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BLP COLUMN: BLP contributed too

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

BLP COLUMN: BLP contributed too

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BLP legacy: Vastly improved the rights and status of women; gave equal rights to children born in and out of marriage; gave plantation tenants the right to purchase land at ten cents a square foot.
Like the overwhelming majority of Barbadians, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is immensely proud that Bridgetown and the Garrison Savannah area has at long last been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with all the respect, prestige and attraction such a title carries worldwide and its potential for earning considerable economic benefit if managed properly from here on.
However, unable to point to even one achievement of long-term and meaningful developmental value after nearly four years in government, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has been desperately treating this milestone as though it had been reached solely through its own initiative and drive since coming to office in January 2008.
But Government’s official records will show that the process to earn the UNESCO listing had started a decade earlier, pioneered by Dame Billie Miller and Mia Mottley.
Pointing this out is vital for the accuracy and completeness of the public record. It represents an occasion when the DLP did not scrap a BLP initiative through shortsightedness and a determination to exploit the emotions of the public.
Younger Barbadians would find it hard to believe that the DLP which promotes itself as “progressive” had bitterly opposed: the Government Headquarters building, the Deep Water Harbour, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Barbados Defence Force, the ABC Highway, the Central Bank Building and, most recently, the redevelopment of Kensington Oval for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
Laughed at by the DLP as a “white elephant”, in the bitterest of ironies the DLP turned to Kensington Oval for the 2008 swearing-in of its Government, the funeral service of Prime Minister David Thompson and today’s staging of the Rihanna LOUD concert, reckoned to be the biggest ever event of its kind in Barbados. Without it, what would have been the alternative venue?
So in the interest of continuity the public should know that the BLP took the first steps towards the World Heritage Site listing by: in 1998 attending the inscription of the Morne Trois Piton Site in Dominica and recommending to Cabinet the ratification of the World Heritage Convention; 2000, establishing a World Heritage Committee as part of Barbados’ National Commission for UNESCO, with the commission doing a comprehensive analysis of the requirements, implications and expected benefits of five international conventions for protecting cultural property; 2001, submission to the minister of the report on the legal analysis of conventions, holding national consultations with UNESCO’s heritage expert and its regional director and Cabinet approving the ratification of international conventions including the World Heritage Convention; 2002, ratifying relevant conventions and publishing Pathway To A Heritage Strategy; 2003, Cabinet establishing a World Heritage Task Force and participation in the Harmonisation of Tentative Lists conference, Kingstown, St Vincent; 2004, participating in Caribbean Action Plan in favour of World Heritage, Castries, St Lucia; 2006, hosting a conference on Outstanding Universal Value, Authenticity And Integrity in a Caribbean context; and 2007, Barbados being elected to the World Heritage Committee for four years.