Culture Minister, Stephen Lashley; BCCI President, Lalu Vaswani and staff of??the Ministry of Culture and Diamonds International view the Breitling Clock at Lower Broad Street, the City. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Businesses in Bridgetown have been encouraged to make a greater contribution to Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this call today during the presentation of a Breitling Clock to the Government and people of Barbados by Diamonds International at the store’s Lower Broad Street branch in the City.

Mr. Lashley praised Diamonds International for being leaders by contributing to the beautification and development of the island’s World Heritage Site.?? "I want to thank you for such a generous donation, and for being the first to donate such a distinguished piece of time machinery, in our Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison – our world heritage site."

He urged other businesses to follow the example of the jewelry company.?? "I am not saying that every store owner will donate a clock, but I am sure there would be other things that could be donated…the contribution from the community of Historic Bridgetown will redound to the benefit our World Heritage Property."

Noting that his Ministry and Barbados World Heritage Committee had established a "proud" partnership with the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Mr. Lashley said: "…Through that partnership, we were able to forge connections and synergies between the Government and the Bridgetown commercial community, and that is why, this particular gesture is so important."

The Culture Minister implored businesses to look at ways they could assist with the preservation of buildings within the area, explaining that though the country had attained World Heritage inscription for the Property two years ago, there was still work to be done particularly with the preservation and restoration of buildings within the site.

"Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison would have been inscribed on the world heritage list not so much for its built heritage, but on the intangible heritage, which is the story of the lives of the people who lived, worked or were enslaved in this City," he noted.

He continued: "We cannot ignore the built heritage because that came from the intangible heritage.?? The Ministry has established a special task force responsible for helping us to source funds for this restoration and I believe in the not too distant future we will outline a very important initiative appealing to you to help us with funding."

President of the BCCI, Lalu Vaswani, also called on the approximately 1,999 businesses in Bridgetown, "to emulate the example of Diamonds International and other stakeholders who have joined with the BCCI" to follow in similar fashion.

"I would encourage all businesses to do what you can in your area.?? The idea is not to take up more than you can do, but, each of you could be a spark unto yourself so that the entire Bridgetown would be splendorous," Mr. Vaswani said.

Pointing out that he was "very appreciative of the high level of corporation" between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth and the BCCI in revitalising Bridgetown, he added that his agency was close to establishing a formal relationship with the Ministry through a Memorandum of Understanding.

Moreover, he said the BCCI was playing its part to support Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison.?? "The Inter-American Development Bank has signed a technical cooperation agreement for advancing specific aspects of activities in the world heritage site so we could create a very globally attractive set of activities and tours so we can showcase our proud heritage," he explained.??

He labelled the donation of the Breitling Clock as "a significant milestone for the revitalisation of Bridgetown" and noted that the City was often referred to as the capital of prosperity.??

"The true wealth that this prosperity is… is not just what is reflected in the bank accounts but really the wealth that we have as symbolised by the clock.?? It is eternal wealth but unfortunately, we might see a diamond with dust on it and not recognise the true lustre of what we have….," he told the audience.

Marketing Manager of Diamonds International, Simone Ward, said: "This initiative is very important to us for many reasons, first to celebrate Barbados’ World Heritage Site, Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison.?? It also shows our commitment to continuing our collaborative efforts with the BCCI and other entities to ensure Bridgetown stays alive…??????????

"This retail street [Broad Street] is very important on many levels.?? For the locals, it maintains jobs, opportunities and keeps commercial activity alive.?? From a tourism perspective, there are still many tourists who want to visit here. There are now many reasons besides the commercial activities in Bridgetown that would encourage them to visit.?? We have the Synagogue, Parliament, and the wider World Heritage Property," Ms. Ward said.??

The Breitling Clock was ???unveiled’ today and is stationed at the taxi stand, Lower Broad Street. The presentation is part of this year’s Heritage Month celebrations.??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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