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48 years on

Barbados faces up to several key challenges

Baby Boomers and those born at an earlier period, have had the opportunity to observe the rapid social and economic development Barbados has undergone over the 48 years of its independence.
Unfortunately, the phenomenal growth recorded in these two spheres of life has not been matched in the spiritual realm, with Barbadians witnessing abuse of illicit drugs, the rise of the drug baron, the emergence of boys on the block, and the steady breakdown of the family stucture over time. However, in spite of these negative aspects of life in Barbados, over the 48 years of Independence, Barbadians cannot deny they have witnessed the phenomenal growth of a vibrant middle class in such areas as West Terrace and Husbands in St James and Elizabeth Park in Christ Church.
During this period, Barbadians would have also witnessed the narrowing of the economic gap between those who owned wealth and those who were emerging from the labouring working class. Today, many Baby Boomers, children born after World War II –– the offspring of domestic servants, field labourers and artisans –– now own homes in these and other similar residential districts dotted across the island.
independence pages 1
In the area of public health, Barbadians have witnessed a near revolution with the mushrooming of polyclinics in such parishes as St Michael, St George, Christ Church and St Peter. When it is considered that at an earlier period of Barbados’ history the infant mortality rate was higher than that of Guyana’s, policymakers in the Ministry of Health are to be highly commended for enhancing the quality of life of the average Barbadian.
Barbadians may proudly ask themselves when last they attended a funeral service where a small white casket was seen? The answer would be comforting. Over the last 48 years Barbados has been able to wrestle this health scourge to the ground.
Travel by land has also undergone much change through the years of Independence, with the average citizen now owning motorized transport. Persons born after World War II may recall droves of artisans on bicycles from such far-flung parishes as St Philip, St George, St John and St Thomas making their way to their places of employment in The City.
These workers would then make their way back home to their rural parishes after labouring for a full eight to ten hours, using tools not driven by electricity.
Today, the public transport system uses enclosed buses, built either in Brazil or Britain, but at an earlier period of Barbados’ history, an open wooden structure was superimposed on a chassis for a bus. Unlike today when the operator of the bus sits behind the wheel and collects fares in a turnstile box, it took a high degree of athleticism by the conductor to hold oneself secure on the running board and skip safely the rear wheel of the bus to collect passengers’ fares.
The conductor’s work became more hazardous when the rain fell and he had to deal with a flapping tarpaulin and a wet running board.
Bus concessionaire and funeral director Harold “Zeek” Tudor of The Ivy, St Michael, was the first person to import a fully enclosed bus, servicing the Bush Hall, St Michael route.
At a time when several schooners connected the other islands of the Eastern Carribean with Barbados, the Pier Head in Cavan’s Lane, Bridgetown, was the site of the Screw Dock where vessels were repaired.
Before the Deep Water Harbour was constructed in the early 1960s, officials of the Customs and Immigration Departments were located at Cavan’s Lane, The City, to supervise the departure of thousands of Barbadians who were seeking employment in Britain. Small vessels were used to transport passengers from the Pier Head to large ocean-going vessels anchored in Carlisle Bay some three to five miles offshore.
The inner basin of the Careenage on which Independence Square and the statue of the Father Of Independence Errol Barrow is located was reserved for huge “lighters” which transported goods from anchored vessels in Carlisle Bay.
Seawell Airport, now the Grantley Adams International Airport, the Berinda Cox Fish Market in Oistins and Kensington Oval have all benefited from upgrades over the past 48 years of Independence.

3 Responses to 48 years on

  1. Olutoye Walrond November 30, 2014 at 8:38 am

    “Baby boomers”? I thought that was a peculiarly American concept.

