Government is working towards building a legislative framework to protect and preserve Barbados??? heritage.

Word of this came this morning from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, as he delivered the feature address at the opening of a two-day workshop sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS) on Developing National Heritage Legislation at the Radisson Aquatica Resort, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.

Mr. Lashley stated that, as acknowledged by the OAS, a national programme for heritage conservation must be founded on a sound legal basis which is articulated by a comprehensive national law and the requisite administrative structures to effectively and efficiently carry out the devised programme.

Noting that in Barbados the protection of our heritage was high on the national agenda, he said this type of action was embedded in our National Cultural Policy, which was introduced in 2010.

Mr. Lashley pointed out that in that document, Government stated its commitment to several UN Conventions, including the 2005 Conventions which supported cultural diversity and spoke to safeguarding and protecting our tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

He added that also reflected in the National Policy was our recognition of the role of museums and libraries in the conservation of our cultural heritage and our need to support them.

???Following the inscription of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a World Heritage Property in 2011, the Cabinet of Barbados established some important committees. The first of these is the World Heritage Committee, which has oversight for the preservation and conservation of Barbados??? cultural heritage including the management of our World Heritage Property.

???Also established was the Task Force for the Preservation of Barbados??? Built Heritage. This Task Force, through the Barbados Foundation Trust, is the force behind the National Restoration Campaign which is charged with raising funds to assist with the restoration of historic buildings across Barbados,??? Mr. Lashley highlighted.

According to OAS Representative in Barbados, Francis McBarnette, the objective of the workshop was to enable a discussion on the elements of effective national heritage legislation for the member states of the eastern Caribbean.

???The prevailing view is that an effective national programme of conservation must be founded on a sound legal basis??? Culture and cultural heritage has often not held centre place in our conversations on economic development despite its crucial importance for our societies and the wider acknowledgement of its great potential to contribute to social, economic and environmental goals,??? he explained.

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