Intent on conserving the archaeological, building heritage assets on the island and promoting the cultural ecotourism for the benefit of citizens and visitors in Tobago, the Tobago Heritage Conservation Society, Angelo Bissessarsingh Virtual Museum and Richmond Great House have embarked on a series of tours around the island.
On Tuesday, the organisations led a tour of several historical sites across the island including the Buccoo Historical Park, as well as the Friendship and Cove estates.
Other planned activities include a historical tour of Scarborough starting at the Botanical Gardens (July 7), a visit to the Richmond Great House (July 8), an interactive session with the Tobago Heritage Conservative Society and contributors in Buccoo (July 9), and a family day and unity walk (July 10).
Chairman of the Tobago Heritage Conservation Society, Gabriele DeGaetano told Newsday that the group intends to make records of the island’s heritage available to all.
“We have been linking with the THA – the local authorities – for the implementation of a local resource centre.”
Patricia Bissessar, the administrator of the Angelo Bissessarsingh Virtual Museum, said the aim of the collaboration is to promote the heritage assets of the island.
“We are sharing these things on our virtual platform so that people would be sensitised, they would develop that national pride and patriotism that we have so much to offer in Tobago, other than the sun, sea and sand. Even the foreigners would be aware of the sites they can visit when they come to Tobago.”
She said that the aim is to raise awareness about the historical value of what is available.
“I think Tobago is sitting on a rich landmine. After visiting some of the Caribbean countries and seeing what they have to offer, I think if people are sensitised in Tobago as to their assets, what they have to offer to the world, they would develop that pride in being a Tobagonian. That awareness is being developed and the more we share, the more we publicise, I think people would be sensitised to the importance of conserving and preserving the heritage assets in Tobago.”
The virtual museum, she said, was started by her late nephew Angelo Bissessarsingh in 2009. She said prior to his death in 2017, Bissessarsingh asked her to continue his legacy through the museum.
Going forward, she is hoping their work will be taught in schools.
“I want to encourage teachers in the school system to start sharing what we have to offer. The Tobago Conservation Society has done a lot of work and a lot of documented history that the students themselves need to get on-board.
"They are our future leaders of tomorrow and we need to sensitise them and if we can get the youths to follow us, then I think we are in a safe position in terms of heritage preservation and conservation. All sectors have an important role to play – even the THA, together we can do great wonders in Tobago, but we need everyone coming together, recognising the importance of these heritage sites.”
Additionally, she believes that legislation to protect these artifacts must be passed.
“I get angry every time I hear things are removed by these scrap iron dealers.
"Just knowing that parts of our history are being destroyed forever, never to be returned. Something needs to be done, some law or something should be implemented to stop these people from actually taking these artifacts, these are reminders of our past.”
For more information on the tours call 314-4604 or 715-5465.