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THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Royal visit just goes to show

Al Gilkes

THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Royal visit just goes to show

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Most people would believe that Barbados’ happiest person last week over the visit by Prince Edward and Princess Sophie was Julian Hunte.
On Wednesday he was the centre of attraction in the MIDWEEK NATION as he was highlighted freshening up his “royal outfit” and hoping to get as close as he could to meet the couple.
Two days later, Julian was again featured, this time in the WEEKEND NATION, among a handful of people who assembled in Heroes Square to greet the prince and princess as they arrived for a joint seating of the Houses of Parliament.
Like Crimeson, don’t ask me ’cause I did not see, but according to the newspaper, Julian carried large Barbados and British flags, a conch shell and an old photograph of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II from her 1952 coronation.
He reportedly drew a smile from Prince Edward, who waved in response to his shouting “All right, Prince Edward! God bless you, man!” as the motorcade proceeded down Wharf Road.
You will hardly believe this but there was one Barbadian who was even happier than Julian Hunte over the Royal visit. I was that person.
Yes, me. So happy was I that when I read that no lesser a personage than Queen Elizabeth II herself had been invited to come to Barbados in 2014 for our Parliament’s 375th anniversary, I almost cried tears of joy.
And do you know what would make me even happier? It would be for one member or another of the Royal Family to be invited to pay an official visit to Barbados every month of the year.
Never before have I seen so much done for so few with so much money to spruce up a few areas around Barbados as was done in a matter of days prior to the arrival of the Royals.
Overnight, road markings and life-threatening pedestrian crossings at roundabouts that had long melted into the blackness of Barber Greene, resurfaced white as snow for all to be able to see and use again. Bus stops and road signs that had been hiding from sight long before RPB started to search for his brother, stepped out from behind overgrown trees, thick bushes and strangling vines to surprise many a motorist and commuter with their existence.
So just imagine the transformation that would take place across the length and breadth of Barbados if $800 000 or so was spent fixing up, sprucing up, painting up and brightening up for a royal visit once a month every month! Each royal visitor, however, would have to travel different roads through different districts so that in the long run every square mile from North Point to East Point to South Point and any point in the west would benefit.
For example, a Royal visitor next month could be taken to the Fire Service headquarters on Probyn Street. Overnight that would rid the country of a major eyesore in the dilapidated remains of what used to be the Empire Theatre.
I am sure each of you knows where you personally would want a prince or princess to pass or visit so that life would be made more comfortable and beautiful for you and your community.