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HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Make them ‘national treasures’

HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, [email protected]

HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Make them ‘national treasures’

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AS ACTIVITIES to mark the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence move into high gear, the deputy director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society is calling for the remaining master craftsmen from that era to be named as living national treasures.

Kevin Farmer was delivering the Democratic Labour Party’s weekly lunchtime lecture at the party’s headquarters in Belleville, last Friday. His theme was: How Do We Celebrate 50?

Farmer said while the call to recognise the island’s unsung heroes was not new, he suggested another spin could be added to it.

“I want to change it from not just exploring the unsung heroes but in fact to do something to commemorate what they have done and, for me, that is to introduce a concept of calling someone a living national treasure,” he said.

“We lament the fact that master craftsmen, be they joiners, blacksmiths, saddle makers, coopers, seamstresses are disappearing, but some of  them are still alive, and their knowledge needs to be recorded. They need to be acknowledged for the things they have done and, in fact, having the creation of a living national treasure whilst they are still alive, I think, is very important.”

He said it was important, in a small community, for such a gallery of people to be identified and acknowledged.

The museum’s deputy director said Barbados needed to continue telling its Independence after November 30, 2016 since it “was not important enough to just celebrate the fact that we turned 50”.

“It is something which the majority of Barbadians and officials need to look at for the simple fact that most of us grew up knowing something about Independence, but we now live in a land where, let’s say, those under the age of 25 or even under 30, they don’t really connect with what that Independence story is.

“And it means we need to continually tell that Independence story. One of the ways that can be done is if a given primary school or secondary school goes into the community and finds those persons who were alive in ’66 and who made the trek to the Garrison, and record those persons’ memories – their oral history of that day.”