Government has started preliminary discussions on whether Queen???s Park should be renamed National Heroes Park.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, after touring the City park with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart; Permanent Secretaries Sonja Welch and Ruth Blackman; and officials of the National Cultural Foundation, led by Chief Executive Officer, Cranston Browne.

Mr. Lashley explained that they toured the property with a view to determining whether the location was a suitable one for the National Heroes Park.

He said after the near one-hour tour: ???We are at a very preliminary stage. Queen???s Park has been discussed and the purpose of the tour was to have a firsthand view and an initial brainstorming session as to whether the park is a feasible possibility.

???From here, we will have some further discussions with various stakeholders and then ultimately, prepare a proposal for the consideration of the Cabinet. The Cabinet will then determine whether it will give the green light in principle pending the holding of wider sectoral consultation.???

The Minister underscored the importance of the tour, saying the officials received vital information to assist in making a determination as to how to proceed. ???Once the Cabinet considers that this is something we can look at in principle, we would convene a town hall meeting to consult with the public and of course do the necessary due diligence and other consultations before we proceed,??? he stressed.

Mr. Lashley further disclosed that his Ministry was poised to start the restoration of the Queen???s Park buildings. ???Once the final architectural drawings are back, we should be ready to start that work; so this creates a good opportunity to have a discussion of the general improvement of the park. We do need to find an appropriate location for our National Heroes and we have to look at what we have discussed and come up with how we will proceed,??? he reiterated.

He pointed out that the Botanical Garden, which is adjacent to the National Stadium, was previously looked at. However, he noted that Queen???s Park was more appealing because it formed part of the UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Property Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, and because of the attractive improvements done to the Church Village Green, which is opposite the park.

Author: Sharon Austin/Jamal Weekes

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