On July 27 on the Annual General Meeting of the Barbados National Trust, Geoffrey Ramsey was declared president of the venerable institution. Standing unopposed and elected by enthusiastic acclaim, he replaced Peter Stevens, whose term had expired.
Ramsey’s election signals a new direction for the Trust.
Its mission — to preserve places of historic, architectural, and archaeological interest in addition to of ecological importance or natural beauty—stays the identical. He urged the group to affix him in re-examining the relevance of “this noble institution” and envisioned adopting creative new strategies in an effort to redirect and rebuild.
“This enterprise requires us to now reflect on a broader spectrum of concerns, having regard to Barbados in its entirety, which is its cultural heritage, each tangible and intangible,” he said.
“What can we mean by this? Essentially, our people and indigenous customs, expressed through arts, crafts, literature and folk music. Also, our places of memory present in these fields and hills beyond recall, together with our chattel houses, historic sites, mills, monuments, great houses and most significantly, our natural areas, parks, beaches, and
gullies,” he added.
As highlighted on the recent United Nations COP26 Conference in Glasgow, Ramsey stated: “We should have a greater understanding of the way through which climate change increasingly threatens the above places and spaces, which we hold in trust for our nation, and the partnership role the Trust can play.”
On this regard, Ramsey also envisioned strengthening linkages with the Ministry of Environment and the Division of Culture-Prime Minister’s Office, the National Cultural Foundation, and the University of the West Indies. Going forward, one other priority to deal with is youth groups, to whom the Trust must change into more relevant.
He also called upon members “to rethink our services and products offered,” and cited the Barbados Tourism Master Plan, which checked out the event of area of interest markets comparable to heritage tourism as a key focal area through which to enhance visitor economy.
With reference to the Trust’s future outlook, he said: “I posit the view that the National Trust, after 61 years, needs to be directly able to assisting the Government of Barbados through consultancy services geared toward each the built and natural environment.”
Ramsey is a founding partner of Environmental Planning Group Inc. and senior partner at EPG Caribbean. Each are Barbados-based consultancy firms providing skilled services in urban revitalisation, heritage tourism development and project management.
He’s currently a consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank’s Living Heritage Program for the Caribbean and Latin America. (PR)