Literate what!

Activist Clarke says bajans cannot think

Social activist Bobby Clarke believes that despite their much praised education, Barbadians have not progressed mentally past the times before the 1937 Rebellion. Speaking at the monthly University of Independence Square meeting last night, Clarke said that what he saw as lack of mental movement was to be blamed on an education system that prepared persons to be employed only –– mostly in Government.

Social activist Bobby Clarke at last night’s University Of Independence Square meeting. 
Social activist Bobby Clarke at last night’s University Of Independence Square meeting.

“All of your life you all have heard the nonsense statement ‘Barbados is a very literate country’. We can read and write,” he said in Independence Square, Bridgetown, but added: “That’s all we can do. We can’t think because the system is created to make sure you do not think.

“It is the same system we had prior to 1937. It has not shifted. We go to school to come out and learn how to work for the Government –– in the Post Office, in the police, the fire station. That’s what we come out to learn to do.”

Clarke asked: “Is that what we went to school for? Is that what we spent all those years for, to  sell stamps?

“If you can count to ten, you can sell stamps. You can leave school at second standard, or primary school and sell stamps . . . . We do not come out to learn anything about development of ourselves and our country.

“The 1937 Barbados Rebellion, led by Clement Payne, was for the recognition of Barbadians across the island in all spheres of life, and led to changes such as political representation of all the people in Parliament, instead of the landowner and planter class only. That uprising is hailed as the pathfinder to pre-Independence introduction of free education,” said Clarke. But the social activist said that in the year 2014 “we still have the majority of Barbadian working class working in the Government, pushing paper”.

The attorney-at-law dismissed Barbadian education as meaningless.

“You talk we are highly educated. The Press keeps talking nonsense that we are number 13 or 14 in some element [international ranking] to do with education, and we can’t produce a bicycle. We can’t produce a computer.

“So what do we have? Just a continuing education system that says you must not be able to do anything for yourself or your country. And we have a hungry population, a dysfunctional population, Members of Parliament who can’t think, and we still at the level saying we are educated people.”

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5 Responses to Literate what!

  1. thinker September 23, 2014 at 9:49 am

    The article speaks the direct truth period!

  2. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington September 23, 2014 at 10:09 am

    This isn’t entirely so. Literacy and the stratification of information to the point of deciphering the spirit of the “word” or the sometimes subtle insinuendoes isn’t a class per sa. Socio- legal studies and language analysis might seek to touch these areas when it intersects with linguistics, history, anthropology, law and politics.

    What I gather you to be agitating for is the layman to decipher when commands legally or culturally are based or grounded in other than liberation of the mind to the scope of which you envision ,or is at.

    Like Historian John Henrik Clarke would implore there’s always much more to things than at glance. This being the case I think what you can do is make your knowledge more known where history is set or taught in context to liberate the minds of the masses, or else some truths you might be equipped with would be drowned by they taught to revere all manner of “pomp and pageantry” as civilized and the manner in which you’re trying to dissect methods of relaying education and critical thinking as “barbaric”; not looking beyond method to analyze material.

    I would disagree to an extent to show they are yet some capable of seeing strands of boxing or prefixed rhetoric and bureaucracy that is used as a shield in hopes to frustrate or exclude anything progressive or different. This is seen but understanding how law, sociology, the medical authority and the penal system coincide, to stir unchecked protest results in it being legal to deem a person mentally unfit or not fit to speak. This is the follow on of seeing challenges but understanding how fixtures protect themselves through beauracracy is a paradox.

  3. Cheryl Alleyne-Brooks
    Cheryl Alleyne-Brooks September 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Oh Mr Bobby where were you with this speech all along well overdue

  4. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner September 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm


  5. Ashantia Howard
    Ashantia Howard September 23, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    bobby has the british dental in effect


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