All the images were taken in a quick visit in April 2015 – Barbados was a port on our Caribbean-to-Europe cruise.
It was amusing, as we sailed toward Barbados … a number of times on the night before, and on the morning of, our arrival we were told over the PA that it was illegal to wear camouflage pattered clothing in Barbados.
It seems only the military is allowed to wear camo – because of earlier robberies where the perpetrators were wearing camouflage clothes. The theory is that the thieves were allowed to get close, and the victims remained off guard, because the camo-wearers were assumed to be (trustworthy) soldiers, rather than (untrustworthy) criminals.
Which says, in part, what an integral role the military plays in Barbadian life.
The Barbados Defence Force comprises not just the army, but also the Coast Guard and the Police Force (oh – and the Barbados Air Wing – a single Cessna 450 plane!)
Anyway, the BDF is a highly visible part of society.
And that’s been the case since the 1700s, when the British Garrison was first established, with the construction of St Ann’s Fort.
Since then, the Garrison’s spread out and become both a working military headquarters and a world-heritage-listed historical site.
In the garrison quarter, you’ll find George Washington House (the only non-American home of the man who would later become the first US President), the Main Guard building, and the Soldiers Barracks (seen in today’s picture).
You’ll also find the Stone Barracks, The West India Barracks, Stafford House and The Barbados Turf Club offices – which were the Military Engineers Officers’ Quarters.
Many of these buildings are actually constructed from bricks brought out from London – as ballast!
The Garrison precinct is also home to The Savannah – an open area that now houses a racetrack.
It was originally built so that Regimental officers could race their horses against those of rich landowners and is the place where cricket legend Gary Sobers got down on his knees and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth – to arise as Sir Garfield.
The cannons you can see in today’s picture now point infield, to the racetrack – but they were once more formidable, aimed out to sea.
The guns were meant to deter any potential invaders, because Barbados was strategically vital (being the first port of call for ships coming across the Atlantic from Europe.)
Now, they attract, rather than deter, visitors from around the world.