EDITORIAL: Reworking Antiquities Bill a good move
IT IS NOT OFTEN that we hear of Government going back to the drawing board to rework an act or bill to ensure that it has strong teeth to effect the change needed in the respective area it is intended. We applaud it when it is done.
In this case, the applause is for Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley who revealed Government would be taking another look at the Preservation Of Antiquities And Relics Bill which he said would have saved Roland Edwards’ dilapidated house in Speightstown, St Peter.
While it is unfortunate that this house has fallen into such a state of disrepair, we must celebrate the fact that there is such a piece of legislation in place that will seek to preserve buildings which are important to this country’s history and heritage. Too many of these significant buildings have fallen into ruin and there is no doubt that some efforts must be made to ensure they are preserved.
It is indeed a sad reflection on our country and on us as individuals that we do not respect our history and seek to protect what is ours. Those buildings, cultures and national treasures that are important must be respected.
The need for this legislation cannot be emphasised enough. When we see the state of the house of the man who composed the music for this country’s National Anthem, how can we not feel a strong obligation to ensure that this building, as well are others, are well protected for the nation’s future.
We can no longer afford to turn a blind eye when we see these treasures eroding and falling to pieces. The pride we feel as a people must translate into action. We must not react only when these buildings dominate headlines and are close to being demolished. There must be an ongoing and sustained action plan to preserve the gems that are indigenous and have a significant meaning for our heritage.
Our historic buildings that are in danger of destruction must be listed and not just for the archives, but as a way of educating our public.
We are heartened to hear the minister say that officials are reviewing the bill after some concerns were raised. We therefore look forward to this bill being passed as we seek to preserve our history for future generations.
Let us reflect on the words of the National Anthem:
In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride was sprung
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood.
It is with this pride of nationhood that we welcome a relook of the Preservation Of Antiquities And Relics Bill.