Trooping the colour
THE HISTORIC CITY of Bridgetown became the focal point of activity yesterday in a splendid and colourful display of pomp, culture, and military precision.
It all came together as the island celebrated the 375th anniversary of Parliament, made more special with the presence of British royalty in the Earl and Countess of Wessex – Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, and his wife Sophia.
The two Royals were led into the courtyard of parliament, where they greeted Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, Clerk of Parliament Pedro Eastmond, Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Carrington and other dignitaries in the evening.
Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave led his own entourage, as the scores of guests, comprising members of Cabinet, other Government MPs, senators, members of the business community and the island’s newest knights, Sir Trevor Carmichael and Sir Trevor Hassell, mingled.
But earlier in the day, scores of Barbados from every walk of life joined thousands of visitors from four cruise ships in witnessing a dynamic military parade that started on Constitution Road at the Ministry of Education and ended in Heroes Square to the cheers of onlookers.
Vehicular and pedestrian traffic came to a temporary halt and there was hardly room to stand on the sidewalks as locals and visitors viewed the resplendent military personnel.
The parade coincided with the Bridgetown Alive! Project also, as a town crier and live mannequins were added to the excitement.
The event reached a high point when the parade arrived outside Parliament and lined off in front of two members of the Yeomen of the Guard, also known as Beefeaters, the bodyguards of the British Monarchy and the oldest British military corps still in existence.
The two resolute yeomen drew much attention from the crowd, who wasted no time snapping pictures next to them, with the bolder ones touching them, until police officers cleared them away.
The Barbados Legion, smartly dressed in their Zouave uniforms, performed the changing of the guard, replete with skilful drumming and marching.
Businesses in Bridgetown also joined in the celebration as Cave Shepherd, the island’s largest department store on Broad Street, staged an in-house hat and head piece competition, while tea and cookies were served.
Store manager Andrew Wilkinson said the focus on elements of English culture was to give Barbadians an appreciation of the country that had such a big influence on the island.
Also forming part of yesterday’s packed activities was the lifting of the Chamberlain Bridge to allow the boats participating in today’s Royal Regatta Barbados 2014 to dock at the inner basin of the Careenage.
There, team members took part in the flotilla salute to Earl and Countess of Wessex Prince Edward and Sophia. Prince Edward, who will be participating in the regatta, greeted the teams as well as students taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh International Awards. (RJ/CA/LK/GE)