• Today
    July 18

  • 02:13 PM

SOS for fading lights

Heather-Lynn Evanson,

Added 10 June 2012

lighthouse7017

TENDER THEM OUT. Rent them to private entrepreneurs. Do something with them but don’t let slip them any further into ruin. This is the plea from Senator Professor Henry Fraser who has made an urgent call to save the island’s lighthouses. It has come in the wake of reports that people are pillaging Harrison Point lighthouse, in St Lucy, for metal to sell to scrap metal dealers. Fraser told the SUNDAY SUN he had spoken with officials at the Barbados Port Inc. (which is responsible for the lighthouses) and at the Ministry of International Transport, as recently as a few months ago, in an attempt to “persuade the ministry and port to take action and tender out the lighthouses, for a peppercorn rent to private entrepreneurs to develop them as historic tourism sites”. “It works all over the world, especially Canada,” he added. Stressing that people love the mystique associated with lighthouses and there were parties passionate to save them, Fraser noted: “They are interested, but it needs much persuasion to get action in this time of economic recession and other concerns.” Attempts to reach Harbour Master Richard Alleyne of the Barbados Port Inc. were unsuccessful, but a source within the Barbados Port Inc. said there were plans to refurbish the lighthouses, but there was no money. The four sentinels that once guided ships safely through some of the more dangerous parts of the island’s coastline are Harrison Point, which was built in 1925; Gordon’s Lighthouse or South Point, Christ Church, which was erected in 1852; Ragged Point or East Point, in St Philip, in 1875, and Needham’s Point, on Hilton Barbados’ compound in St Michael, in 1855. Best of four South Point Lighthouse, the oldest, is made entirely of cast iron and was refurbished in 2004/2005. Its premises currently house a Ministry of Transport and Works depot. Needham’s Point lighthouse, the second oldest, is the only one that is octagonal and is in the best condition. Also setting it apart was its light that was stationary unlike the others which rotated. The port and starboard of Carlisle Bay were determined by the split red and green light on the lighthouse which alerted vessels as to which side they were approaching. Ragged Point Lighthouse, the third oldest and of coral stone construction, is barred from the public with its exterior door boarded up and its interior access, through the keeper’s house, bricked up. Part of the rail surrounding the lantern room, which sports cracked panes of glass, is missing. A massive tree is the only thing that now calls the attached building home. Harrison Point, the youngest of the four, is arguably in the worst state, with its protective metal door wrenched out of the wall, its interior trashed and the glass in its surmounting lantern room broken.

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