M.P. FOR ST. MICHAEL SOUTH CENTRAL, MINISTER OF TOURISM
The Hon. Richard Sealy understands what the tourism industry needs at this critical point to ensure its sustainability going forward; and he knows that it could be volatile and vulnerable to external shocks, some beyond the control of any government. He also knows that the tourism sector needs to be nurtured and properly managed. With the precision he honed as a Civil Engineer and the knowledge gained while pursuing a Masters in Business Administration, Mr. Sealy has boldly confronted the long-standing, deep-rooted challenges facing tourism. Some of the benefits have been immediate while others will occur in the medium and longer terms.
In keeping with the DLP’s commitment to strengthening and holding out the safety net for all categories of Barbadian citizens, he led the establishment of the Government’s $25 million Tourism Industry Relief Fund (TIRF) in 2009. This remains the largest direct financial assistance programme ever implemented for the tourism industry in Barbados. TIRF was designed to help tourism stakeholders to survive the global economic recession, and to protect the jobs of large numbers of Barbadians, directly or indirectly employed in the sector.
He also oversaw the development of a White Paper on tourism, which outlines the government’s policy that will lead to the development of Barbados’ first Tourism Master Plan.
An important pillar of the strategic plan is diversification, which is critical to the sector’s rebounding. No longer can Barbados rely so heavily on the United Kingdom and the North American markets. Hence the Minister almost immediately started developing links with Latin America, specifically Brazil as a legitimate source market for “Destination Barbados”. Mr. Sealy also set about increasing the number of visitors from Canada; and launched a targeted campaign that has increased the numbers from 50,000 four years ago to an expected 80,000 this winter season. Vigorous marketing efforts in Europe, particularly Scandinavia, are also beginning to pay dividends.
Since airlift is so essential to getting visitors to the island, the Minister recruited an aviation specialist who has helped to maintain key air links from all the source markets in these difficult times.
Another pillar of the strategy was the creation of a global brand for Barbados, using modern technology. Getting Rihanna to endorse this brand, via the visitbarbados.org website saw an increase from 2,000 to 68,000 hits per week. This association with Rihanna is also expected to take the Barbados brand into 19 million homes via social media like Facebook and Instagram.
The Minister continued to engage the public and remind Barbadians that tourism should be everybody’s business. He has led the way by searching for niche markets notably in sports tourism, cultural heritage tourism, and faith based tourism. Events like the Rihanna concert in 2011 and the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival were specifically designed to boost visitor arrivals. The Barbados Friends and Family Programme that focuses on Diaspora involvement in our most important industry is another initiative that is having positive results.
The restructuring of the tourism sector, the increase in source markets, the rebranding of Barbados and the diversification of tourism products in Barbados are long overdue. Under the leadership of Minister Sealy, this is finally happening!
At the same time the Hon Richard Sealy maintained his caring and meticulous stewardship of his St. Michael South Central constituency. His achievements in enhancing the quality of life for the constituents through Education, Community Development, Sports, Decent Housing, Improved Physical infrastructure, and Finding/Creating Jobs include:
- The disbursement of academic scholarships annually to students at tertiary level institutions.
- Back to School Programmes to assist children in primary and secondary schools with school equipment and other amenities.
- Visits to each primary school in the constituency to give encouragement and inspirational talks to youngsters getting ready for the major 11+ Examination.
- Transition Seminars for pupils moving from Primary school to Secondary institutions.
- The launch of agricultural projects at St. Paul’s Primary in 2007 in cooperation with UNDP, PTA and other local NGO’s.
- Donating books to the library bus at St. Paul’s Primary school.
- Facilitating the amalgamation of Erdiston and Carrington Primary Schools into the new, modern George Lamming Primary School.
- Participating in the graduation exercise of all schools in the constituency.
- Promoting Barbadian heritage in local schools.
- Helping to designed a Career Preparedness Programme for schools leavers.
- Sponsoring the Annual Xmas Party which hosts 300 children and 200 adults.
- Supporting organization like the Quakers Club, Sunbirds Sports and Cultural Club, The Britton’s Hill Community Club, the Seventh Day Adventist Youth Organization, St. Cyprian’s Mothers Union, St. Cyprian’s Youth organization.
- Establishing the Help Them Learn Foundation, a registered charity to aid youth development in the community.
- Supporting the Loving Arms Charity which renders assistance to the needy, the indigent and the less fortunate in the constituency.
- Organizing annual hamper distributions to seniors and the needy.
- Sponsorship arrangements for football powerhouses Wales and Britton’s Hill Premier League teams.
- Organizing the Annual Carrington Village ‘7-a-side’ Gully Hill Football Tournament.
- Sponsoring the annual Road Tennis Tournament in Flagstaff to coincide with Independence.
- Assisting the Pride of Villa Netball Team in Britton’s Hill.
- Supporting both professional and amateur boxers from the constituency.
- Sponsoring the Britton’s Hill ‘Out O Season’ Football Tournament.
- Establishment of the Shilling Square Football Team in Martindale’s Road.
- Supporting the Clapham Bulls ‘Out O Season’ Basketball Tournament.
- Supporting the Carrington Village based Royals Basketball Club.
- Helping the Clapham Bulls and the Royals to benefit from the Dallas Mavericks Cheerleaders during their photo shoot here in 2011.
- Working with the Ministry of Housing and the Urban Development Commission to address some of the pressing housing needs. Hence, Stuarts Lodge in Carrington Village was completed with 20 terraced units; the Valery Project in Britton’s Hill was constructed with 80 units.
- Ongoing rebuilding and repair of homes across the constituency in cooperation with the UDC.
- Working with the UDC to clean and dig wells, and de-bush lots throughout the constituency.
- Getting natural gas installed in the Carrington Village.
- Helping to improve roads and streets in places such as: Scotts Gap, Bannister Land, Alkins Road, Belleville, Tweedside Road, Ifill Road, Delamere Land, Chase Road, Stevenson Road, and Campaign Land.
- Installing pedestrian pavements in Britton’s Cross Road.
- Helping to get the Constitution Canal cleaned to prevent flooding, mosquito breeding and related health threats.
- Working with the Forlam Clinic, to provide subsidized health care for residents in Carrington Village and surrounding areas.
- Successfully agitating for the erection of street lights across the constituency.
- Successfully lobbying for the installation of concave road safety mirrors at several intersections.
- Improvement in drainage in Bannister Land.
- Successfully searching for and helping to create jobs – many in the tourism sector – for constituents despite the prolonged recession.
This leadership style and these monumental efforts at the national and local levels deserve your continued support.ill Football TournamentHi
Constituency Office (246) 427-2395