Give us more heroes
An Independent Senator today made a case for Barbados to add three more names to the current list of ten national heroes.
Addressing the Upper Chamber, Sir Henry Fraser suggested that Clennell Wickham, Atholl Seymour Lewis and Sir Frank Worrell — all of who are now deceased — were deserving of the highest accolade.
In his contribution to the Barbados Jubilee Bill 2016 that establishes the Barbados Jubilee Honour, which will be conferred on 50 Barbadians during this year’s Independence celebrations, Sir Henry described them as “prominent patriots who lost their lives for Barbados”. He also highlighted the legacy of each of the men who made significant contributions to the island’s development .
In addition to the Father of Independence Errol Walton Barrow, the current list of national heroes includes leader of the slave rebellion Bussa; Sarah Ann Gill, the lone heroine; Samuel Jackman Prescod, who stood up against oppression; Duncan O’Neal, who started the democratic revolution; Clement Payne, who ignited the social revolution; Grantley Adams, who wrested power from the oligarchy; Frank Walcott who empowered the workers; Hugh Springer, who organized the workers; and Sir Garfield Sobers, the greatest cricketer on earth.
However, Sir Henry pointed out that Wickham, who was editor of The Herald, had demonstrated the principle that “the pen is mightier than the sword”.
He also argued that Lewis, who was a “man with nothing more than a couple years at primary school, became a brilliant, self educated man”, and was equally eligible for hero status.
Sir Henry also noted that Lewis, a politician, was a strong advocate for free secondary education, which was established by Barrow in 1961.
“I say that Bussa, Lewis and Wickham were the three national heroes of Barbados who died for the cause of democracy and love of country,” Sir Henry said.
The historian also suggested that Sir Frank, who the first black man to be appointed Captain of the West Indies cricket team, should receive the top honour.
“[He] engaged the community of Barbados in a way like no other, his leadership was iconic, his leadership was brilliant, his leadership was novel and he inspired our [only living] national hero Sir Garfield Sobers and the whole of the West Indies with his performance as a leader.”
Leader of Government Business Maxine McClean welcomed the recommendations, saying they were worthy of consideration.