Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy????

Government’s decision to abandon the previous idea of building an auditorium at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) in Two Mile Hill, and replacing it with the construction of office spaces, was about "appropriate use of space".

This was emphasised today by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, as he provided an update on the expansion project at the LESC, that has already seen demolition work completed in order to start construction on the office spaces.

Noting that it was not in any way to be seen as Government not supporting the need for appropriate spaces for the development of our cultural industries, Minister Sealy said that following studies and consultations, it was decided that the best economic use for that area would have been offices.

He said: "… In fact, there is a place for that type of facility (auditorium)?? elsewhere and we just feel strongly… that type of facility would be better served if it was elsewhere and not here [at LESC] but not that as a Government we are abandoning the need for playhouses, and performance arenas and the like."

??Alluding to the Cultural Industries Policy currently been pushed by the Ministry of Community Development and Culture, Mr. Sealy added; "There is going to be some parliamentary activity in terms of passing the appropriate laws and so on to see that the cultural industries programme is developed. It is important to understand that the issue here is not a declaration of war against culture.

"No, we have not all of a sudden become Philistine and we don’t think that there is any role for culture and art. That is not what has happened. It is a case of just appropriate use of Government real property and that is what led us to this point."

Mr. Sealy further underscored the fact that the project aimed to provide accommodations for public officers who were operating in "horrible conditions".

He stated, "We have some conditions that are just not up to scratch and Government has already started constructing, (financed through NIS) two buildings in Warrens and the intention is that there will also be further office space here to house some of our public officers. In fact, most of the space has already been tenanted by the Government of Barbados."

The offices, which will also be offered for rental to the private sector, will stand on some 86,000 square feet of land.

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