Jam-Packed Two-Day Royal Visit

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex with former Governor General, Sir Clifford Husbands (FP)??

When the Earl and Countess of Wessex arrive in Barbados tomorrow, Thursday, February 23, they will get to see some of the best of what Barbados has to offer.

So says Coordinating Minister of the Royal Visit, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she spoke at a press briefing yesterday at Government Headquarters.

Describing the two-day trip as "a whirlwind", Dr. Byer Suckoo said it would be a busy but exciting time for?? all involved and expressed the hope that young Barbadians, especially school children, would connect with the Royal family since they represented part of this country’s heritage. She added that it was hoped that the visit would also be an incentive for more British visitors to come to these shores.

In relation to the $800,000 price tag for the visit, the Coordinating minister noted that government was mindful that some Barbadians might be nervous about having to spend such sums, but reassured them that "we have tried, in every area, to curtail costs". She explained that some of the money was for repairs to Government House, which, she pointed out, was "long overdue" and "badly needed"; resurfacing work, debushing, and remedial work at Prince Cave Hall, among others.

Dr. Byer Suckoo noted that much of the work was cosmetic in nature and stressed that everything possible would be done to reduce expenses. However, she argued that as hosts it was "our duty to put our best foot forward" and pointed out that as Barbados’ Head of State, Her Majesty had indicated she would be sending members of her family to Commonwealth nations and, therefore, Barbados was one of the countries to be visited for celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee this year.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Emmerson Moore, said he was quite satisfied with preparations to date. "We have simulated the route on no less than three occasions and I am pleased with our security," he noted. He emphasised that no roads would be closed during the visit, but mentioned that no parking would be permitted along certain roads.

When The Earl and Countess of Wessex arrive tomorrow, at the Bridgetown Port, they will be afforded a Royal Salute before heading to the Joint Sitting of Parliament at 10:00 a.m. Immediately following that event, The Earl and Countess will tour the Museum of Parliament and the National Heroes Gallery.

At 11:30 a.m., Their Royal Highnesses will attend a special exhibition at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination entitled: "Looking back…looking forward: Sixty Years of Progress and Achievements Through Education". They will then visit the Administration Building and interact with students.

Later in the evening, the Earl and Countess will be treated to a State Dinner and Reception at Government House.

Their busy programme will continue the next day on Friday, February 24. During the morning, at 10:25., the Countess will pay a visit and tour the Albert Cecil Graham Development Centre at Ladymeade Gardens, in Jemmotts Lane.

Meanwhile, at 10:40 a.m., The Earl will present eight young Barbadians with Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards during a special ceremony at Government House. ??????

Immediately following, at 11:40 a.m., the Royal Couple will officiate at a ceremony in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee at the historic Kensington Oval, where the Earl will unveil a plaque. National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, OCC, will also be in attendance. The Earl and Countess will also meet and be entertained by students from select schools.

At 12:13 p.m., the Prime Minister will host Their Royal Highnesses at a lunch at Ilaro Court. Later that afternoon, at 2:17 p.m., the Earl and Countess will visit the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum and the Mikvah (spiritual bath) in Bridgetown.

Following this, at 2:50 p.m., the royal party will tour the Prince Cave Hall, home of the Royal Barbados Police Force Band.

Prior to leaving Barbados, the Earl and Countess will host a reception later that evening on board the Royal yacht FORT ROSALIE.

As part of celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, The Earl and Countess of Wessex will also visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Grenada and Montserrat as part of official events to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.??

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

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