to confront some of the challenges that we tend to sweep under the rug and pretend that they don’t exist. As recently as last week, we had this discussion in Cabinet, and I want to thank the Prime Minister for her willingness to facilitate and prioritise some of the changes which we need to confront.”

The Tourism Minister reasoned that St. Lawrence Gap, which is marketed as an entertainment centre to the world, could not co-exist with irritants, such as harassment, especially of females, and drugs sold in the gap by repeat offenders, and issues surrounding sanitation and general cleanliness of the area.

“This is an environment that is multi-purpose. People are resident here and it is also an entertainment centre, and therefore, the way in which we deal with noise and managing that effectively is something that we have to face and fix,” Mr. Symmonds stressed.

The Minister told his audience, which included Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, and other government ministers, that the island could not go into the post COVID-19 era with the same challenges that confronted it before the pandemic.

Mr. Symmonds pointed out that a rebranded St. Lawrence Gap would be a centre that “the throughput is full of energy, full of excitement, a wonderful place for excellent nightlife and entertainment, and a place that we can comfortably come to play, eat, drink and stay”.  

Ultimately, the Minister said, the Gap must be seen as more than just hotels and restaurants, and expressed optimism at incorporating sporting activities as well, based on calls from visitors to have more local sporting and recreational activities.

Mr. Symmonds described the reopening of Primo as fitting right into Government’s redevelopment plan for the Gap, and thanked the owners for playing a role in enhancing the tourism product for locals and visitors.

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