Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley has appealed to corporate Barbados, charitable foundations and the wider public to help in the revitalization of the historic City of Bridgetown.
His call came Sunday evening at the official opening of the Synagogue Redevelopment Project at the Jewish Synagogue in the heart of the capital, where he urged interested parties to help restore the 392-year-old town one block at a time.
Lashley noted that the rejuvenation of the City had become of major importance with the rise of heritage tourism.
“We must not be caught napping as observers as to what is required . . . to take maximum advantage of our world heritage status,” the minister said.
“Observations or ideas . . . about what world heritage status can or cannot do must be translated into action, such as we have seen here led by the Tabor Foundation,” he added.
Expressing his gratitude to Michael and Doreen Tabor for their charitable act, Lashley urged Barbadians to contribute to maintaining the pristine and immaculate condition of the grounds.
“It is, therefore, the duty of all Barbadians to preserve and care for this restoration project. Let us break the cycle of poor maintenance and the lack of pride in our historic buildings and, by extension, our City,” he said.
Lashley held that the Government could not undertake the responsibility alone, noting that it was currently financing the restoration of Queen’s Park House.
“Government cannot do it all. That is why we are grateful to the Tabor Foundation (Barbados) which has made all this possible. From an investor’s perspective, this is the first project to be considered a cultural project and it is, therefore, benefitting from the incentives offered under the Cultural Industries Development Act,” he said.
Representative of the Tabor Foundation, Joe Steinbok, who contributed $2 million to the project, revealed that the restoration touched the entire city block, except the synagogue and cemetery. The old fire station was converted into a museum and a café was incorporated into the architectural design.
New developments also include the construction of a social hall to host weddings and bar mitzvahs.
“I hope that all Barbadians would take the opportunity to visit the buildings within the block and enjoy the rich history which it contains. I am also imploring everyone to treat the area with the respect and dignity that it deserves,” said Steinbok.