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BARBADOS - ecotourism

Barbados National Trust

Welcome Focus On The Arts - Sunday 16, May-2004

THERE IS much to be said for reviving interest in the visual arts.
It is equally worthwhile to preserve historic properties, albeit with appropriate modifications where necessary to meet the needs and standards of a modern developing society.

These aspects of Barbados’ cultural heritage help to define us as a people and have recently been receiving reed attention in Parliament, largely as a result of compulsory acquisition of land for beach accesses and the need for funding to support artistic endeavours.

At the centre of our critically important cultural endeavour, is also Government’s support for work by the Barbados National Trust.

Much emphasis is usually placed on the musical side of the arts, and it is good that through this medium we show that we are not neglecting people who made their contributions to Barbadian culture, those many characteristics that make us the people that we are, that define us. Broadly speaking, both houses of the Legislature adopted a bipartisan approach to debate on funding for the arts.

Their contributions also had much in common when Parliament discussed the compulsory acquisition of beach land, another matter that relates to Barbadians’ traditional leisure and culture activities.

Among highlights during the past week was Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s participation in an event to utilise Arlington House in St Peter, as an art gallery.

There is general support in this country for work by the Barbados National Trust. The Trust is currently engaged in the further development of Arlington House at Speightstown, which formerly housed that town’s health centre.

Government describes this property as “an important asset to help anchor Speightstown’s redevelopment as a centre for heritage tourism”. It would also be what the Prime Minister identifies as an “interpretative centre” showcasing the town’s history.

Arlington House is to be renamed in honour of late outstanding visual artist and teacher, Karl Broodhagen, whose work includes a bust of Sir Grantley Adams, the Emancipation Statue and a statue of living cricket legend, the Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers.

Among items of considerable interest at the centre will be several artefacts which Arthur says he received in his role as Prime Minister.

We understand that some of these were recovered from sites occupied or otherwise used hundreds of years before Barbados became a British colony in the 17th century.

How interesting that some would remain undiscovered were it not for construction of Port St Charles residential marina. Their age alone is the sort of factor that would fascinate curious locals and international travellers.

But there is an economic dimension as well. Part of the value of this project is that it would be a boon to commercial business by drawing shippers to the area.

Heritage tourism is substantially about a country’s old buildings and artefacts. Some work has already been done in this area, but greater effort is needed. In this connection, action is required on promised restoration of the long disused Empire cinema building and the West Wing of Parliament. These must rank very highly in Bridgetown’s cultural and architectural landscape.

While it is commendable that help continues for the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, much praise is also in order for having a Military Museum.

Particularly worthy of praise is restoration of the old City (Town) HaIl, Spirit Bond, Tyrol Cot and others, including Bush Hill House where George Washington stayed while on a visit to Barbados before he became President of the United States of America.

Help is also promised to the Barbados National Trust to restore the historic Farley Hill mansion. It’s all part of a cultural thrust that needs to be maintained.

Compliments of the Nation News


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