World Heritage Inscription Means Door Open For Barbados

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Historian Dr. Karl Watson making a point at the press conference. At left are Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley and Member of Parliament for the City of Brigetown, Patrick Todd.
(C. Pitt/BGIS)
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The inscription of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site means that a "door" has been opened for Barbadians.

Historian Dr. Karl Watson proffered this view earlier this week, following the official announcement of the inscription, and urged Barbadians to "take advantage"??of this enviable designation, which he described as "a tremendous accomplishment". He noted that many economic possibilities and spin-offs would accrue to the island.

Dr. Watson stated: "A lot of Barbadians who are not directly involved in tourism think that tourism does not really have an impact on their lives or does not matter [to] them. That is the biggest flaw. Tourism is the life blood of every single Barbadian. I was a university lecturer, that is how I made my living, but without tourism many of the benefits that I enjoyed would have disappeared… Every single tourist dollar that is spent in this country spins off and enhances our standard of life and our quality of life. So, that is the crucial issue."

Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, who was also present, concurred that there would be opportunities for entrepreneurship following the inscription and he identified the need for tour guides as one such venture.

"We will have to pay more attention to signage and its maintenance. The other benefit, once we revamp our local and international promotional material, is that many more people will be coming to Barbados curious as to what is this historic Bridgetown and its Garrison inscription, and the task ahead is to turn this development into opportunities," Mr. Lashley surmised.

The inscription of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison now means that it is an area of "outstanding universal value". In addition to its rich historical legacy, Bridgetown contains several historical sites and spaces, including the Parliament Buildings, Trafalgar Square, the Jewish Synagogue, the Old Mutual Building, the Carnegie Library and the Charles Duncan O’Neal and Chamberlain bridges.

On the other hand, the Garrison is said to be the most "complete" remaining colonial fortification of its kind anywhere in the world. Approximately 100 structures have survived and most of them are "essentially unaltered and in well preserved conditions".?? There are approximately 920 heritage sites across the world. Those located in this region are the Morne Trois Pitons National Park in Dominica; the National History Park in Haiti; Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, St. Kitts; Pitons Management Area, St. Lucia; the Barrier Reef Reserve System in Belize, Old Havana and its fortifications in Cuba; and now Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison in Barbados.

saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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