Message To Barbados Minister Of Culture Steve Blackett: “Stop Your Damn Foolishness…”

Culture Minister Blackett Talks "Damn Foolishness"

Culture Minister Blackett Talks "Damn Foolishness"

Are we becoming a nation of mendicants? Is the Barbados Government now entering the arena formerly occupied by some members of society? I am relying on the veracity of the article in the Nation where the Minister of Culture Steve Blackett is reported to have said the following “the Government would be looking to the Cubans for expertise and possible funding” (Nation: It Will Take A Lot To Fix Old Library)

Really???? Possible funding???? !!!!

It boggles the mind that the Barbados Government would be looking to Cuba for possible funding in restoring the Barbados Public Library. Mr Blackett have you ever been to Cuba? To Havava? Have you seen the thousands of buildings in a state of disrepair there? Why should the Cubans spend their little cash repairing a building in Barbados when they can repair theirs? Here is a suggestion Mr. Blackett “charity begins at home”.

1 – First determine how much it would cost to repair the library.

2 – Your Ministry should then sponsor a group with the express purpose of raising funds to repair and renovate the library call them “Friends of the Bridgetown Library”.

3 – The fund raising activities should focus on the age of the library; the unique architecture and other examples of similar restored buildings in other parts of the world.

4 – Publish a monthly chart in the newspapers to show the fund raising totals together with the names of the donors and the progress towards the goal.

5 – Make it a symbol of national pride and establish a possible date for reopening e.g to coincide with Independence day. If Barbadians are patriotic and have a sense of national pride in ensuring the restoration of a national symbol, I’m sure they would step up to the plate. Even small donations from a considerable number of people (this bajan would be happy to contribute) and private companies would go along way towards reaching your goal.

Boardwalks are nice but we also have to feed the mind. There, I’ve provided you with a start Minister Blackett, now stop this damn foolishness about asking the Cubans for funding.

Barbados Free Press reader “Sargeant”


Filed under Barbados, Cuba, History

48 responses to “Message To Barbados Minister Of Culture Steve Blackett: “Stop Your Damn Foolishness…”

  1. cq8

    The Cubans can’t feed themselves let alone repair our library. Where did this foolishness come from? Are the govmnt so anxious to put out some good news that they out and out lie ???

    JUST ONCE I would like to see a Government Minister announce that something has been done and completed. All their announcements are about what they are “gonna do”.

    Advice to govmnt ministers…. If you can’t announce something has been done, then STFU!!!

  2. PiedPiper

    It’s bad enough that The Minister of Culture would seek and/or expect funding for the project from Cuba, a country with some of the finest architecture standing in ruins, but that Barbados should seek their expertise in the rebuilding process of the library. What is he saying? Is he saying that Barbados lacks experts and professional architects that are not up to par?
    Just another case of government “foot in mouth syndrome”.

  3. Wayne

    How could i be carrying water for a Government that continues with this begging bowl foolish? But BFP we have always appeared as mendicants at some point or the other. ha ha ha ha ha ah

  4. Jason

    I wish I could put my finger on exactly what is wrong in our society that government people think they can say such nonsense. The papers print it like it is wisdom. Can’t the reporters and editors think anymore? Are they so bought and paid for that they let this idiocy go without a question?

    Cq8 is correct. Government members should STFU if they can’t talk anything worthwhile.

  5. Jukecheckedeyskirt

    The last government completely ignore the library to spend millions on controversial road works; millions on Kensington oval; millions in the Green land fill; millions in Hardwood housing; millions in UDC; and millions in PPLS (Personal Pocketing for Lavish Spending). And now this government cannot find a few thousands not even a few millions to refurbish the library. If this be the case, God help the QEH.

  6. I suppose, the last government is not too bad, but it has some weak points… may be too many weak points

  7. library

    There are lots of competent architects in Barbados. Some of them might be able to volunteer their time to prepare plans to repair the library.

    Please remember that a library built with Carnegie money has changed drastically and will require state of the art broadband.

    Given the money that Cable and Wireless has taken out of Barbados over the past 50 years, and are still making, they should be spearheading and funding the repair and renovation of a new library, and other such National Projects.

    Cuba be damned!!!

    Lean on those that are taking consulting fees from LIME to earn their monopoly money. It can’t be that great a secret.

  8. Bookworm

    Let us not fool ourselves this will be another project for the Chinese. It will be financed by China and they will work on it as well. That was one stupid commit from the minister, mind you he is a guy that I like his style but he his totally of on this one. What he should do (or maybe what he really meant) is to get the cubans to do an inspection to see how bad it really is structurally and otherwise etc. the cubans are known for be experts in restoring antique building back to life. And some will say so are the chinese, it will be their contract so I expect them to get it.

