Tourism Minister responds to scathing Telegraph article
Tourism Minister Richard Sealy has said he is shock and disappointed to have read the article entitled ‘Stench of Economic Decay is Overwhelming Barbados’, which appeared on page two of the Business section of the Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom on Thursday March 15, 2018.
He is of the view the biased article is viciously crafted with invective rhetoric and hyperbole, which could only have been gleaned from "informal connections", in an attempt to denigrate Barbados’ reputation- a country which, he noted, currently ranks 25 out of 180 countries by Transparency International.
Sealy also said the government is baffled that The Telegraph, a long-standing media partner of Barbados, would print such a “scathing” article about a partner, who spends significant sums in advertising with them annually, without doing the courtesy of making an enquiry. He has dubbed this as a “terrible affront and an incredulous situation.”
Sealy did not dispute that Barbados is facing serious challenges with the sewage system on the South Coast but he contends the “entire south coast of the island” spans approximately 7 miles, and the impacted area, does not extend beyond 1 mile of the 166 square miles that is Barbados.
In an official statement he made it clear the safety of both locals and visitors remains top priority and, since the breach, the frequency of the testing of the island’s potable water supply was increased, with tests confirming that Barbados’ water quality both meets and surpasses the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards.
He acknowledged everyone is anxious to see the matter fully resolved so Barbados can continue to deliver the high standard of service and experience for visitors as well as to ensure the issue of comfort and security. To this end he stated government, the private sector and local stakeholders have been engaged at the national level and continue to work together to manage and protect the Barbados brand.
“We have, in a letter to the Editor reminded the editorial team at the Telegraph that Barbados’ long-term tourism and travel partners in the United Kingdom have continued to demonstrate great confidence in the destination. Indeed, in addition to the positive rankings and accolades received, over 100K seats from the UK will arrive in Barbados in 2018, a 9.8 percent increase, (+9,002),” Sealy explained.
Sealy said he is hoping the official response to the Telegraph as a long-term client and partner will be received in the spirit in which it was intended and that future opinions and reviews will be better researched and factual.