Stephen Lashley, Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, delivering??brief remarks at the inscription ceremony for historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, earlier this week. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

Government has been successful in creating "very practical and productive partnerships" with the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, interested individuals and business persons.

That is the word from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the ceremony last Wednesday at the Garrison Savannah for the official inscription of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a UNESCO World Heritage Property.

Mr. Lashley disclosed that his Ministry had already had expressions of interests in the restoration of Queen’s Park House, with the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre and the Queen’s Park Gallery, as well as the Empire Theatre.

"And so, exciting times lie ahead. There are so many opportunities waiting to be developed and brought to fruition," he stated.

He said it was now entirely up to the citizens of this country to make this property work for them.?? "As a people, we owe it to ourselves to learn as much as we can about it.???? Let us put ourselves in a position to be able to understand the reasons why we must respect and treasure it, and be able to tell others about it in an informed way.

"Let us explore ways in which we can develop entrepreneurial projects in and around our World Heritage Property.?? Let us acknowledge that it is not the sole responsibility of the Government to preserve and maintain it, and that we should all resolve to partner with the Government in one way or another in order to do our part," he suggested.

Mr. Lashley encouraged the businesses and individuals within the property to feel a sense of ownership of it. He urged: "Do not let it be business as usual.?? Package and market your products in such a way that you can take advantage of the fact that you are located within a World Heritage Property."

He noted that the Management Plan for the supervision and preservation of the property, which had been approved by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, outlined the responsibilities of governmental, non-governmental agencies and members of the public.

"Let us work together in a concerted fashion to ensure that it is implemented.?? Our World Heritage Committee, through my Ministry, is currently the focal point for the coordination of such activities within the property.?? Please advise the Committee, therefore, of your initiatives, so that we can approach them in a coordinated manner," he implored.

The Management Plan for the property highlights Barbados’ commitment to bringing cultural life back to Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison. The Minister suggested that Barbadians should conceptualise and design cultural activities to give locals and visitors good reasons to frequent Bridgetown, especially outside of regular business hours.

"Remember that a World Heritage Property attracts is own following, its very own particular brand of tourist, and we must make ourselves ready to provide for them the experiences that they expect in such a destination.?? The possibilities are literally endless," he opined.

Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said the inscription of a site was more than a label, but the beginning of a journey. "This journey must be driven forward by a long-term commitment to safeguard that which we have inherited against the trials of history and against the vagaries of nature, and to transmit it to future generations. This is the commitment we take today for Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison," she told the large audience.

Ms. Bokova applauded Barbados’ efforts to establish the Caribbean World Heritage Fund and the development of a World Heritage Policy within CARICOM. According to her, this reflected the deep commitment of the citizens of Barbados to safeguard their heritage as a source of strength and a foundation for a better future.


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