    I think that the Carnegie foundation, helps with refurbishing some of the libraries that they have built, it would be worth checking out, every little bit would count.

  9. I wonder for how long the government can justify granting work permits to Chinese labour with unemployment on the rise?

  10. Hants

    The minister made a mistake. While Cuba can provide expertise it is not likely to provide funding.

    We are in a recession. Companies and even countries around the world are in dire financial straights.

    If this is the worst recession since the depression, does anyone think that Barbados is not going to be hit really hard?

    Corporate donations are not going to be forthcoming so Government will have to find the millions required to restore the Library.

    It will be money well spent.

  11. Sargeant


    • The minister made a mistake. While Cuba can provide expertise it is not likely to provide funding.
    I appreciate your effort in defending the Minister, but mistake? The PM said he was looking to the Chinese for funding with the St.John Polyclinic; there was another statement about Chinese funding for restoring the Empire cinema and now this.

    I appreciate that the former Gov’t only paid lip service to these issues but let’s do something different

    We can’t keep approaching the international community with outstretched hands every time something needs fixing in Barbados.

  12. Sad To Say

    Steve Blackette is just like any of our other politicians – past or present. He is elected and all of a sudden he is a know it all. Poor Steve I think he is in way beyond his head – just remember that this is someone who before he was elected had difficulty chewing jum and walking at the same time. Wunna expect things to change just because he has been elected to the house of assembly? Get to hell out of here.

  13. Hants

    Bottom line.

    The Public Library should be restored
    as soon as possible for the sake of the children of Barbados.

  14. Hants

    Any of you bloggers got some spare cash to help with the Library restoration or the purchase of Graeme Hall Sanctuary?

    Unfortunately I can’t help right now. I like Clico. Got assets but nuh cash.

  15. Galli Cantu

    Dipper Barrow must be spinning in the waters of the Caribbean. Perhaps now that Cuba looks like getting a much needed hand out from its big brother Russia, maybe Mr Blackett and Company, may consider bypassing the middle man in Havanah, and go directly to Moscow.

  16. Straight talk


    Russia got its own problems looming, with the crash in oil prices.

    Medvedev, originally believed to be merely a puppet keeping Putin’s seat warm, is beginning to flex his presidential muscle, and the people like it.

  17. Sad To Say

    The public library MUST be restored but must evolve to meet our current needs. First of all Wi-Fi must be available throughout. It must also be appreciated by the powers that be that the current crop of youngsters would prefer to access info electronically. There is NO WAY that the past format of the library be reproduced for today’s generation of library users. Peter Wickham makes an excellent case for evolving to the next level. I know he reads this blog and I do hope that he joins this thread to provide his two cents.

  18. Anon

    I’ve been to this Havana but never saw the widespread death and destruction that BFP is trying to paint of dear Cuba. Hmm. I hope the mainstream media, the DLP and BLP didn’t put up a facade in Cuba to deceive me :O


    BFP says

    Hi, Cliverton here,

    Habana is not the “real” Cuba anymore. Neither are the isolated tourist resorts along the north coast. If you want to see the “real” Cuba, visit the slums south of Holguin or the cardboard towns in the interior where the last electric bulb flickered and died 30 years ago.

  19. J

    “In the beginning was the WORD” The Gospel according to John, chapter 1, verse 1.

    Restoring the old Carnegie building AND building a new library building (on the Coleridge Streeet site of course, perhaps over the old building or in the space now occupied by the Supreme court) with enough computers for staff and patrons, including students and teachers, and the business and legal community in Bridgetown will not cost millions it will cost tens of millions, because I expect that we will build a building large enough, sustantial enough and wired enough to serve Barbadian readers for the next 100 years.

    When the Carnegie building was built in 1905 Barbados’ population was probably about half of what it is now. And in 1905 only about half of the population could read yet a magnificent building was constructed. 21st century Barbadians deserve a magnificent library.

    I would also like to see the Independence Square site retained as a walk-in branch. Surely in the 21st century Bridgetown is large enough and literate enough to sustain 2 libraries.

  20. Stressed Out

    Listen, this is stressing me out… if the Oistens branch can have on hand every you know whatin issue of “InTouch” and “Life and Style” there should surely be enough money to have a proper, modern central library. Total waste of money IMO. And no we don’t need help from the Cubans or the Chinese, please who are they kidding here????

