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A home for the arts

China’s Ambassador to Barbados, Xu Hong and Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley.

Government has found a home for the eagerly anticipated Arts and Cultural Centre.

This disclosure came today from Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley during a press conference at his office at Mall Internationale, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, to discuss the upcoming visit of the China Good-Will Military Band of the People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China.

Lashley told the media: “We have spent quite a lot of time looking across Barbados for an appropriate location to house the Arts and Cultural Centre and I believe that we have settled our sights on having this centre constructed at the same location where the National Cultural Foundation’s offices are.

“What remains to be done is the submission of a formal application to the Town Planning Department. We would have had preliminary discussions of this proposal at the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure and we are very determined to have this project accelerated in the not too distant future.”

The Minister added that he welcomed “the ready assistance which is being offered by the People’s Republic of China” and said “all that remains to be done is to make that formal application”.

He explained that offices for the NCF would be incorporated into the Arts and Cultural Centre, so there would be one facility at the West Terrace, St. James location.

Lashley noted that the Governments of Barbados and China had enjoyed 35 years of bilateral diplomatic relations and he gave the assurance that this country would continue to seek meaningful areas of cooperation with China, especially in sports and culture.

China’s Ambassador to Barbados, Xu Hong, promised he would do his best “to push forward the China-Barbados relationship and deepen the friendship between our two peoples”.

Xu continued: “As a Chinese old saying goes, relatives become closer and closer when they visit each other frequently, and friends become more intimate when they help each other often. In recent times, the mutual visits have happened frequently, including politics, economy, trade, culture and education changes at different levels. These visits have deepened mutual understanding.”

Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Vickers said the People’s Liberation Army had been most generous in providing several opportunities for members of the Barbados Defence Force to receive military training in China.

“The BDF has also been the benefactor of military equipment donated by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and this equipment has certainly enhanced the operational readiness and sustainability of the Force,” he stated.

Twenty members of the military band will be on the island from August 5 to 19 as guests of the BDF. Band members will be engaged in a number of cultural activities, including entertaining children participating in the National Summer Camp Programme.

The performance is scheduled for August 10, at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, Wildey, St. Michael, starting at 2 p.m.

Patrons will also be treated to a free concert on August 15, at Frank Collymore Hall at 7 p.m. and a public performance in Oistins on August 17, starting at 8:30 p.m.

The band was established in January 1948 and it has performed over 7,000 times in the past 60 years. It has assembled a repertoire of more than 2,000 works and produced hundreds of wind music recordings.

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