As the Garrison Historical Consortium Inc. today hosted the 100th reenactment of The Changing of the Sentry at The Main Guard, the Barbados Legion called for increased involvement in the island’s cultural product.
Chairman of the Barbados Sentry and Corps of Drums, Michael Choat, told an audience at the ceremony held around noon today that as Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy had hailed the ceremony’s benefit to tourism, he would like to see it marketed as such.
He said too that he would like to see more advantage taken of the heritage and cultural aspects of the observance, even so far as to have it incorporated into the island’s major festivals like Crop-Over, Holetown Festival and Oistins Fish Festival and Independence celebrations.
Choat also called on “the powers that be” to see the Changing of the Sentry as an event that could propel heritage tourism in the island to the point where they would be willing to provide uniforms and instruments for the band.
This morning members of the Legion in Zouave dress carried out the ceremonial changing of the sentry, in a reenactment of a historical period dating back to the 19th century, and coordinated by the Garrison Consortium.
Minister of Tourism Sealy said that his ministry had been involved in the ceremony from the time it was recreated in December 2011 and saw it as an opportunity to bring a living attraction to the heritage site to boost tourism numbers.
He said since the designation of the Garrison as a UNESCO heritage site, the Changing of the Sentry had attracted scores of visitors, locals, school children and vendors for the Wednesday evening observances, and pledged his Ministry’s continued support.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Ruth Blackman, noted that the tradition was one that combined heritage, culture and tradition.
“The sentries and Corps of Drummers of Barbados in many ways bring these stories together. Its composition and practices, which includes the changing of the sentry, epitomises what is possible with the adoption of a common purpose, namely to promote Barbados and its cultural heritage…
“The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth commends the Garrison Historical Inc for the value they have added to our promotional efforts in this area. As an organisation you have shown commitment to the task and through your members have sought to give back to the nation,” she said. (LB)