  21. reluctant nonbeliever

    Have to agree with the comment above about poor Steve Blackett being totally out of his depth in this ministry. He’s a really decent guy with a good heart so I hate to say this, but how he got this portfolio I’ll never know. What connection with (or expertise in) arts and culture did he have before this appointment (unless you count reading the news on CBC)?
    He’s been on an embarrassingly public learning curve since last year. But with this foolish proposal I’m afraid he’s shown that the curve is just too steep for him.
    Having said all that, who should Thompson replace him with? Who in this current administration knows a thing about arts and culture?

  22. victor

    J, There is not one proper bookshop in Barbados, for a popuIation of 250,000 +. Bridgetown is not just a typicaI town of 250K, it is a capitaI city. You have to depend upon Amazon to get anything to read in Barbados or otherwise just turn into a vegetabIe. Not even a good second hand bookshop anymore. You can onIy find the most basic of pop Iiterature in the downtown shops, murder stories or pIenty of romances invoIving just bIack peopIe, taking about as much sheIf space as a kitchen . You can’t find WorId Iiterature as if writing of Europe, the Americas, India, China etc. just did not exist Iet aIone any history books etc. What does this say about the reading habits or head space of Barbadians? If there was a great Iibrary, wouId anyone use it? Just tourists, desperate for some reading matter. Imagine going to Tokyo, Bombay or Caracas and finding onIy Japanese or Indian or Hispanic Iiterature. You Iook at the Bajan chiIdren’s schooI books and in the drawings for the primary students there are onIy iIIustrations of bIack kids. Imagine if that was the other way around in the US Canada or UK there wouId be a pubIic outcry. I just wonder what is going on here where this country depends so much on the rest of the worId and yet seems to show so IittIe interest in it. Imagine trying to persuade Bajans to contribute to charity to get their Iibrary up and going. As if.

  23. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: Cuba to Fund Library Restoration?

  24. Community

    Why do we have to resort to handouts from other countries.

    Haven’t we ever heard that charity begins at home. I am tired of us Barbadians expecting the government to do everything for us can’t we do anything for ourselves.

    Alot of people might say that I am being idealistic but I think that it is time that we get back to our family values like looking out for our brothers. I am one that would be willing to donate my time (as I don’t have any money) to help in the rebuilding process to help pack the books on the shelves any thing to help and I encourage you my fellow Barbadians to do the same.

    What would be appreciated if is government provide the materials and we as Barbadians came together as a family and rebuild the library.

  25. St George's Dragon

    Lets not get too excited about any renovation of the library. Unless it is done quickly (which I doubt will happen), the Environmental Protection Department will probably declare it a health hazard and demolish it – as at Rock Hall slave village.

  26. Anonymous

    It may well in fact cost more money to restore the Barbados Public Library than simply build a new one.

  27. Thewhiterabbit

    Here’s a plan! Let’s build a new library with all the modern trappings and trimmings. This project will employ some Barbadian folks who will soon need the employment. A new library can be done with lots of glass for good lighting, air conditioning to keep people and books happy, and with all the latest electronic accouterments that modern folks want. Then, let’s use the old Carnegie Building for some new but appropriate purpose. It is a beautiful historic building, well worth keeping, even though it was built before 1966 when local history really began, as we all know. Oh yes, and modern people DO read so we all deserve a decent library. Finally, pay for it here. Set up the committee of Friends of the Library as proposed in an earlier submission. For a library funds CAN be raised. One might be surprised at the number of Barbadians, and visitors, who would be proud to be associated with such a project, especially if it is a LOCAL project and not one more silly example of courting the communists, as if that will ever get us anything worthwhile.

  28. PiedPiper

    Here, here, WhiteRabbit……wonderful idea and to think they got a guvment Minister that couldn’t think of that!

  29. CanuckBajan

    A “Friends of the BPL” group should absolutely be created to support the entire library network – surprised such doesn’t already exist. They are fantastic organizations run by passionate volunteers who care about literacy and curiosity and knowledge – no public library I know of could function as well without these folks.

    Appeal for support, donations, donations in kind, etc. through local and world-wide expat/descendent communities, library communities, etc. As a librarian and daughter of a Bajan, I for one would be proud and delighted to contribute to the library building fund.

    Unfortunately, the Carnegie Foundation does not assist with the remodelling or preservation of Carnegie Libraries – they were personally funded by Andrew Carnegie himself.

  30. PiedPiper

    I would be very very cautious as to who would be in control of such a fund. Money has a way of disappearing in Barbados.

