Commentary submitted by Hon. Carlisle Powell
Nevisians are a very proud people. That is just the way we are. We could be hungry as hell but smile and say we “just done eat”! We are kind to a fault and will accept a lot but we always draw the line when it comes to nastiness.
This is why the disaster that has turned Solid Waste into an old fashioned dump site has angered the population. Despite our investigative reports, instead of getting better, the situation at Solid Waste has gone from bad to worst in quick time.
Unfortunately, the failure of Health Minister, Mark Blankly, is not restricted to that sick mess at the dump site. No, let us start to examine him as Minister of Tourism.
The Hot Baths or Bath Springs (call them what you want) are among our greatest national treasures. People have been bathing there for centuries and we are proud that God placed the Hot Bath Springs in Nevis.
Visitors love it. Locals love it. Some locals go there daily to relax after a hard day. We know that when we have no running water in our homes the Hot Baths never fail us. We enjoy the “healing properties” of the hot water as our muscles relax. Plus, we get to catch up on “news”! Yes, we love we news. Nevisians can be found in the hot baths around the clock. In Iceland, people pay a minimum of US$20 to get into the Blue Lagoon. In Dominica, you also pay to get into “Screws” and the other hot springs. In Nevis, it is free.
Yesterday, a friend insisted that I visit the hot bath and look at the condition. For the record, the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) started major renovations and enhancements of the Bath stream back in 2011/12. At that time, a number of Concerned Citizen Movement (CCM) supporters said we were “destroying the Bath Stream”.
On assuming office in 2013, the now government continued the work, but because the project was now done by them it was no longer destruction but “beautification”. The work was completed at huge costs and the improvements are ours to enjoy but, have you been there lately?
The place is a mess! The bathing pools require urgent cleaning to remove moss that is turning the water green. Silt brought down by the last heavy rains have not been removed. Garbage, including an old drum, add to the unsightly mess. Nasty, green moss covers huge areas of the stream and our “national treasure” is no longer appealing. Indeed, it is an embarrassment.
When I visited recently, three tour buses with a total of 10 or 12 tourists came with their passengers. Not one did more than dip a foot into the water to test the temperature of the pool; and none ventured down to the mossy stream itself.
That’s not all! Visitors and locals alike better make sure that they don’t have the urge to use the toilet while visiting the Bath Spring! The single portable toilet that is there smells like it has not been cleaned in ages and if you are brave enough to open the door be prepared.
Tourism is our #1 industry. We rightly claim that we serve an upscale market and people pay big money to come to Nevis. Many of us also claim the Hot Baths as a national treasure but under this Minister of Tourism, the Hot Baths are going to the dogs fast.
The water is still hot but the place is nasty. Only under CCM can we offer a Five Diamond service with a 1 star attraction. How much longer will we continue to make excuses for this Do Nothing Mark Blankly? The Hot Baths are in his constituency. Do we have to tell him that double salary requires work?
Hensley boy, we miss you badly. You did more than talk; you knew how to get things done. The time is fast approaching when we will get the chance to vote for change.