Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, addressing the launch of Queen’s Park’s 100th Anniversary celebrations.

Queen’s Park will be restored to its former glory!

This assurance has come from Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.

In what could be construed as a fitting birthday gift, Minister Blackett pledged Government’s commitment?? to "actively and aggressively" pursuing a programme of restoration at Queen’s Park?? in honour of its sterling contribution as a recreational site, a green space within Bridgetown and a centre for the development of the creative arts in?? Barbados.

"Like many of our Caribbean counterparts, we in Barbados have few custom -built spaces for the performing arts even though these are essential for honing and nurturing our creative and artistic skills. The Ministry of Community Development and Culture will, therefore, focus on the restoration of the Queen’s Park facilities, the Gallery, the Steel Shed, the Daphne Joseph Hackett theatre and ultimately the other buildings," he said.

Noting?? that?? the restoration would be carried out on a phased basis, Minister Blackett stressed that they would?? be selective starting with the Steel Shed, and moving on to the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre, the Gallery and ultimately the other buildings.

The Minister pointed out that included in their long-term plans was an easily accessible home-base for the National Youth Orchestra; the National Boys Choir and the restoration of the Empire Theatre which was "just a stone’s throw away."

"I am sure that when our cultural history is written, the steel shed will again feature prominently," he assured.

Minister Blackett, who expressed the hope that consideration would also be given to having the Park again operate as a botanical, and possibly a zoological showcase, opined: "I would like to have Queen’s Park again resound with the sights and sounds of people savouring and enjoying our rich cultural heritage."

Of the view that the diversification of?? Barbados’ economic base, through greater emphasis on the music and creative arts industries,?? was one of the strategic responses required in the current global arena, Minister Blackett said the facilities at Queen’s Park?? offered much potential for assisting the process.

"Queen’s Park offers opportunity for further development as the premier place of leisure in Bridgetown. [It] provides venues for performing arts, it is a heritage site and is potentially an accessible haven for persons in and around the city who simply want to escape the every day stresses. It is, therefore, a wise decision to continue to recognise, embrace and explore this potential," the Minister advised.

Also addressing the ceremony were Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, and Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Patrick Todd, who both assisted in the planting of trees to mark the facility’s 100th anniversary.

Patrons were serenaded by music from the Royal Barbados Police Force Band and treated to a diverse cultural package which included an inspirational rendition from the Hindsbury Primary School Choir; scintillating steel pan music from the Harrison College’s School Band and an engaging historical tribute to Queen’s Park by award-winning poet Deanne Kennedy.??

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