Members of the Barbados legion march past the sentry post at the Clock Tower, the Garrison, during the ceremony. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Government is continuing its efforts to showcase Barbados’ culture and history.??

This was underscored today by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, at a historic re-enactment of the Change of Sentry, at the clock tower, the Garrison.

It was one of the featured events of the Ministry of Tourism’s week of activities for 2011, and the ceremony featured members of the Barbados Legion accompanied by a drum corps and dressed in colonial attire assuming posts at the Main Guard. ??The ritual dates back to the colonial era.??

Minister Sealy stated that "The Ministry is committed to working with agencies such as the Barbados Garrison Historical Consortium Inc. as we seek to improve our cultural heritage niche." He emphasised that any initiative which focused on tourism’s success would require collaboration between the public and private sectors and non-governmental organisations.

The Tourism Minister noted that as industry stakeholders strive to "keep abreast of new developments and trends within the tourism market place", it was crucial to improve upon the product offered and take heed of current trends.?? He observed that today’s Change of Sentry, which embraced Barbados’ ???rich military heritage’, was part and parcel of a growing niche of ???discerning tourists’.

"Worldwide, the heritage and culture of a destination are now viewed as key marketing components of international tourism. This development has been confirmed by the World Tourism Organisation.?? Further, that agency has expressed the view that heritage and culture are now numbered among the five key market elements of the tourism industry," the Minister revealed. He added that bringing heritage tourism into focus was an ongoing thrust of the Ministry, with its Freedom Footprints Heritage Tour pilot earlier this year and ongoing efforts to strengthen the connection with the diaspora in South Carolina, United States.

Mr. Sealy also expressed thanks to Ministry personnel, the Barbados National Trust, those involved with the inscription of the Garrison Historic Area as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making the re-enactment a reality.

Heritage Consultant with the Barbados Historic Garrison Consortium Inc., Peter Stevens, explained that the event was the first of its kind at the Garrison in over a century.?? He asserted that the event was in an effort to bring history to life.

"This is where we move the Garrison on …from a static site.?? We can all talk about buildings for hours on end…but this is where we move over to the people…this particular exercise is something that the Garrison Consortium, the Barbados Legion and the Barbados Defence Force have been working very hard to produce…the Ministry of Tourism and the BTA have given us unwavering support in all the activities that the Garrison Consortium has been doing.?? We welcome that support…" Mr. Stevens remarked.

The Barbados Legion – which features retired members of military units – will perform the Change of the Sentry every Wednesday at the Garrison Clock Tower at 11:50 a.m.?? The exercise would have been one of the core activities for the Garrison from the late 1700s, when it served as a colonial military site for British troops in Barbados.??


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