Although a date cannot be given for the commencement of renovation work on the Carnegie Library and the Empire Theatre in Bridgetown, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley has indicated that technical work has begun.
He was speaking at the launch of Heritage Month 2014 last Friday, at St. Ann???s Fort, The Garrison, St. Michael.
Mr. Lashley outlined that an inspection of the buildings had been done and noted that the renovation project had the support of the Embassy of the United States for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
He explained that the Task Force for the Restoration of Barbados??? Built Heritage would soon launch a national and international appeal to fund the project.
???The technical work has started and the Task Force would be very shortly launching a national and international appeal because we need as much money as possible, not only in relation to the Carnegie Library but other buildings as well,??? he said.
The Culture Minister added: ???We already have two very eminent gentlemen agreeing to be patrons of this effort – His Excellency, the Governor General of Barbados, Sir Elliott Belgrave has agreed to be the local patron, and Lord Andrew Webber, is the international patron.???
Stressing that he hoped the work would be completed very quickly, he said that the decision to turn the renovation of the buildings into a project was necessary because government could only depend on donations alone.
In relation to the Empire Theatre building, Minister Lashley stated: ???The Cabinet has already approved the award of a contract to a local conglomerate, and they will commence the work to not only preserve the building but to also transform it into a building that can be used??? I know the plans were with the Town and Country [Development] Planning [Office] and the companies involved are mobilising the financing to start that.???
He further indicated that the renovated Empire Theatre would serve as a craft centre and a theatre space.