Letters & Opinion

Old Historic Buildings Need Protection

By Sonia Sheppard
Fire completely destroyed The "Glasgow" house

The time has come for St. Lucians to have a serious discussion about what is old and historic and should be preserved as part of our history. This is a young nation and the past in most cases hasn’t been pleasant, but that is no reason for us to tear down this bitter past. These should be preserved if anything to serve as a reminder of who we are and where we have been.

There has been a spate of fires which have destroyed buildings some would consider should have been renovated to the point that such fires could have been prevented. The recent fire Castries is just another case in point. We should now start looking into how many of these buildings should be kept to tell the story of who we are.

People travel from all parts of the world to see the ruins of the Colosseum in Italy and other historic sites in places like Asia and Europe and quite are few are just ruins which are proudly displayed as their history.

These buildings, which are dotted all over Castries should be given the protection they deserved, something to past on the younger generation.  Buildings such as the one lived in by the late Allan Bousquet, Minister of Education and Health under the John Compton government, that should be preserved — and there are many others like it.

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Some of these houses can generate income by becoming museums displaying the way people lived then vis-a-vis now opening to the public — and even the tourist can be encouraged to visit these houses as part of their visit on the island.

The architectural importance of these buildings is another aspect, as they can be compared to some of the finest in France — and especially and Britain to a lesser extent. Therefore, they are or could be of international importance, as the country tries to project itself on the global stage.

The “old houses “ in Castries should be given urgent consideration as they become more vulnerable to fire, since most of them are made of wood.

These houses tell part of the story of who St. Lucians are and should deemed part of our heritage –and as iconic as any of the things one can say is undeniably St. Lucian.

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