Now in its third year, the initiative whereby Christmas trees are placed within Independence Square and decorated with the theme of a Commonwealth country continues to grow.
Speaking with the media at a press briefing, Public Relations Officer, Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Barbados Branch, Miles Weekes, said that there are 76 countries with 57 different schools and organisations decorating the trees.
The RCS assigns the countries to the schools and they try to rotate them every year so that the students get the opportunity to learn about more than one country.
Chair of the Education Sub-Committee of RCS Barbados, Brenda Pope, said that one of the reasons why this project is so special is not just because of the festive nature of this event, but more importantly because of the educational component where each school is assigned a commonwealth country and they have to research that country and come up with decorations for it based on the theme of that particular nation. In addition, one of their criteria for the decorations is that they be made from recycled materials, thereby adding to the environmental nature as well.
Chad Greene, Corporate Communications and Marketing Officer at Sagicor, one of the sponsors of the event, said that they are pleased to be a part of this event because the education and further development of young people is important in building up the future of this country.
He agreed with Pope that one of the advantages is the students having to research the assigned commonwealth country, develop a concept and then craft their own decorations, thereby in turn, educating others on these commonwealth nations.
Another sponsor was Unicomer, and Director of Sales Steve Alleyne who expressed his pleasure that his organisation could be a part of the event because “they support any initiative that builds the youth”.
Counsellor (Political), High Commission of Canada, Agnes Pust, said that the season is a reflection of what the Commonwealth represents. “Christmas is a time of family and friends and the Commonwealth of Nations represents just that – a family of nations connected through shared values; through a spirit of collaboration and cooperation, and as a result, the High Commission of Canada is pleased to be a part of this event.”
New Zealand High Commissioner to Barbados, Jan Henderson, said that from their side, it was a wonderful opportunity to help the youth understand more about exactly what the Commonwealth signifies, and that they go to that school that has been assigned the Christmas tree for New Zealand and speak to those students, educating them on the facts of their country, why they are a member of the Commonwealth of nations and about their partnership with Barbados.