The once filthy “national disgrace” that was Flower Alley, known for unsightly litter and the unpleasant ordour of urine, is now a thing of beauty, thanks to a mural unveiled there today, according to Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley.
The elaborate painting, work on which began in May by a group of volunteers, forms part of a wider Bridgetown Urban Renaissance Project and Artscape Mural Programme, aimed at beautifying the UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracting more people to the area.
The Lower Broad Street, Bridgetown painting was unveiled by the Ministry of Culture, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and Diamonds International.
“This alley of course, before this project was done, I would say it was a national disgrace because of the kind of things that were being done in the alley. People of course were placing litter and we had the whole problem of persons entering the alley and urinating. In other words in was not a thing of beauty,” Lashley told reporters after viewing the artwork.
“This project was meant to transform, and I think has started the whole process of transforming, the alley into a thing of beauty.”
It is for this reason that Lashley is hoping that the changes brought about by this transformation at this artery into The City will be a catalyst for action in other areas.
“I believe that once they are made to be beautiful areas, that persons who may have in the past abused the area either by littering or otherwise, would think twice about that. So I am hopeful that we start this journey by making sure we can preserve Bridgetown.”
Convinced that the beautification of The City would help to deter people from using the alley for littering, Lashley said the next stage was for the authorities to enact legislation that included penalties for those who engage in indiscriminate littering.
“I am hopeful that when the Ministry of the Environment brings the necessary legislation to Parliament that they will have the necessary penalties for itinerant dumping and so on,” the minister said.
Welcoming the mural, located on the western side of Diamonds International’s Lower Broad Street building, Managing Director Jacob Hassid saw it as a perfect 50th anniversary gift for the area.
“It is very important for all of us especially in this important year of the 50th of Barbados [Independence] to show that we do not neglect the most important part of the heritage, which is the foundation of everything. Broad Street and Bridgetown has so much to offer,” Hassid said.
Taxi drivers operating from Lower Broad Street, who have had fingers pointed at them for the state of the alley, have seen the transformation and its impact.
“The problems we face in the alley are not only [from] taxi men. What I can tell you is that since this project was introduced to Flower Alley, the urination in the alley came to a very minimum and it is a very good thing for Bridgetown and the area,” President of the Bridgetown Taxi Association Philip Garner told Barbados TODAY.
“You would be surprised to see the [number] of tourists that come here and take pictures of this beautiful art, and also locals. So I think it is a very good idea,” he added.