Migration to Panama ‘captured’ on camera

One of the scenes being filmed at the Blackwood Screwdocks yesterday

As actors moved around in their Sunday’s best clothing, Blackwoods Screwdock in the capital Bridgetown was transformed into 1907.

Wailing could be heard from the “dockside” as the women said “goodbyes” to their loved ones as they departed the careenage to the waiting steamer.

The scene was a reenactment from the documentary Panama Fever: A Caribbean Journey produced and directed by Alison Saunders.

Saunders revealed that it was a personal production which she had been working on for the last 4 years. An arc of the documentary looks at Saunder’s relative, Prince Collymore who was one of the 40, 000 Barbadians who ventured to Panama for better opportunities.

“The documentary looks at the historical situation, but also goes right up to the present, looking at the descendants of those people and how they are fearing today in Panama, and even the impact it has had here in the Caribbean of the migration of so many people,” said Saunders.

Prince Collymore (left) saying goodbye to his wife Ann Collymore before ‘departing’ to Panama

“It is the untold heroic story of the achievements of our people in building what is considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world.”

While archiving this journey, Saunders said she had observed that the story of Barbadians migration for the Panama Canal was an “under told” part of our history.

This was also reiterated by lead actress Joy Adams who mentioned that she did not know about the seriousness of the situation, involving “the separation of families [and] never seeing people again”.

Adams played the role of Ann Collymore, wife of Prince Collymore, who was played by lead actor Adrian Green.

Saunders revealed that the documentary will premiere on Panama Day during Barbados’ 50th anniversary of Independence.

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