Not Enough Of Our History Is Documented

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Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett

A Government minister has expressed concern about the reluctance of some Barbadians to document aspects of their heritage for use by future generations.

Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, lamented the fact that many archival holdings, some of which belonged to radio and television stations, had been neglected, or simply disposed of, over the years.

He made these observations recently, while addressing a reception for delegates attending the Ninth Meeting of the International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Programme and the Launch of the National Memory of the World Register, at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, the Garrison, St. Michael.

Mr. Blackett noted that while some libraries and Government’s Department of Archives had been at the forefront of preserving our island’s history, the task was fraught with some difficulties.

"There is no doubt that there are many challenges in doing this.?? Lack of adequate storage space, lack of funds to allow for proper cataloguing are most often cited as the major problems to overcome.?? We recognise these difficulties and we are committed to taking steps to address them," he stressed.

The Minister of Culture also urged Barbadians not to throw out their old letters, diaries or photographs – which according to him, "were part and parcel of our heritage".??

Mr. Blackett opined: "I want to encourage everyone to begin to look at these items in a different light and please, do not be overly anxious to discard them.?? In fact, these items will be of significance one day and they will form part of the global documentary heritage."

He further disclosed that that the Memory of the World Committee had already approved five items for inscription.??

These documents included: The Caribbean Slave Archives which are housed at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society; The Federal Archives, the Nita Barrow Archives; the Richard Allsopp Papers and the Richard B Moore Collection, all preserved at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.?? Also incorporated in the list, are the Land Registry Maps stored in the Land Registry Department, and the Frank Collymore Papers.?? ??

The Memory of the World Register features a collection of works from Trinidad and Barbados, respectively.?? These include the Eric Williams, the CLR James and the Derek Walcott Collections and the Documentary Heritage of Enslaved Peoples of the Caribbean.

In 1992, UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme to preserve the world’s heritage for research purposes.

jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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