We have become a superficial people.
In 2011 Bridgetown, capital city of Barbados and the surrounding Garrison, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. What does being designated a world heritage site mean many will ask after a decade of acquiring the designation.
World Heritage is the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.UNESCO
Questions have been asked what has the government, Barbados National Trust and relevant stakeholders done to impress upon Barbadians the importance of ‘preserving and protecting the natural built heritage of Barbados’. The blogmaster is prepared to state that the average Barbadian does NOT connect to our heritage in any significant way. Our identity is one being developed as we meander along. There has been no significant effort by successive governments, traditional and non traditional media to push and sponsor programs which ‘give [Barbadians] a chance to understand traditions and related cultural details’. We are proud to ‘transactionalize’ the UNESCO designation to sell Barbados when tourists visit.
Last month the Nation newspaper highlighted that artefacts were stolen from the derelict and abandoned West Wing of parliament. The missing items were discovered by a parliament employee while giving a tour to school children. What does it say about us as a people who would remove Lord Nelson’s statue from its prominent location on Broad Street, however, allow artefacts like ‘the jacket which Barbados’ first Prime Minister Errol Barrow wore on November 30, 1966, when this country gained Independence’ to be stolen by a street walker rumoured to be Ninjaman.
It is ironic the case of the stolen artefacts is being highlighted during November, the month of Independence. If ever there was a good time to pause and reflect on our mirror image, it is now.
We have become a superficial people.
See today’s Nation newspaper follow up on the embarrassing incident. As usual one can expect no person to be held accountable for the lack of security at the Parliament Buildings.
Mum on artefacts
Still no official word about items removed from Parliament
by MARIA BRADSHAW
THREE WEEKS AFTER a SUNDAY SUN exposé about the artefacts which went missing from Parliament Buildings, Government officials are yet to say anything about the situation or tell the public what items were stolen.
When the DAILY NATION reached Speaker of the House of Assembly, Arthur Holder, yesterday evening, he stated: “Speak to my clerk, Ma’am.” When informed that it was the public’s right to know what items were missing, he replied: “Thanks for telling me.”
Clerk of Parliament Pedro Eastmond was equally tight-lipped when contacted for the second time about the situation. Asked for the list of missing items, he said: “As you are aware, this matter is under investigation by the police who have been given such details. I certainly would not want to prejudice that investigation.”
To date, all that was revealed from inside sources was that more than 20 artefacts, including the jacket which Barbados’ first Prime Minister Errol Barrow wore on November 30, 1966, when this country gained Independence, as well as his musket gun, were gone. Other things missing include jewellery, household items and articles of clothing belonging to other national heroes which were on display.
Some of the priceless items were on display in glass cases at the Parliament Museum and the National Heroes Gallery in the West Wing of Parliament, but the two museums were temporarily closed as that section had been condemned.
Reports indicate that no one has been able to confirm when the items went missing either, since the museums have been shut since 2020. The discovery was made when an employee went to get a ballot box to show to schoolchildren who were on a tour of Parliament.
Sources told the DAILY NATION it is widely believed that the items were stolen by a well-known vagrant who frequents the Treasury Building area and who previously broke into the museum and stole shoes. That vagrant was seen a few months ago wearing a jacket. The sources said fingerprints have also been discovered on the door of the museum by police probing the theft.
However, sources said the vagrant was inaccessible, presently being a patient of the Psychiatric Hospital. Furthermore, all of the homeless person’s belongings which are usually kept in plastic bags and in a supermarket trolley were picked up by the Sanitation Service Authority and dumped when hoarding was erected around the Treasury Building a few months ago.
Meanwhile, some of the remaining artefacts were recently removed and taken into the possession of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS).
When reached yesterday, Kevin Farmer, deputy director of the BMHS, said: “We can confirm that personnel from the Barbados Museum and Historical Society took possession of its loaned artefacts to the Museum of Parliament and National Heroes Gallery.”Nation Newspaper