Toast to our heritageThe children of Pinelands Creative Workshop delivering arguably the performance of the evening with their precise moves. (Nigel Browne)
By Mike King | Thu, June 14, 2012 - 8:00 AM
Hundreds of Barbadians from all walks of life lined the Garrison Savannah to see the historic unveiling of signage and the plaque that herald the place of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
And, before dozens of dignitaries including UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, Members of Parliament and the diplomatic corps, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart encouraged Barbadians to embrace the site as their own.
Stuart reminded Barbadians they should see themselves as custodians, caretakers, and in the words of the National Anthem, as “strict guardians of our heritage”.
Stuart was presented with the Inscription Certificate during the two-hour Inscription Ceremony enhanced by memorable performances from the impressive Pinelands Creative Workshop children, the 100-strong choir of St Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School, and a stirring rendition of I Am A Bajan by international recording artiste Rupee.
The Prime Minister told an audience that included 99-year-old Madeline Barrow of Dayrells Road, Christ Church, that it was now the responsibility of every citizen and resident of Barbados to treasure and preserve the site.
“We must preserve it in such a way that we can with pride share it with the rest of the world, and pass it on to those who will come after us,” he said.
This year, UNESCO celebrates the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention and Stuart felt it was fitting that Barbados was celebrating its inscription as a world heritage property at this time.
Stuart noted that of the 936 cultural and natural heritage properties currently inscribed on the World Heritage List, only eight are located in CARICOM countries. On the other hand, there are 36 World Heritage properties in Germany, 43 in Spain, and 21 in the United States.
“I am delighted to know that UNESCO has acknowledged this troubling imbalance in the composition of the list, and that steps are already being taken to address this problem,” he said.
Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley, who led the Barbados delegation to the World Heritage Committee last year, said the significance of the inscription cannot be underestimated.
Lashley said that every stakeholder had a role to play and it was not the sole responsibility of Government to preserve and maintain the site.
The minister reminded Barbadians there was now a plan for the management and preservation of the property.
This plan outlines the responsibilities of governmental and non-governmental agencies, and members of public.
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