HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Cemetery ‘treasures’ could lure tourists
PEOPLE AND LIVESTOCK are ruining a place that could have earning potential as a tourist attraction.
In fact, argues Superintendent of Cemeteries Ricky Cummins, all Westbury Cemetery needs is a good manicure before visitors flock to the site to see its World War I graves, those belonging to members of the West India Regiment and its magnificent funerary architecture.
Cummins, who took Heather-Lynn’s Habitat on a tour of the expansive 35.6-acre cemetery which dates back to the 1850s, acknowledged that the cemetery has had a problem with sheep and cows being tethered there.
“It was just one man,” he said.
This has meant that mourners and visitors have to gingerly negotiate their way around or through animal droppings.
In addition, late-night acts of lawlessness, as well as day-time violence, have robbed magnificent marble statues of assorted parts and driven fear among cemetery staff.
Only last Monday morning, Sanitation Service Authority workers, as well as those visiting dearly departed ones, had to scamper in fear for their lives when two men engaged in a shoot-out. The men were ducking and leaping across graves as they continued firing shots at each other.
“We’ve had some vandalism in here,” Cummins said.
“They [the vandals] knocked the hands off of the Virgin Mary and they knocked off the wings of the angel. This head is broken,” he said, as he pointed out the damaged funerary architecture.
Despite this, Cummins said he felt the site with its historic graves could become a visitor attraction.
When it was first established in 1854, the walkways between the resting places of Barbados’ legal and business white elite were paved.
“So all you need is to have it manicured,” he said. “I don’t know why it is taking them so long to recognise its potential.”