“On his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season … In all that they do, they prosper” – Psalm 1:2, 3

David Cameron Gikandi’s book “A Happy Pocket full of Money” espouses “Your Quantum Leap into the Understanding, Having and Enjoying of Immense Wealth and Happiness”.   It epitomises the philosophy of Wealth Consciousness by reminding us to experience infinite wealth, abundance and happiness here, now in the new golden age of humanity.   Further, he advises that everything you need to make you happy is inside of you and nothing outside of you can stop you. As the Daily Word last week shared “God’s world is not a world of lack or limitation. It is a world of plenty. God’s supply is ever-present, an unfailing source of good. Knowing I am one with God, I adopt a consciousness of prosperity. I think and act in prosperous ways”.

I had the honour to be associated with the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BCCI) project “The Revitalisation of Bridgetown Initiative (TRBI)” in the period leading up to May 2010. The vision for TRBI is to increase traffic into Bridgetown with the goal of making Bridgetown the centre of commerce, culture and entertainment in the Caribbean with centres of excellence and its associated potential prosperity. This new Bridgetown Brand mirrors an environment which is “A clean, attractive, safe and vibrant urban core and supports a variety of activities both night and day for nationals, local residents and tourists”. In order for businesses to fully benefit from the initiative, they need to collectively invest in TRBI’s programmes. In this column, in collaboration with the BCCI, I reflect on the progress made in the last three years towards the achievement of this goal.

The BCCI initially commissioned (1) a survey of property owners and business operators on each street in Bridgetown from the bridge to the Port to the Oval and then to Bay St. via Country road and Halls road to record basic qualitative information on businesses in terms of type and size (large, medium, small) which operate within all properties in Bridgetown; and (2) a “broad-spectrum census” of the business houses within the Bridgetown area to collect idiosyncratic quantitative data as it pertains to each entity including – name of business, owner, and contact details – name, telephone, email and landlord.  This has facilitated the development of an information base and communication process between the Chamber and businesses in Bridgetown.

The BCCI has reported that TRBI has metamorphosed well beyond the original plan. The plan was implemented by a committee with one resource person handling execution. The project has attracted the attention of International agencies such as the IADB from which TRBI now has grant funding for further expansion of the project to increase commerce, stakeholder engagement, entertainment and the use of Bridgetown and its garrison as a UNESCO World Heritage Property.

There is much activity going on: (1) Tourists now have access to The Bridgetown Express, a round trip service from hotels to ten participating retail stores in the City, where all those who get a stamp from each of the participating retailers are eligible for a raffle prize; (2) A beautification project has resulted in the importation of bins, benches and lamp posts with a historic look to be installed in Heroes Square – school children from schools in the City were involved by painting pictures on the bins depicting Bridgetown and won prizes from the sponsors which partnered in this activity; (3) The Barbados Port Authority Inc. installed mooring berths for the Classic Transact race; (4) Extended hours shopping with entertainment on the streets; (5) Crop Over Pork Lime at Fort Willoughby as a result of a partnership between BCCI and Contact Kadooment Band and its partners including Barbados Tourism Investment Inc; (6) Bridgetown and its Garrison was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011; (7) Many celebratory seasonal “Bridgetown Alive” events were mounted – a Fashion show for retailers in Colonnade Mall and a Tuk Band Parade of the streets of the City – Crop Over and youth in Jubilee Gardens – Friday Night in Independence SquareIndependence through Fashion, Fun and Food in Heroes Square – Saturday in the City – Christmas in the City – Easter in the City; (8) the Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union partnered with Westside Toastmasters Club on a eight week programme which brought together students who live or go to school in and around the Bridgetown and Garrison area to enhance their public speaking and presentation skills.

Many retailers both big and small have signed on to finance the project, but many more are yet to partner with the BCIC. It really is a no-brainer because BCIC has a tax rebate mechanism with the Tourism Development Corporation where companies contributing to the initiative can get an 150% income tax rebate on contributions made. Of course, retailers will also benefit directly from the increased TRBI activity brings as it brings more business to the City.

All the TRBI business systems: corporate governance; marketing and PR; operational logistics and partnerships; and investment finance; are being managed by a single full time resource person. Kudos to the BCIC. The train is out of the station and gathering momentum on the journey towards the destination “Bridgetown prosperity”. We need an immediate response from Bridgetown businesses and others to the BCIC’s appeal for further assistance.