Barbados’ supercentenarian, James Emmanuel Sisnett, and the Barbados Association of Retired Persons were the recipients of framed photographs from the launching ceremony of the Centennial Pass, a dedication to centenarians which is located next to the 300-year-old baobab tree at Jackson, St. Michael.
The presentations were made by newly-appointed Minister of Transport and Works, Mr. Michael Lashley and Permament Secretary, Lionel Nurse.
The Centennial Pass arose out of a proposal by the Ministry to remove a silk cotton tree which was impacting on road works at Jackson, St. Michael under the Warrens Traffic Safety Improvement Project. Following a public outcry from conservationists regarding the removal of the culturally-significant tree, the Ministry met with the group, which included members of the Future Centre Trust and the Barbados National Trust, and agreed to plant another silk cotton tree in a nearby area.
The Barbados Museum will be carving a canoe from the trunk of the felled silk cotton tree and it was also agreed that the area across from the site and next to the baobab tree should be designated as Centennial Pass in honour of Barbados’ centenarians. This is an example of the Ministry’s mantra of “beyond engineering” which essentially means that its activities extend further than concrete, asphalt and other products associated with building – there is also a human element which must be taken into account when proceeding with infrastructural development.
A monument showing the names of the centenarians (from 1966 when the island gained Independence to the present) will be mounted in the Centennial Pass.
During the presentation to Sisnett, Minister Lashley noted that it was an example of Government’s commitment to centenarians, noting that there were many social programmes in the island which looked after the needs of those in this category.
In response, Linda Bowen, Manager of Ocean View Nursing Home where the supercentenarian is a resident, said Sisnett had a great sense of humour. She added that the home was “heartened by the fact and honoured by the privilege” to be looking after the oldest man in the eastern Caribbean.
Nurse, who handed over the composite photograph to BARP’S Executive Manager, Elsa Webster, noted that the Centennial Pass was a symbolism of age and wisdom.
Webster complimented the Ministry for honouring centenarians, adding that BARP was also pleased to have Sisnett as one of its members.