Harsher penalties needed
The existing penalies against those who allow structures to fall into ruin are too “benign” if Barbados’ heritage is to be preserved.
“I don’t think they are punitive enough to act as a deterrent,” says president of The Barbados National Trust, Dr Karl Watson.
In a telephone interview today Watson pinpoints other structures like the grotto on River Road (next to Nassco motors) and the “three sisters” building on Bay Street as two buildings which have been allowed to deteriorate.
“Given the climate of the tropics, if a building is shut and abandoned, deterioration is rapid. The lifespan of a building in that condition is five to ten years then they simply collapse through lack of ongoing maintenance,” he says.
Watson says this is an ongoing problem in Barbados, one he says the Trust is powerless to stop. “The Trust has no policing or punitive powers. We can only seek to encourage people to preserve our historic structures but beyond that, preservation comes under the aegis of town and country planning,” he says.
Watson says Town and Country Planning was responsive when there are issues but could only work within the framework of legislation.He also says the penalties for ignoring Barbados’ heritage can be dire for the island.
“Heritage has psychological values related to our identity; educational values; physical value as they are symbols of aspects of our history and economic value,” he firstname.lastname@example.org