  31. 188

    hmmm maybe the DLP can give the government the money to build the library, after all, it was not soo long ago that all of a sudden the DLP had lots and lots of money to buy votes and apparently I hear it still flowing…

  32. reality check

    “I would be very very cautious as to who would be in control of such a fund. Money has a way of disappearing in Barbados.”

    This has to be a grassroots National NGO controlling every facet.

    The civil servants and politicians will kill it—dead on arrival, except no departure and no arrival.

  33. J

    whiterabbit wrote “lots of glass for good lighting”

    You know that books hate sunlight?

  34. The Scout

    Barbados seems to be getting a tear down and build back mentality. That building is a NATIONAL Trust building, why tear down a beautiful building like that? Are we trying to forget our pass?

  35. Pat


    my library is very modern with lots of glass. However, the stacks are in the middle of the room and the reading areas, lounges, etc. are at the windows. It works.

  36. PiedPiper

    Scout: As someone already pointed out, with a population of approx. 280,000 people, surely it is time for more than one library. To restore The Barbados Library and keep it’s architectural integrity will take a great deal of money and time, especially if it’s interior will have to be modified considerably to accomodate new technology.
    I also believe that a library situated away from town would get far more use by the general public. Sure, restore the old public library, if the funds can be found, but it is high time that another more modern library be built for the younger and next generation.

  37. Hants

    The location of the Library on Coleridge street is good because it is within walking distance from the Bus terminals.

    A New Library could be built in Speightstown and maybe another in Oistins.

    This could be part of the “Capital works program “that is coming to create “new jobs”.

  38. where is it coming from?

    Who in government or the bureaucracy keeps feeding the Cuba line?

    How about self help?

  39. J

    Ahh!!! Pat but you are in Ottawa. Wneh it comes to sunshine Ottwa is NOT Barbados.

    Barbados has many, many, times more sunny days than anyplace in Canada.

    And the sun is much, much, hotter.

    We have to build a new library, and retain the old, but it HAS to be built to suit the climate, including hurricanes.

    TO scout: To the best of my knowledge there are no plans to tear down the old library building. It is a listed building. I believe that the plan is to restore the old; AND build a new.

  40. J

    library wrote “Given the money that Cable and Wireless has taken out of Barbados over the past 50 years, and are still making, they should be spearheading and funding the repair and renovation of a new library, and other such National Projects.”

    If Cable and Wirelsss does not fund or build libraries in its home country, why do you think that they will fund and build a library in Barbados?

    If the library is to be built it will be built with our tax money and the tax money of our children and grandchildren. After all it will be our library, and the library of our children and grandchildren.

  41. J

    Hants a new library was opened in Speightstown about 10 years ago.

    However I believe that we need a new library in the Haynesville/Husbands/Wanstead/West Terrace/University area.

    This is a densely populated area with lots of young people and a library would enhance the cultural/ academic institutions already in the area, ie. West Terrace school, the university, the National Cultural Foundation.

  42. Leave Steve Blackett alone, all these negative comments. He has only just started in his role, if you lot are so clever why don’t you all do something. People have so much mouth and claptrap and criticize so much but cannot do anything constructive except to verbally tear down and backbite.

  43. Do you know something about culture and arts. you people can criticize so much and do so little. At least Steve Blackett has guts and went into politics unlike the rest of you small minded folk. He has just started for crying out loud! That’s one thing about black folk, they simply adore tearing down their own and the rest of the world looks on and laughs at we foolberts.

  44. PiedPiper

    Mzzzzzz. Dyer, you Blackett’s mother or something? We have every right to question why Barbados would need to go to Cuba with cap in hand begging for money. Blackett is a big able man and can defend himself.

  45. Be quiet, why don’t you do something. Always criticizing, no you’re the one to get out of here!

  46. .57

    No, I am not his mother! I am not even a native of Barbados. But I cannot stand the way black people pull each other down. You seem to have a lot to say for yourself, so why don’t you go into politics and use some of that claptrap you call a mouth. Do I detect a smidgeon of jealousy?

  47. Tim Prescott

    I like the suggestions provided in this letter. At least, the problem is highlighted and ways of solving it suggested. Another fund raising idea could be to set up a website and push towards patriotic Bajans around the world.

  48. -I am Hassan Othman introduce you my work and invite you to visit my web site

    -these web site contain some of my art which may provide some new ideas about the reaction between man, art and its surround materials.

    -I hope you admire my works, looking forward your comments

    And it will be great pleasure if we cooperate together