The Empire Theatre

Government has set up a 17-member task force, Team Restoration, to assist with the identifying and sourcing of funds to restore heritage properties in Barbados.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, who revealed that Senator Professor Henry Fraser would chair the task force, while his Deputy would be Glenda Medford.

The other members are: John Cole, Paul Altman, Dr. Trevor Carmichael, David Neilands, Gilbert Rowe, Antonio "Boo" Rudder, Penelope Hynam, Mikey Hulsmeier, Varia Williams, Bobbi McKay or representative, Dr. Karl Watson, Aaron Truss, Patrick Tannis, the Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports and a representative of the World Heritage Committee.

The task force’s appointment took effect from September 24, and it is for a period of one year, in the first instance.

Mr. Lashley explained that the responsibilities of the task force would also be to make recommendations to the Division of Culture on strategies for raising funds for the restoration of heritage structures in Barbados, starting with those located within Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison.

"Team Restoration will also liaise with private sector organisations and individuals to encourage them to make technical and or financial contributions to these restoration projects," he added.

He stressed that Barbados "has a shared cultural heritage", and therefore, it was the responsibility of all to ensure the preservation of the structures for future generations.

Underscoring the importance of the task force, he said many historic World Heritage structures were under constant threat of destruction, sometimes as a result of decay, but also because of ever-changing global, social and economic conditions.

"So too, in Barbados, many of the magnificent structures which tell the story of our people, our colourful history and culture are in a state of disrepair. The prevailing economic situation has made it challenging for Government to undertake the restoration of all of these structures on its own," he argued.

He pointed out that there were some historic buildings in rural Barbados and Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison that were in need of refurbishment. He listed some of them as: the Empire Theatre, the Carnegie Library, the Guard Hut at Aquatic Gap, Queen’s Park House facilities, namely the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre and the Queen’s Park Gallery; and the Round House on Bay Street.

According to Minister Lashley, the cost of restoring these buildings would total several million dollars.


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