MAVIS BECKLES: History being destroyed
WELL, FROM THE WAY how things looking in this country, it is only a matter of time before all the old buildings dat hold the history o’ this country are totally gone.
Evah time ya look around, ya could see another old building being dismantled or getting knock down like the beautiful li’l chapel up in there by the Lazaretto or the old Leacock slave hut in Walmer Lodge. And nuh matter how many stamps or tags or whatevah else ya does call dem dat the people at the National Trust put on pon these buildings or nuh matter how much people get in the newspapers or on pon the radio call-in programmes and protest, the people still gine ’long and doing as duh like.
Then ya got the buildings dat still there and barely hanging on, begging fuh li’l notice and all ya does be hearing aaallllll the time – A Government come and a Government go, be it B, D, E, or F – is dat duh got plan tuh repair dem, and plans are on the way or in place tuh restore these historic buildings tuh their former glory. Yeah, right!
Look at the Daphne Joseph-Hackett Theatre there in historic Queen’s Park. Duh gine wait till a li’l strong breeze pass cross and lick off part o’ the roof, then another piece gine guh ’long and then the paros gine start tuh occupy it. Next thing ya know, the Press gine publish some pictures and all sorts o’ people gine be jumping up and carrying on and before the cat could lick he ear, ya gine hear dat it is a health hazard so duh gine have tuh lick it down.
The Empire Theatre is another example. Dat theatre was there fuh years and all kinds o’ administrations come and went, promising the L, the R and the eleventh star, but up tuh now not one thing aint get do yet. That is one o’ the most beautiful theatres you could find anywhere and yet another derelict building in the very heart o’ historic Bridgetown.
It look tuh me dat I gine dead and guh long and not one thing ain’t gine be done ’bout none o’ dem and the ones dat want repairing and restoring gine fall apart and the other set o’ new people who will tek up position in Bay Street and residence at Ilaro Court ain’t gine see the value of none o’ these buildings and gine do just like how the ones before dem do – knock dem tuh France down. A friend o’ mine say dat this is a mash up and buy back Government.
Doctor Henry Fraser, Mr Hudson, Mr Greenidge, all the other historians and even the fella McCaskie from CBC could do all the research in the world; duh talk chalk. They could get people tuh walk up and down all ovah Bridgetown in the day and even in the night, giving all kinds o’ historic information tuh interested Bajans ’bout this country.
The Barbados National Trust could line off duh stickers all ovah the building people duh does do at election time. When dem people ready tuh lick down anything, they doan see, neither are they interested in nuh stickers. All dem does be interested in doing is moving in wid the big bulldozers and flattening the building just so.
You could imagine dat if you want tuh enjoy Laff-It-Off, you got tuh go tuh a school hall? Well I tell ya: we ’bout here ain’t easy at all. We shameless, I aint telling nuh lie.
You could imagine dat we ain’t got nuhwhere ’bout here tuh hold a simple concert? If ya want tuh have a simple concert and looking tuh attract around a thousand people, ya gotta go tuh Sherbourne? Oh, sorry! I mean the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, if ya please, and because it is a conference centre, ya have tuh bring in evahthing from the stage down, in order tuh convert the place tuh look like a concert hall and even then half the people doan be able tuh see wha’ going on pon the stage because evahbody does be pon the same level.
Doan talk ’bout the bigger shows like some o’ dem big Crop Ovah events. Try and look fuh the Gymnasium or the National Stadium or, more recently, Kensington Oval. By the way, leh muh tell ya something: if the rain fall at all, the dog dead.
Mavis Beckles was born and raised in The Orleans. She has an opinion on everything.