Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, addressing members of the Barbados National Trust at the Annual General??Meeting. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Corporate Barbados and members of the public are being called up on to embrace heritage preservation, as well as support the Barbados National Trust.

This appeal has come from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the Trust’s annual general meeting yesterday at its Wildey, St. Michael headquarters.

Mr. Lashley expressed the view that with the inscription of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, it was now time for all Barbadians, both at the individual and corporate levels, to instill greater awareness and appreciation for their heritage.

"My call to all Barbadians is to embrace the need for heritage preservation.?? The Government and its social partners must make this a priority.?? Our heritage, our past, our history – let us get to know it and see how it continues to influence who we are today," he urged.

He suggested that the extent to which corporate Barbados succeeded and was sustainable, especially in these challenging economic times, depended heavily on the society in which they operated. "The social benefits that accrue from the development and preservation of our heritage assets are many, and include the strengthening of our identity as a nation, the enhancement of our tourism product, and the creation for revenue earning and job creation.

"Do not focus on today. Be guided also by your vision of the future. At its best, it is said, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future," he noted.

The Minister described Barbados’ heritage as a colourful blend of many influences and surmised it was the responsibility of all to learn about how it evolved, and how it manifested itself today, not only in the buildings and structures around us, but also in how people lived.

Mr. Lashley noted that the membership of the UK National Trust stood at 3.5 million members in 2007, making it the largest non-profit membership-based organisation in that country. However, he pointed out that the membership of the Barbados National Trust was in the vicinity of a mere 800 and there was a need for "people to come on board in support of the organisation".

He told the gathering that, in some instances, the Trust was not regarded as an organisation that had relevance for the average man in the street and he expressed concern that a greater number of Barbadians "are not minded to acquaint themselves with the role of the National Trust".

He added: "Membership of the National Trust is not a major financial investment in terms of money.?? It is a mere $63.25 per year. But, it is definitely a worthwhile investment in the future of our country and our people.?? But membership fees alone will not sustain the operations of our National Trust.?? Consider this – during the period 2010 to 2011, the UK National Trust received over ??30 million in sponsorship.???? What is our Trust’s level of sponsorship?"

The Minister also encouraged more Barbadians to adopt a spirit of volunteerism, stating that if they assisted organisations such as the Barbados National Trust, it would bring them indescribable satisfaction.


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