What is the plan for Barbuda’s historical sites; do we even have a plan?

BarbudanGO in action
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Historical sites will lose their significance to their home communities unless someone pays attention.

The photo of William Well located in the Mallata, Codrington, depicts its current state. William Well was a part of the well system that once served the village of Codrington.

The Codrington wells are strategically located in and around Codrington. In the time of Codrington and the Wardens, they provided water for both domestic and agricultural purposes. These wells collectively are our heritage and are historically or culturally important to the community.

The recent fate of William Well falls in line with the reality of many heritage sites and buildings worldwide. Heritage sites, by their nature, are subjected to processes of degradation with time. This often causes them to lose their sense of value within their home communities. The loss of value can result in total destruction or total demolition.

This is the reason why conservation and restoration efforts are needed to ensure sites like William Well remain protected areas that are effectively managed. Many of the historical sites in Barbuda have suffered from time. 

The absence of preservation and restoration work amplifies the likelihood of losing more heritage sites. If these sites were managed and heritage conservation practices were employed, they would have been clearly identified and zoned, recorded and analysed.

Managing historical sites means protecting the historical and cultural resources they possess that are indeed invaluable. If we ignore the need to establish a continuous conservation plan that would function to protect these sites and support continual research, more sites will be lost. William Well’s fate highlights the importance of:

  • Establishing clearly zoned and demarked heritage site and protected areas
  • Developing the capacity of local conservation and preservation personnel
  • Enhancing the awareness and appreciation of these sites to their home community
  • Establishing heritage conservation guidelines to ensure any work undertaken preserves the site’s historic character and features; guidelines are critical to prevent the execution of random works in the name of restoration

So where do we start? A great starting point is community engagement and awareness. UN World Heritage Day is acknowledged each year on April 18.

BarbudanGO is seeking to host a Barbuda Heritage Race. The event serves the purpose of acclimatising the populace of Barbuda to our declining heritage and culture. The race is geared towards enticing participants from different age groups to experience a day of fun in remembering our history, culture and heritage.

The race will feature selected historical sites within Barbuda, which require managing for preservation and restoration purposes. These sites are marked as starting points and checkpoints respectively throughout the race.

Each checkpoint will test the knowledge of participants of the selected historical sites, in addition to providing information to non-participants attending the live viewing event at one of our pristine beaches. The Heritage Awareness Race will be implemented under the theme ‘Action For Heritage’.

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