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Lighting the way

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Celia Toppin speaking this morning as Sagicor Vice President, Dexter Moe looks on.

The Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat is still trying to move the Independence lighting ceremony beyond the City and roundabouts.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Celia Toppin said this morning as Sagicor Life Inc handed over a sponsorship cheque for the national Lighting Ceremony and Bajan Brew on November 1, that broadening the scope of this event has been engaging the attention of the ministry.

“One of the initiatives that is new this year is that we are trying to decentralise the lighting in a way and we are encouraging communities to light up as well. This year, in addition to the main lighting ceremony in the City, we will have the Esplanade in Speightstown being lit up and Gall Hill, Christ Church,” she said.

National Coordinator of the celebrations, Curtis Gibbons, said the Esplanade had been adopted by the Barbados Public Workers Union Cooperative Credit Union, which would be in charge of that lighting event on November 2, while Gall Hill will be lit the following day.

He added that in addition to the 17 roundabouts and the one Government building in each parish that will be lit, on November 1, all the acts for the Bajan Brew would follow the theme, Craftsmen of Our Fate: Inspiring Pride and Unity, and would celebrate those people who had made marked contributions to the communities or done great work in their respective areas.

“This is a time of pride across all Barbados and it is expected of the 26 roundabouts that we know are assigned, that approximately 17 of them will be lit this year. So that is something we will be looking forward to; in addition to which there will also be the illumination of at least one Government building in each parish, which is the norm, and that will be facilitated by the Government Electrical Engineering Department, and we will be having the Parliament Buildings lit.”

He said there were several reasons for the reduced number of roundabouts lit, some financial and others which had to do with the road improvement works still underway and involving some of the adopted roundabouts.

“It is a contractual arrangement between the company and the Ministry of Transport and Works, and it is not only about lighting the roundabout. There is the whole issue of maintenance. So once you are locked into a maintenance contract it would be very hard for someone who is paying all of that money to then have to step aside in favour of the lighting. We are making attempts to see what we can do even if we look at scaling the size of the designs of the lighting. All of those we have put into the equation and are looking to see what we can do for next year, especially because we understand the financial situation and it has had a lot of our attention over the past years.”

He said issues like LED lighting and solar were also considered, but the costs had proven to be prohibitive, although they were still exploring options.

Vice President of Investment Management Services for Sagicor, Dexter Moe, said the sponsorship given by the company was on par with last year and they were happy to continue to lend support.

“In our role as title sponsor, it is our hope that we can make a contribution to the secretariat’s efforts to promote nationalism among Barbadians as we mark one of the major milestones in Barbadian history,” he said, adding that the company valued opportunities to support initiatives that furthered national development and community upliftment. (LB)

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