I’ve had another successful visit to Scarborough, which included a journey down memory lane with Britney Spears and a sensory enhancement with my favourite breakfast of haggis, black pudding and fried eggs.
As the high commissioner I have travelled the kingdom extensively and am happy to confess that I reflect the UK visitor trend in that Scarborough has been my most visited place outside of London. I take away many fond memories, one of which will be of ‘Scarbados’.
As it has been business trips, much of the ground covered has been work related and I’ve seen so much.
However, the drive along Marine Drive and coffee at the Watermark overlooking the North Bay takes me back to Barbados, but there we’d be drinking a rum and Coke. I enjoyed the Britney Spears concert but to be honest Lionel Richie and Emeli Sandé (previous acts) are more my speed.
It’s a great venue and it would be fantastic if Rihanna could perform there to celebrate Scarbados.
It was through a discussion with Andrew Pinder on the Isle of Wight that I learned that a Scarborough existed in Yorkshire, as one does in Barbados.
More significantly was the revelation of the concept of Scarbados. While the etymology is uncertain, I have grown to love this East Coast jewel that shares Barbados’ interests in tourism, fishing, watersports, and cricket.
In a telephone conversation with Wes Hall (now Sir Wesley), the legendary West Indies fast bowler recalled with much fondness the wicket at the North Marine Road ground.
Notwithstanding the significant social elements, my visits have been work related in pursuit of a mutually beneficial relationship between our two communities.
In this regard, I have worked closely with the indefatigable Peter Wilkinson, chairman of the Scarborough Business Ambassadors, and the gregarious, passionate and determined Jim Dillon, Scarborough Council’s chief executive.
These two men and their networks seem to be driving the transformation of Scarborough.
While Barbados has a number of twinning relationships between towns there and in England (Hackney with Bridgetown, Reading with Speightstown and Harringey with Holetown), the desire is to have a fruitful one with Scarborough. Towards this end there is an exploration of areas of common concern.
One possibility is addressing the surplus of junior doctors in Barbados and their training needs and those of nurses with opportunities in Scarborough. The cutting edge programme of Scarborough University Technical College and Coventry University Scarborough are also being examined for possible synergies.
Noting the significant numbers of visitors to Barbados from Yorkshire, there is a desire to support the Scarborough Cricket Festival while doing some Barbados tourism promotion.
The possible participation of some of the legends of Barbados cricket which include Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Wesley Hall, Sir Charles (Charlie) Griffith, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge and Joel Garner, along with a Barbados or West Indies team at next year’s festival, is being explored.
Barbados is also trying to learn from Scarborough’s enhanced tourism offerings, such as heritage tourism, the integration of conservation and entertainment as occurs at Flamingo Land, and a waterpark similar to Alpamare are real possibilities.