“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:30-31

Whatever lens through which we view life whether (1) individual (spiritual, mental and physical health); (2) family (the nucleus around which society is built); (3) business (the driver of economic growth); (4) nation (if the nation wins, we all win); or (5) regional (unity is strength), we must be as positive as we can be throughout 2023.  

May all your prayers be answered and may thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I have been in Barbados for the last 10 days of 2022 having not been here for eight months which, apart from the COVID-19 lock down, is unusual for me. Medical visits, continuing my partner Judy’s special birthday celebration, reunions with family and friends, meeting colleagues on seasonal and special visits, interacting with random individuals, looking after business interests, and being inspired by the tranquil and serene ambiance that is Barbados. I have extended my stay twice already for one reason or another.

One of the highlights of my visit was an invitation to lunch by my long-standing friend Professor Sir Henry Fraser. He presented me with a copy of his latest book “Did you know – People, Places & Untold Stories of Historic Barbados”. We covered a number of topics but there was one of mutual interest which I would like to share.

His letter of invitation to lunch went something like this:

“Dear Basil … I just read your column about an entertainment centre. Sometimes I despair when “No-brainer” opportunities simply can’t get any traction, and are ignored by government when they hold the keys.

“Prison museums are star attractions all over the world … there are more than 100 … and most receive a thousand visitors a day or more … some as many as a million a year … Alcatraz, Sing Sing and many others – Alacatraz ranks with Disney and the Grand Canyon.

“I have visited a number (of prisons) and prepared pro bono, a 25-page proposal for government to long lease Glendairy for a peppercorn rent to a private developer as the kind of multi-faceted entertainment centre, like some other prison museums … the amazing buildings and cells and gallows, and use for shops, restaurants, playgrounds and entertainment of many kinds, on 14 acres!

“No cost to government, and many attractions will require little or no expenditure … I got a little way in persuading the last government to act on it, and they held a big ceremonial function to close it and opened the doors to visitors for a Saturday from 9 to 3 … People queued and 500 went through! 

“(It was) finally vested (in this government) in Tourism Development (Corporation), a year ago (but) no action since. I attach my document for your perusal and invite you to promote it … No cost to government, and two private entities in Barbados were interested!”

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) recently called to develop attractions and activities to respond to the influx of cruise visitors expected to the region this winter season and beyond.

It is time to open the doors of enlightenment and set free the kind of limited thinking that has continued to hinder our progress as a nation and a region.

Happy New Year to one and all!

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