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City monument a garbage can

Heather-Lynn Evanson

City monument a garbage can

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A near 150-year-old Bridgetown monument, which was dedicated as a source of water for the thirsty, is now being used as a garbage can.
The ugly practice has upset experienced monument conservator Angel Santiago-Torres, who last year spent four weeks removing more than 100 years of dirt, pigeon mess and exhaust grime from the Montefiore Monument in the square at Coleridge Street, The City.
Back in Barbados to continue his work, Santiago-Torres observed that while the monument had withstood the ravages of last year’s weather, even the passage of Tropical Storm Tomas, it was falling prey to litterbugs.
“I think it has held up really nice,” he said.
“I expected more damage because of the rain and the hurricane, but everything was fine.
“The only thing I want to point out,” he added, “is there are some people who are using the monument as a garbage can, and they are putting a lot of garbage inside the fountain and now we need to remove the stone that holds the bowl of the fountain to remove all the garbage from there.”
Santiago-Torres is urging Barbadians to see the monument as part of their heritage and treat it as such.
“That’s why I try to enhance it, so that people will see it is a live monument. It is not only for the Government, but for all people of Barbados and those who come to look at it and get some of the history of Barbados,” he stressed.
So far, the conservator has enhanced the script encircling the base of the monument and is currently working on replacing two broken ornaments near the top.
With a crew of helpers, he is giving the monument a further facelift, including a paint job, and replacing some of the broken ornaments.
The monument to drinking water was presented by John Montefiore, in memory of his father who died of cholera, to the “thirsty wayfarers of Bridgetown”.
It was first erected in 1865 but was moved to its present location in 1940.