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Bajans call for heritage sites to be preserved


Carol Martindale

Bajans call for heritage sites to be preserved

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There is a resounding “no” from some Barbadians when asked if they believed enough is being done to preserve this country’s heritage sites. When the question was posed to our online readers, most say that more should be done to ensure that Barbados’ treasures are maintained. One reader, who is a tour guide, saysenough value is not placed on historical sites. She says: “It seems that we don’t place enough value on these sites. It is about passing on the history and legacy of these places of interest to future Barbadians. It is about proudly relating the stories of these sites to our visitors. It seems our main focus is to preserve beaches that will recede and then return with the ebb and flow of the tides anyhow. Why not focus on what we can control? We as Barbadians need a serious change of attitude, like it or not, tourism is our main foreign exchange earner and we have to respect these sites that bring our bread and butter”. She adds: “As a tour guide I am sorry to say that soon we will be informing tour participants, ‘this house was also destroyed by fire’”. Other readers who arevocal on this issue even point to some examples where sites have not been preserved, including Ragged Point and Sam Lord’s Castle, which was recently gutted by fire. While a number of readers simply say “No” to the question, others elaborate. The following are just some of the comments from those who vented on the issue. – I came to visit recently and was amazed at the poor condition of many sites. Once they are gone, it’s forever. –  We Bajans don’t seem to care very much about our heritage. It’s always up to others to protect what is our own!   – Absolutely not. We either let places run to ruin or push them down to make way for newer things. We don’t appreciate our history enough. –  We have to learn to value what we have and that is our birthright! We will not appreciate the value until it is all gone. I feel sorry for the children of this nation. They will have no viable future. When tourism is finally gone what will be the foundation of this ecconomy, back to sugar? – Absolutely not – look at Ragged Point for example. And what happened to Sam Lord’s is a crying shame, left to rot and the rest destroyed by fire. How pray tell do you intend to attract tourism when there is nothing left?  Do you really think sand, sun and water are enough? But then again, the beaches are not pristine either, and the access to the Atlantic beaches (Bottom, Foul, Long Bay for example, the public access to Crane Beach) )are dangerous and/or rotten. – Definitely not. People are too quick to demolish old buildings!! – No, and the sad thing is that when I have kids and bring them to Barbados to show them their heritage and all about where I came from. I wonder if there will be anything left. – No, a far greater awareness and protection of Barbados’ heritage sites is desperately needed. Already we have lost so much, and the trend goes on. Swift action needs to be taken to implement strict adherence to preservation and maintenance of our heritage sites. – No. More needs to be done in that department. Shame on us as a country. – In comparison to that of Canada and Europe and even the United States of America, no I don’t. Even in the USA, the businesses in the smaller states contribute a stipend either monthly, quarterly or annually to the upkeep of heritage sites in close vicinity or simply just in their state. Why wait for the government to do everything? Some of these business are small but every little bit counts and the citizens feel a sense of ownership when they contribute to their heritage. – The history of Sam’s Lord’s Castle is relevant to our National (Eurocentric) History. I’d like to see us try to document and preserve our ancestral (Afrocentric) histories. It’s hard to care about preserving our National Heritage when our personal heritage languishes in the archives.

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