The ancestral home of National Hero and Father of Barbados’ Independence, Errol Barrow, is expected to be restored in time for the country’s 50th anniversary of Independence in November 2016.
Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Denis Kellman made this announcement today shortly after participating in a ceremony where medical supplies were handed over to senior members of the St Lucy District Hospital.
Giving Barbadians the assurance that the house will be restored, thereby adding value to heritage and community tourism, Kellman said: “Since I assumed duty at the Ministry of Housing, I have instructed officials to acquire the land at Nestfield, St Lucy, on which the house is located. I have also instructed officials to ensure that the property rights of the current owners, the Bowrys and the O’Neals be respected. There is adequate space for the two families to construct their homes.”
Stressing the value of the house to heritage and community tourism, the St Lucy MP said: “If the National Trust can recognize how important that location is, obviously the families will feel connected to it and would want to be a part thereof. Government will be allowing them that right to the piece of land to the west of the house.”
Kellman told Barbadians that he had had discussions with a trust and it had agreed that it would finance the building out of the house.
Explaining the process to the acquisition of the land, Kellman said: “The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs is responsible for the property and it will acquire the land. We are hoping to have everything finalized by 2016, the 50th anniversary of Barbados’ Independence. Seeing that Barrow was the Prime Minister who took the country into Independence, it would be fitting if we complete or start the project in that time frame. That is the plan of the Government.”
Addressing another issue of a property in St Lucy that has fallen into an advanced stage of disrepair over the years, Kellman gave the assurance that the Ministry of Sports is also looking at acquiring the North Point Surf Resort, a popular hotel in the 1960s and 1970s.
The St Lucy MP said: “Government has not proceeded too quickly on this project because private Canadian interests are also involved. They would like to construct an indoor stadium; offer baseball to visitors and reconstruct the swimming pool. If you are going to attract American visitors you have to connect with them through a sport they play. Since 1994 I have been making calls for the introduction of baseball. It is also important that we have Harrison’s Point because that was the location of the American Naval Base.
Speaking further on his plans for the northern parishes, Kellman said he was looking to build out Speightstown to the north, south and east.
“Speightstown cannot be built out only by dealing with Speightstown. That was the error of the Owen Arthur administration because they concentrated only on Speightstown not recognizing that you have to build out the town, following the example of Bridgetown. Bridgetwon was extended to Warrens, Wildey and Hastings; so we are looking at building out Speightstown. It has already begun in the north. When you leave Speightstown, you have Almond Beach Village Resort, Port St Charles, Port Ferdinand, Six Mens, Moon Town, Checker Hall and Barrows Home. Then you get Mile And A Quarter, a restored the St Joseph Hospital in Ashton Hall and in that way Speightstown is built out.”
The St Lucy MP argued that these developments would create the enabling environment for such projects as Pickerings in St Lucy.
He said : “In this way you are putting the infrastructure in place to create excitement and the drive for people to be part thereof.”
Kellman further disclosed that the relatives of Gerry Bull, the arms inventor, had expressed an interest in a housing development in St Lucy, and Government was expected to engage in a swap of land owned by the Bulls at Paragon for the land in St Lucy.