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Let’s preserve history to benefit tourism drive – Richard C. de Castro

- urged those holding historic properties to make them available as part of territory's heritage tourism package
According to Mr Richard C. De Castro, a good example of heritage sites being preserved is Sugar Mill Estate, where he said they kept the estate look but also made it into a hotel and dining room. Photo: Internet Source
Director of the Virgin Islands Studies Institute Dr Angel Smith and host of Speak Your Mind Richard C. de Castro on Saturday February 20, 2016. Photo: VINO
Director of the Virgin Islands Studies Institute Dr Angel Smith and host of Speak Your Mind Richard C. de Castro on Saturday February 20, 2016. Photo: VINO
Dr Smith said that a lot of heritage sites in the territory are being taken for granted. Photo: VINO
Dr Smith said that a lot of heritage sites in the territory are being taken for granted. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Television talk show host Richard C. De Castro has urged Government to start a preservation campaign with a view to keeping the territory’s history alive in the area of post-colonial society by keeping old historic structures intact.

He was speaking during his Speak your Mind programme aired on JTV Channel 55 on Saturday February 20, 2016. 

Further, he encouraged private individuals who are owners of such properties to do something meaningful with them.

“We are losing everyday. We have to start preserving as opposed to destroying because once you destroy it’s gone. You’re no longer able to experience it,” he said.

“There are a number of thoughts on this. You can build around them... you can include them. You don’t have to just make it a monument.”

Mr De Castro said that a good example of this is Sugar Mill Estate, where he said they kept the estate look but also made it into a hotel and dining room.

He added that there are other properties that he knows of that are very rich in quality and that can be used for such tourism purposes.

“One of the things about tourism is about showing your history and explaining your story. I know there is money available for heritage tourism through UNESCO and we are not tapping into that,” he said.

Heritage sites taken for granted

His guest for the show was Director of the Virgin Islands Studies Institute of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, Dr Angel Smith, who said a lot of the heritage sites in the territory are being taken for granted.

He said the institute is making available short term study programmes so that persons can study their history.

“That’s where we keep getting into trouble because we have not taken any time to look at our history,” Dr Smith said.

He further said people will have a better appreciation for where the territory is once they take the time to look back at its history.

“We will know what pitfalls to avoid because sometimes we keep going around in the same circle and keep doing the same thing and getting the same result,” Dr Smith said.

11 Responses to “Let’s preserve history to benefit tourism drive – Richard C. de Castro ”

  • one eye (23/02/2016, 09:13) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    pure talk!
  • never me again (23/02/2016, 10:28) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    I am not going to watch that show again if Sam isn't reinstated.
    • @ never me again (23/02/2016, 14:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      but everyone knew that show was part of the nasty NDP propaganda machine it has no credibility too political
  • pete (23/02/2016, 11:02) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    I commend Courtney for this topic on TV. It is so timely now that Main St is under scrutiny. The Post Office, with other sites, is a gem. Yet we see the slow sterilization of history. What happened to Bougainvillea clinic is a shame. The Purple Palace was a major landmark coming into the harbour.

    Decades ago, the 18th-19th C wooden marketplace building in front of the folk museum was torn down by family and it has remained an open pit ever since. Now it is waiting for a 6 story building which is totally inappropriate for its location next to Pussers. It should fit the scale of the other buildings. Attempts are being made to preserve the prison but even certain details are being diluted as preservation. We are losing the copper kettles and ruins in Brewers Bay, and ruins in almost EVERY bay including Smugglers. THIS IS DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT!. People travel to experience another culture/ heritage/tradition. If they want to stay at a hotel swimming pool they might as well stay in Miami. Please clear away brush from old sites to preserve them. Too bad the Ship Pier Park lost an opportunity for better architecture reflecting cultural authenticity. Instead, they opted for generic warehouses.

    This is also a great student thesis waiting to happen. History Matters! It is a marker to tell us how far we have come and what direction we are going (and not all of it is pretty). We are richer than other islands precisely BECAUSE we have more natural environment and potential than other islands who have turned into concrete jungles. And to Courtney's point, Sugar Mill Hotel has won MANY awards and has been consistently rated in the top 5 in travel magazines. History doesn't have to be thrown out in order to cater to the well-heeled.
    • dylan (23/02/2016, 16:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I support your call for the preservation and celebration of history, including the importance of balancing history with advancement, in terms of physical development. We have to make sure we post accurately though, especially as it pertains to the status of peoples' property. The property next to Pusser's never had a marketplace on it; that was a family home. Also, it is not waiting for a six story building on it. Efforts are being made to ensure that it fits not only the scale of the surrounding development but also the character as well.
  • Music (23/02/2016, 14:31) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Have these two gentlemen ever visited the Old Government House museum, and the Old Sugarworks museum?
  • wize up (23/02/2016, 15:10) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    what did Richard do to preserve the BVI history... these guys gets on public media and talk and talk but most of them that are making the most noise were in positions to make a difference and did nothing....Edmund, Donald, Douglas to name a few!!
    • Kalman (23/02/2016, 19:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @wise up- you better wise up. while pointing your finger the other four are pointing right back at you.
      • wize up (23/02/2016, 19:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @ kalman: WOW, brilliant; I never thought about that: go to the head of the class A+
  • Struggling Man (23/02/2016, 22:53) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr. DeCastro, I don't think Sugar Mill is a good example to illustrate your point. The property changed hands a few months ago and the new owner completely defaced the 400 year old stone work in the restaurant. The beautiful walls steeped in history and built by the sweat our fore-parents were all defaced by ugly white plaster as they felt the restaurant needed brightening up ! The stone that came from Liverpool as it was used for ballast for the ships are now hidden behind the plaster. They also knocked away the wall that supported the copper boiling cauldrons so that the owner could build a stage for his piano.
    The history of our islands and our heritage buildings needs more protection period.....no excuses.
  • ann (24/02/2016, 09:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Time to raise the bar and make the BVI look better.


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