Investors are falling over each other to be part of the development of Barbados, says Minister of Housing Denis Kellman.

Stating that the country was “now ready”, Kellman told Sunday night’s Democratic Labour Party’s St Lucy branch meeting that after Barbadians had been repeatedly told that nobody wanted to invest here, investors were “now tumbling over each other for every project that we got in Barbados”.

He told those gathered at his constituency office in Pie Corner that the much-delayed Four Seasons Resort project was in particularly high demand by investors.

“Imagine everybody wants the Four Seasons project! There are about five or six people who bid, and people telling you that Barbados is not a good place? The biggest problem in Barbados now is that we have billions of dollars in the bank earning no money,” he added.

Kellman, who has been representing St Lucy for 20 years, therefore called on Barbadians to invest in some aspect of productivity and not be “left behind and have no footstep in the development of Barbados”.

“If you do that, outsiders will come and get all the benefits and we will have the money in the bank getting nothing. Money does not grow in a bank. Instead of you forking up the land and growing some vegetables, you taking your money every month and putting in the bank to get nothing. If you buy two chickens, you think the chicken will stand as chickens? They will become fowls! You don’t like growth?” he asked.

He said the investors were coming on board just in time, as Government had started cutting the Public Service.

“When we did the layoffs we were cognisant of what was going to happen with these projects,” he said, mentioning Almond, Sam Lord’s Castle, Sandals, Four Seasons, as well as community projects featuring Stroude Bay, Archer’s Bay and North Point in St Lucy.

“The people we lay off are the ones who can easily get back jobs. And the projects that are coming, the people can easily be employed in,” he explained, noting that if Government had kept the Public Service overloaded, it would have had to import workers for the projects as the former administration had done.

“The negativity is only for a short period of time and the glory is at hand . . . The [Barbados Labour Party] knew that if within one year they didn’t get us out of Government, because of where the economic situation was, they don’t stand a chance. And that’s why all of a sudden you don’t hear them with all these Rubbing Shoulders and so on, but don’t believe they’re sleeping,” said Kellman.

He also rapped what he termed the “bad-mouthing” of projects like Pickering and River Bay but reminded that after all the negative talk, Government had been able to convert it all into something positive.

“As a Government we’re committed to these projects and we’re moving forward,” he added.

Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick was also scheduled to speak but was reported to be in Dominica.

Ricky Jordan