EDITORIAL: City development welcomed
Since last Thursday’s announcement by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, that the government building on Fairchild Street that once housed government entities like the National Insurance Department, the Statistical Department and the Electoral and Boundaries Commission was set to be demolished, as well as the adjacent building housing the Fire Service, there has been much talk about this planned Bridgetown Transformation Project, with many expressing support for and against it.
As we understand it, the project is intended to develop and revamp Golden Square, establishing the Golden Square Freedom Park and highlight the work of national hero The Right Excellent Clement Payne, and perhaps others like him, who fought for the rights of the working class in the 1930s. To date, some details have been given regarding the specifics of the project, but we are yet to see, for instance, an artist’s impression of the site, and so we wait with anticipation to see what the future holds for that area, which has long been an eyesore in our capital city.
It is understood that the relevant authorities have held meetings with the vendors and were also to meet with the business owners and residents to discuss how they will be impacted by the project and it is hoped, we the public will also soon hear what is in store for the area and Bridgetown in general in the months to come.
Now it cannot be denied that this country is sorely lacking in recreational and green spaces in the capital city, and yes Queen’s Park is one such area that persons can utilise, but it is not nearly utilised as much as it could be. When the refurbishment of the historic Golden Square site is complete, it is hoped, given its centrality in the capital city, that persons truly make use of it.
With no idea right now what the area will look like, one envisions seeing something similar to that of the Church Village Green, which was part of the Constitution River Redevelopment Project. The initial aspect of that project saw the first part of the Constitution River, from River Road to Nursery Drive, receiving a major facelift, which no doubt helped to uplift the area. But from our recollection, while the work was intended to stretch all the way over to the now abandoned Globe Cinema, that area has not been touched to date. It is certainly hoped that any work to be carried out now as part of the Bridgetown Transformation Project is fully executed.
It is hoped too that Golden Square could perhaps feature a bust of Clement Payne, and snippets on the history of the 1937 riots, so that Barbadians and visitors alike can understand and appreciate what led to that unrest, for as the saying goes – those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. Ideally, that information can be placed on signs around the park, and there could even be an interactive display, like that seen in museums overseas, also erected in the area. Certainly, such displays set up across the UNESCO site in general, could help to enlighten the public.
It is hoped too that as part of this transformation project that steps are taken to promote our UNESCO site. Since receiving that designation we have failed to take advantage of it and it would be good, for example, to see more city tours being done, similar to those staged during the Crop Over Season. And with the Freedom Park coming on board, though not directly related to the UNESCO designation, that too can be incorporated into tours of the city, so that its relevance remains foremost in persons’ minds.