Barbados to keep pushing for reparations

Barbadians still need full emancipation from the lingering relics of enslavement, and for that reason this island will continue the push for reparations, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley has stated.

Speaking in the Emancipation Village at Bridgetown Market at the end of the walk from the Emancipation Statue in Haggatt Hall, Lashley made it known that not only would the Government be involved in the pursuit of compensation for descendants of slaves, but also it would produce a special programme on the island to coincide with the United Nations Decade For People Of African Descent.

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley being aided by NCF Chief Cultural Officer Andrea Wells in adjusting the sash of Barbados Queen Of The Crop 2015 Judy Cumberbatch, as Grantley Hurley awaits his coronation as King in the Emancipation Village at Bridgetown Market on Spring Garden Saturday evening.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley being aided by NCF Chief Cultural Officer Andrea Wells in adjusting the sash of Barbados Queen Of The Crop 2015 Judy Cumberbatch, as Grantley Hurley awaits his coronation as King in the Emancipation Village at Bridgetown Market on Spring Garden Saturday evening.

“It is not only about the past; it is also about our future; and, moving forward as a nation, the various achievements for black Barbadians is to be fully emancipated from the lingering sense of inadequacy and inferiority,” the minister said Saturday night while declaring the Bridgetown Market open.

Pointing out that the sense of inadequacy was cultivated on the slave plantations, Lashley said Barbadians would “overcome the powerful global forces of sociocultural and economic domination, that begins with the controlling of our minds”.

The minister added: “This ongoing assault on our minds includes us consciously, and subconsciously, accepting the standards of those who enslaved and oppressed us.

“That is why reparations [for slavery] remain a relevant item on the agenda today. Let us fight back with the proven weapon of power that we have –– our culture. As our forefathers did, let us unleash our creativity and show out the areas of cultural entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Addressing a crowd that took time out from the treats of the Bridgetown Market along Spring Garden, he said the displays at the market stalls represented a part of the national culture.

“This evening, these are evident in our culinary skills, our craft, our music. Let us be proud of our traditions as Barbadians, such as the King and Queen Of The Crop competition, which has been sustained by persons such as Grantley Hurley, our king for the past 14 years.”

King Of The Crop Grantley Hurley picked up his award for cutting and piling 160 tonnes of cane in 2015.

Queen Judy Cumberbatch cut and piled 75 tonnes this year to retain the crown she has held for the past 16 years.

Lashley, who later sashed and awarded the King and Queen, said: “It is these elements of our past that we often tend to forget. The struggles of resistance, of rebellion of a nature that had little to do with violence, but were focused on the goal.

Pan-African artiste Onkphra Wells performing
Pan-African artiste Onkphra Wells performing

“It is not that our people were passive; our history dispels that myth.”

Lashley announced that his ministry would shortly launch the Decade Of People Of African Descent and join pan-African organizations in preparing a national strategic plan for implementation during the decade.

“This strategic plan is intended to ensure that the gains amassed by freedom by African descendents in Barbados since Emancipation are not reversed, and the unfinished business of justice and equality is given focus and dedicated attention for the next ten years.

“I am committed to ensuring that these gains are restored, even as we stride to win new ground. I assure you that culture will be pivotal in the process. Crop Over, our primary festival will be the lens through which much of this examination will take place.”

Tributes were also paid to nine of the island’s National Heroes: Bussa, Sarah Ann Gill, Samuel Jackman Prescod, Charles Duncan O’Neal, Clement Payne, Sir Grantley Adams, Errol Barrow, Sir Hugh Springer and Sir Frank Walcott.

Director of the Commission for Pan- African Affairs, Dr Deryck Murray, laying wreath honouring the National Heroes.
Director of the Commission for Pan- African Affairs, Dr Deryck Murray, laying wreath honouring the National Heroes.

No tributes were needed for National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers, because as the nation’s only living idol, he was elsewhere performing national duty.

“Our heroes, those sung and unsung, were deeply involved in this important process. They either planted the seeds of awareness, or physically struggled,” Lashley said, including reference to some 14 people who had sacrificed their lives in the 1937 Disturbances.

“Those heroes built on what was gained by the decree of August 1, 1834, [that] ended the enslavement of our ancestors, bringing to pass their hopes and dreams of allowing us to be where we are today in 2015, and aptly represented by our only living National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers.”

5 Responses to Barbados to keep pushing for reparations

  1. jrsmith August 5, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Our history and reviving the past ,is gradually destroying us. blacks are targeting them selves ,we have lost our culture and has no real bajan heritage. Us blacks need to wake up smell the coffee , you cannot plant potatoes and expect to reap yams.

    Our bad attitudes , bad morals and lawlessness is taking us down. as bajans we must remember , past bajans brought us to a new beginning , but our new breed of bajans politicians are taking us back from where we started, they are not capable of managing the new world we are in.

    We the bajan people are paying for political failure, our government ,with the try this and try that policies hoping something works. so far we the bajan people has been very discipline toward the rubbish politicians and should thank ourselves we have a way of life , that is envied the world over.

    History and people, who just remind you of the past ,but they
    have nothing to add to the future. that’s our failure keep blaming history.

  2. Bobo August 5, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Lashley–Psychotic drama– what reparations has to do with educating the people with a descent curriculum –keeping up-to date with the times — for survival– making sure each child leaving school with a diploma (big/small potentials) that is when a Government is for the people –with the people –moving forward a Nation to think for themselves.

  3. Marcia Clarke August 6, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Caribbean Civilization is still included as a compulsory course at UWI Cave Hill……………..A constant reminder of our past.

  4. Chris Wright August 15, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Whenever I read about the call for reparations I ask, who is going to pay the reparations, what court is going to hand down a decision that it be paid, who is going to manage the funds, and to whom will the funds be distributed.
    There is mention of the sugar industry, slavery, and the injustices that have been suffered by our ancestors. As I look at the achievement the island of Barbados and with what Bajans have accomplished, I am as a proud Bajan as any other Bajan. Our parents made sure we got an education and as I read the current news of children receiving scholarships and getting prepared for school, one can see the trend of educating our young still continues.
    As I take a look of the situation of many black kids here in the USA I am saddened by the number of young men who are ‘drop outs’ the number of young men who are killed in the inner cities each year. I have notice that this trend of black on black crime especially with the youth has reached the shores of Barbados. THIS IS what those who are still locked into the reparations frame of mind should be concentrating on.
    My heart ached recently for the mother who lost a young son who was a teacher, after being shot carelessly and senselessly. What about reparations for her, is there a crime victims fund available for her and many other families who have lost loved ones to receive any funds to assist in the burial of these victims.
    Are there any mentoring programs to reach out to those young men who have gone astray, to teach them how to be responsible men and citizens. Get real guys, true we cannot forget the past however we are here and how we continue on the journey is what matters. We are an independent country which has in every aspect done very well in spite of the many tough times the island has gone through, yet the bottom of the bucket has not fallen out, keep the faith.

  5. seagul May 18, 2016 at 11:26 am

    A house negro will always be disingenuous dumbfounded….he feels the rain and only shakes it like a hund……


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