  2. dwayne jordan November 30, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Old swan street looking west
    All true but we have many issues facing us now,
    1. Aging population and rising health care associated with it, increase tax on cigarettes, hard liquor,(unhealthy imported foods whatever they maybe) only tax increase I support.
    2. Drugs and drug crime still a problem (legalize marijuana and take the coolness out of block life) crime may naturally rise as some of these marijuana dealers would turn to crime or turn to cocaine, or it may fall bc they may find work.
    3. Legal system needs overhauling aswell aswell as outdated laws
    4. Over taxation – yes it is a big problem, it slows economy
    5. High umemployment,,due to slow economy and uncertainty
    6. Education – started training for relevant jobs,,we have more lawyers and managers than we need,,open all purpose sugar refinery and biofuels and have a degree in confectionary/food associated with the sugar indsutry.
    7. Renewal energy policy and legislation,,we have way too much sunshine and wind in the north and east.
    8. Waste and garbage – push an initiave to get households into reclycling,,lower solid waste bills for those who parcel their trash for pickup.
    So many issues on the table we have generally lost focus on over past 16yrs,,lets get to work barbados

  3. Alphonza Lashley December 1, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Barbados 48 years before.

    I wish a happy and glorious celebration of 48 Independent Years to those who make Barbados what it is to all people.

    Now that we are entering the 49th and 50th year (half centaury), let us all step into our greatness and do what it takes and is necessary to create a Barbados where we all move together forward as one leaving no one behind.

    We are a group of alumni that contributed and played an important role in the development of Barbados in its transition from an Agricultural industry to a Tourist industry. I remember when our Principal Mr. DaCosta Edwards announced at our prayer gathering one morning that we were going to play an important role in the transition, and requested each of us to educate our parents on the benefits of the Tourist Industry and what it meant to be a country whose industry is dependant on tourism.

    I remember Premier and Prime Minister Errol Walton Barrow especially because he was the spearhead of the Tourism movement from our industry of Agriculture. He recognized that we, the children of the sharecroppers and sugarcane harvesters, attended high school with the intention of avoiding reaping sugar cane alike our parents; hence, a projected shortage of workers in the fields reaping sugar cane.

    A little History: He also introduced National Health Insurance and Social Security and expanded free education to all levels. Wikipedia’s view of Barbados

    I stood at Seawell International Airport (Grantley Adams International Airport) and watched My Prime Minister Pilot a, United States Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force (USAF) jet, through the sound barrier (what a boom that was) at what looked like ten feet from the runway floor. I also remember that beaming broad smile he had on his face when he dismounted the cockpit and walked toward the roaring crowd. That was a sight for the ages.

    In 1955, after returning to Barbados in 1950, he was elected to the Barbados Parliament in 1951 as a member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Feeling the fever of anti-colonialism he had inculcated during his student days in London, and displayed during his debates broadcasted on Rediffussion, he quickly became dissatisfied by the incremental approach to change advocated by the party stalwarts (Grantley Adams et al). He founded the Democratic Labour Party as a progressive alternative to the BLP.

    He became its leader in 1958 and the party won parliamentary elections in 1961 within his constituency of St. John. He served as Premier of Barbados from 1961 until 1966 when, after leading the country to independence from Great Britain, he became Prime Minister. He served continuously in that capacity as well as stints as Minister of Finance, and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the next ten years.

    Additionally, Premier and Prime Minister E. W. Barrow was a dedicated proponent of regional integration, spearheading the foundation of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) in 1965. Eight years later CARIFTA evolved into the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), when Prime Minister Barrow, together with Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad & Tobago and Michael Manley of Jamaica enacted the Treaty of Chaguaramas to bolster political and economic relations between the English-speaking Caribbean territories.

    Remember the Ships Federal Palm and Federal Maple that resulted from the CARIFTA agreements? We as choir members of “The Choir For The Animation Of The Sick And Incapacitated” under the directorship of Harold Rock M.B.E., sailed on those ships when the Choir toured, St Vincent, Dominica, St Lucia, etc. Like I said before, we were a part of the Tourist movement.

    Beverley Fields vision and comment in her post below is apropos;

    “I know our country is not in a good place right now as we celebrate 48 years of Independence but things can only get better if everyone put aside their political and personal differences and help to get our country back to be the Gem of the Caribbean.”

    I challenge each of you to take the action necessary that starts us moving to that space “Gem of The Caribbean”.

    Let us all agree that in two years, God’s will be done for our 50th year half centaury celebration, we are again once and for all time “Gem Of The Caribbean.”

    This is my contribution.

    Al Lashley. Lovingly Divine.
    Think Globally. Dream Universally.
    Samurai XV. Festina Lente.


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