Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, speaking about the Empire Theatre Project. (G. Brewster/BGIS)??

Government has received three major submissions from persons interested in restoring the Empire Theatre.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, following reports that a negative campaign had been mounted on Facebook about the Empire Theatre Project.

Mr. Lashley said today at his Warrens office that his Ministry had "not been sitting idly by to watch the Empire Theatre fall to the ground", but it had had "detailed discussions" on those recommendations.

??"These proposals have been looked at, they have been analysed and I expect that sometime next week we will be taking to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure a recommendation in relation to the way forward as it relates to those three proposals.

"Now it must be appreciated that we are still at a very critical stage of the evaluation process. The Ministry, of course, does the evaluation, makes the recommendation to Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure and then those recommendations have to go to the full Cabinet for approval," he revealed.

The Minister further disclosed that he had discussions with senior officials in his Ministry about the possibility of placing a roof on the building, as well as clearing the inside of it. He explained that dialogue must now take place with the Ministry of Housing and Lands.

However, Mr. Lashley was adamant that the process of restoring the theatre was not something that could revolve around a dream or aspiration of any particular person. "There is a very specific process and, that process, has been initiated. That requires, for example, an appraisal of the building and, of course, it is known that in this very difficult financial and economic period, the restoration of the Empire [theatre], left to the government alone, would take quite some time. So, we have appealed to our private sector partners and those interested in the restoration of the Empire," he stated.

The Empire Theatre has been in a state of disrepair for many years, but the Minister noted that its importance had been further heightened by the recent designation of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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