Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde (right); Parliamentary representative, Dr. Sonia Browne; and Church Village, St. Philip residents stand in front of the area which will be transformed into a play park and recreational space. (M. Rollock/BGIS)

Children of the Church Village, St. Philip community received an early Christmas gift this morning when a parcel of land was cleared to make way for a new play park and recreational space.

It is being constructed as part of the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification’s Clean and Green Initiative, which seeks to clean up communities by creating green spaces across Barbados.

Minister of Environment, Adrian Forde, and Parliamentary representative for the area, Dr. Sonia Browne, were present to witness the start of the new park.

The spectacle brought tears to the eyes of resident Sheldean Croney, who has been living in the district for over 30 years.

“My children are now 30 years old and over, and now [my grands] are here and this park was actually supposed to come in [my children’s] generation.  I must

say this morning I am grateful that these children can come out and play and don’t have to play in a little area where they have to still crouch up.  I am indeed grateful,” she said, choking back tears.

“These are tears of joy because I am now going on in age, but I believe with all of my heart that I will still be able to see where my grands can come and play. And as Ms. Browne said, I can cook my food and come out here and eat it.  I don’t have to stay in the house all of the time.  Thanks to all of you,” Ms. Croney added, as she was flanked by her grands.

Minister Forde told the children that they would soon have a space that they could call their own to play and “enjoy themselves”.  He, however, tasked them with the responsibility of taking care of the new facility once it was completed.

The Environment Minister noted that it was children who were making the world take notice of the need to take care of the environment, like local environmental champion Maria Marshall.

“Isaiah 11 verse 6 says that a little child shall lead them.  These little children here, their presence here today is significant because they understand the importance of being active players in this whole Clean and Green effort across Barbados.

“They will be able to tell the rest of Barbados don’t litter here; don’t throw paper at the side of the roads because it is going to block the drains; it is going to cause mosquitoes and other vermin to occupy that space….  

“That is what they are going to tell the rest of Barbados, that illegal dumping is not going to be tolerated by this generation,” he stated.

Parliamentary Representative, Dr. Browne, said the COVID-19 pandemic had robbed children of their right to play in some cases, and the park would give the children from the district a safe space to be children.  

She added that the adults in the community were also encouraged to enjoy the park once it is completed in a few weeks.

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