Emancipation et al …
I don’t know about you but this short week had me really thrown off. Here I was thinking that it was Tuesday and I would get this article to my editors in good time, only to realize that it was actually Thursday when I sat down to write it!
So much has happened this week that rather than focus on one thing, I thought I would touch on several, of which only one actually deals with business and finance.
In order of occurrence, I would like to add my condolences and sentiments on the passing of Renee Ratcliffe on Kadooment Day. Our sons were in the same form at primary school and many days I would see Renee by the blue benches at school sharing some ribald joke or making a typical “Renee” comment and just being herself without apology.
She was very involved with the school, well-loved and much appreciated. May we learn something from her life and her death.
I wonder how many people even realized that Kadooment Day was actually Emancipation Day. It seems as if Kadooment has become the bigger and more important celebration. Granted, in terms of economic impact, it certainly is.
In fact, I had a friend who was unable to take her original flight out of Toronto on July 21 and she could not get a flight back to Barbados until August 4! Here’s hoping that the vast number of visitors who came in, left enough foreign exchange behind to remove the restrictions that the Central Bank is threatening to impose.
Getting back to Emancipation Day, I have to admit that while I had a nodding acquaintance with it, I never really understood or appreciated what it really meant. Now that I am doing the research for my novel Vaucluse, and I have discovered the Slave Registers and read about the “Bussa Rebellion”, I now have a better appreciation of Emancipation and the importance of the day.
So much so, that on Monday I made my children sit down for a discussion about Emancipation. I even showed them one of Henry Peter Simmons’ (of Vaucluse) pages in the Barbados slave register so that they could understand that human beings right here in Barbados and the region, were owned and could be bought and sold or gifted to others.
That was not done to breed hatred and resentment in them, but to create an appreciation for the freedom that people died to secure and to ensure that they use that freedom to help make the world a better place.
There are conflicting views on whether Bussa was actually the leader of the 1816 rebellion or not. From what I have read, there were several leaders but, to me, that is not the important thing. What is important is that some of the slaves in the island seemed to reach a boiling point at which they could no longer contain themselves and had to rise up and throw off their shackles in some way, even if it meant death.
While the rebellion is linked to Emancipation Day now, with wreaths being placed at the foot of the Bussa statue, Emancipation did not come until eighteen years later! So while the rebellion did not result in Emancipation, it certainly stirred things up enough for an investigation into the situation of slaves to be carried out. In any event, Emancipation finally came on August 1, 1834 and it is a day that should be truly celebrated.
Speaking of celebrations, I am happy to announce that women entrepreneurs are being celebrated throughout the region and with more than just talk for a change. In ten countries in the Caribbean, including Barbados, the FundRiseHer initiative will be launched this month.
Between August 22 and 29, entrepreneurs will be invited to apply for grants and will have to go through a selection process, including a pitch competition in order to be considered for a grant. On September 15, will be the launch of the crowdfunding campaign to finance the grants. Each country will be required to raise its own money to fund their entrepreneurs.
We therefore need to come together to support our women entrepreneurs in Barbados and ensure that our “pot” has at least US$100,000 in it. All we need is 5,000 people to put in at least $20 each and we will make our target. Not an impossible task. You will hear more on that in the weeks to come.
And for the final celebration of the week, my husband and I marked our 26th wedding anniversary on August 4. Now that is something to celebrate! And on that note, I want to let you know that I will be on holiday for two weeks so I won’t be writing any articles.
However, I’ll be sure to share the highlights when I get back and you can read my blog atwww.donnaevery.combecause I will continue to write that and share the nuggets that I find in my research for Vaucluse.
Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme and the Barbados Affiliate for the FundRiseHer Campaign. Contact her firstname.lastname@example.org.