Prime Minister Mia Mottley has announced that the former home of National Hero, the Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod, which was demolished on Friday is to be rebuilt.
The declaration came amid assurances by Mottley that her administration will do its best to preserve the island’s historic buildings.
She told the audience at a reception, which included,Sir Henry Fraser, that Government has indicated that the property should be rebuilt to respect its heritage.
“The truth is that we will not always be able to save everything that we want to save. But we have determined as a Government that we will try, that is why the new planning development legislation has been drafted… and that is why we are working and will continue to work with all of the relevant entities to either restore or repurpose where possible, those aspects of our heritage that we want to be able to keep.”
The abandoned Belfield, Black Rock mansion, which was on the premises of the Nightingale Children’s Home, was bulldozed last Friday, a move which Sir Henry described as “a tragic and dramatic event”.
He also charged that it was a “callous disregard for its history, our National Hero the Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod, the generosity of a brilliant black Barbadian benefactor and its overall history of service to the children and people of Barbados”.
But Mottley said while the demolition of the 200-year-old structure was “a difficult moment” for her, reports and recommendations from the engineers on the site was that restoration of the property would be difficult.
“And that in circumstances where children were on that property, I have a responsibility with respect to the legal liability that would flow from Government … should children be injured.”
Mottley made the comments at a reception on Monday night at Friendship Plantation in Hothersal Turning, to mark the 30th anniversary of Carib Rehab.
She also highlighted the need for repurposing plantation houses around the island in a bid to reduce the number of derelict properties.
She said: “We believe that whether it is being able to facilitate enterprises such as this that don’t necessarily have to be in the centre of town, or whether it is international business offices as we see at Woodlands, that across Barbados we need to repurpose our plantations and… across the board, so that there [are] less derelict buildings across Barbados.
“And I hope and pray that we can work with persons from St Lucy to St Philip to be able to do so.”