Barbados Culture and Heritage – Liz Thompson Speaks The Truth

Minister of the Environment Liz Thompson made some excellent points last Wednesday evening while addressing the annual meeting of the Barbados National Trust (BNT website here).

Here are some of the Minister's statements as taken from a Nation News article (link)…

"In the redevelopment of Bridgetown, there has been an unwarranted influx of new designs, which reeks of 'architectural uglification'…"

"(There is a conflict in Barbados between tradition, culture and custom) and the mimicry and adoption of cultural expression, building practices, language and behaviour which are more reflective of developed countries…"

"(Barbados had lost much of its cultural heritage) by the elimination of many true icons…"

"We have, especially amongst younger generations, relegated cou-cou, flying fish and pone to the back-burner in preference of foreign fast food."

…Barbados Minister of The Environment Elizabeth Thompson, speaking at Barbados National Trust annual meeting.

Minister Thompson is saying what many of us are thinking – our history and culture are slipping away faster and faster every day. Some will say that merely talking does not solve this crisis in culture, and that is true. But it is also true that identification of any problem must be the first step.

In our rush to modernize our small island, we as individuals and as a country, must not forget where we come from.

Give Liz full marks for her speech.

A Bit of Barbados History – Can You Identify This Home…?

barbados-landmark-house.jpg

No prize offered except the opportunity to be made famous by Barbados Free Press. 🙂

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Barbados Culture and Heritage – Liz Thompson Speaks The Truth

  1. The pictured house is located in/near the Crab Hill area of St. Lucy. Some say it is one of the few remaning former slave huts still standing on the island.

  2. John

    I am ashamed to say that I am not sure where it is.

    Many people say these types of houses seen mostly in St. Lucy are slave huts. However if this were so you would expect to see several in a cluster.

    I have seen pictures of old wattle and daub huts in Barbados at the turn of the 20th century which I think may have been how the old slave huts were made. They have all disappeared from the scene and simply melted back into the land.

    I have heard people say they think that the houses like the one in the picture were for the milatary tenants which each landowner had to have so they could meet their quota of men equipped for the local militia. Again, you would expect to see more than just the one, and they would be attached to a plantation.

    Personally, I think they are houses that were part of a family’s small land holding around them and which have fallen into disrepair as the family has died out or moved on. They may well have housed families descended from slaves in their time as land ownership became more accessible.

    There were also many small landholders with anything up to 10 acres that would have been existence since the beginning of the settlement of Barbados.

    Guess you would have to do a search in the Registry on the land around it to confirm what the actual history of this house was, but it could be done and the uncertainty put to rest.

  3. John, I was driving around in that area last Christmas time while I was on vacation on the island and I took this shot http://image55.webshots.com/155/6/75/68/543867568NiFbFD_fs.jpg where you can see more details; like the fact that it was lived in “recently” re: the modern plumbing. You can also see it has quite a substantial cellar, probably indicating a more substantive use other than a slave dwelling. I can also confirm that there are other similar structures nearby that are still in use as homes to which modern Bajan homes have been attached or built around. And, for what it’s worth, they are all located not far from the still standing and clearly visable windmill wall of what was Cluffs Plantation.

  4. Comment Maker

    St. Lucy definitely possibly on the road to River Bay. BTW it is thought that these “slave huts” were actually the homes of the indentured servants. The slaves’ accomodations were apparently not quite so luxurious.

    As far as Minister Thompson’s view, I disagree.

    While I’m all for preserving the older building in Bridgetown (If you are in any doubt of their architectural beauty take a walk through town on a sunday afternoon) I believe there is a place for modern architecture in Barbados. To dismiss it as “uglification” I think is unfortunate.