||Central Bank Of Barbados
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am humbled by your presence here this evening to witness this re-naming ceremony. As most of you probably know, it was the Acting Governor’s idea to re-name this auditorium in my honour. I am deeply grateful to both Mr. Haynes and the Board of the Central Bank for the distinction they have bestowed on me.
Some of you will recall the criticisms which were heaped on my head when I proposed a central bank building with a concert hall attached. The then Prime Minister, who shall be nameless, announced that “wild horses could not get him into the building”. He lived to eat his words.
A priest preached a sermon on me, and likened the towers of the Bank to Towers of Babel.
A member of my own Board objected to the purchase of the Grand piano which has brought pleasure to so many Barbadians and visitors alike.
But throughout this difficult time, one of the few Barbadians who stood with me was the Acting Governor, Mr. Cleviston Haynes! Today he has put his words into deeds and both my family and I are deeply appreciative of the honour he has bestowed on me.
I would also like to acknowledge the support which I received from our former Governor, Dr. DeLisle Worrell. He understood my belief, as I pressed ahead with the construction of the Frank Collymore Hall, that in addition to maintaining the nation’s economy, the Central Bank, and here I quote, “is also about the prosperity of our country and the quality of life of our people.”
I owe a great debt of gratitude to all those who supported me in my determination to build this magnificent building. Let me read part of a quotation which my wife insisted that I etch into the wall of the bank as it was being built:
“When we build… let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for… and that men will say as they look upon the labour: See! This our fathers did for us!”
I repeat: “When we build… let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for… and that men will say as they look upon the labour: See! This our fathers did for us!”
I am deeply grateful for dear friends and family who have travelled from near and far to be here today – including my brother and sisters and their families, and my sons and their families. None of my achievements and honours would have been possible without the constant love and support of my wife – Lady Gloria Blackman.
Finally, I will ask my eldest grand-daughter, Helen, to make a presentation to Mrs. Haynes as a token of the appreciation of the Blackman family for the honour bestowed on my family today.