Making a case for our ancestors

Members of the Pan–African fraternity are appealing for structured representation of African ancestry in Barbados.

Addressing journalists Saturday at a press conference by the Pan–African Coalition of Organisations to commemorate Black History Month, Baba John Tifase Howell suggested that the gravesites of hundreds of slaves were not being recognized by the state or its people.

“We believe that our people are just as important as any other people. I see the work that is being done for the Jewish cemetery here in Bridgetown but when you visit where our ancestors have been laid to rest it is always traumatic to see that nothing is being done to keep the premises in some kind of order, it is like we are still second-class citizens in our own land,” Howell said.

The Pan–Africanist stressed that it was the government’s responsibility to honour the slave burial grounds located in Newton Plantation, Christ Church; Pierhead, Bridgetown; and Browne’s Beach, St Michael.

“This needs to be taken to a state level, the same way how we can gather every year and have Memorial Day for the veterans or war heroes . . . we could do similar to our African ancestors who would have died for our liberation,” he said.

Howell indicated that the recognition of these valuable heritage sites would be a welcome addition to our tourism sector, especially heritage tourism.

“We talk about tourism, but these sites would be tourism as well because you are not only coming for sea and sand, you are coming to be immersed in the culture of the people.  We too have a story that needs to be told,” he said.

These sentiments were also shared by Reverend Omkphra Wells, who said that the thoughts of hundreds of skeletal remains underneath the Pierhead car park, gave him chills.

“They dug a mass pit and on arrive in Barbados they were not fit enough to be sold or if they were dying, they just cast these people into this pit and we went and built a parking lot,” said Reverend Wells.

“I am not saying that the parking lot was deliberately built but information has been found since that that was a burial ground, then it is our responsibility to pay reverence to the site,” he added. (KK)

14 Responses to Making a case for our ancestors

  1. Jennifer February 5, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Wow hundreds of years later at this is the road we on.

  2. Wendy February 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks guys for sharing, I didn”t know this, where can I find out more about these burial grounds. I am currently trying to research into my bajan family tree and whilst searching through slave registers it is heart breaking to see records of children as you as 3 years old recorded as ‘the property of”….

  3. Hmmm February 5, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Nithing wrong with this, so just how the Jewish business men got together and paid for the work by there grave. Can some of our business people nit do the same?

  4. hcalndre February 6, 2017 at 9:19 am

    @Baba John, how many barbadians would acknowledge their African Ancestry? I have spoken to a few and they would tell you straight to your face that they are bajan and that`s it, they know nothing about Africa. Putting any structure where the african slaves were bury would have been a some kind of protest accept in barbados.

  5. cliff Goodman February 6, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I’m interesting in knowing more of our ancesors , I didn’t know the rejected slaves were buried in a whole under a car park. I can be reached at 2309226 or email

  6. Ivana Cardinale February 6, 2017 at 10:09 am

    hcalndre, are Barbadians in denial? How can you deny your DNA, your roots, your ethnicity? How can you deny your past, your history, your culture? Barbadians, the one that you spoke with, whether they like or not, they are African decendents. Barbadians can’t bleach their skin and their past. Bleach can’t erase your roots.

  7. F.A.Rudder February 6, 2017 at 10:45 am

    People ! I hear your plea! One thing I must correct is that Africa has always have mixed people of various completion. Establishing more literature on the subject and supplying tourists with this information on arrival at our ports of entry would be beneficial to the tourist industry. A small section of areas can be constructed as memorials in honor and respect and that would be our National Memorial for those ancestors passed.

  8. jrsmith February 6, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Why do we want to keep reminding ourselves what happen during slavery,its a part of history , which wasn’t any benefit to the black people then and still is no benefit today , the new generation of the past slave masters is the ones who is still in control.
    During the centuries of slavery no one was there for our ancestors , no one to turn to , no God no Jesus .. the white man was in control then and still is now they rule the world…

    What have we got as black people to be proud about, a very large manufacturing base of religions , scores of versions of the bible and churches every where , which should have been factories or businesses… If god think so much of black people ,why he always direct black people to start a new church , why not a business is that saying something…..

  9. Jennifer February 6, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    @jrsmith – I bet you that the so called Jews and the Holocaust , 9:11 victims. japan Hiroshima victims is not saying any of this history nonsense. This is why we are in the current tin cup position. Those people put it in your face, celebrate these people as heroes. Not to mention that poppy remembrance day thing which is shown every year where our people went to fight wars that the devil and his children started. Stop this nonsense about history and the past and let us respect and show up these ancestors who went through the devil’s fires for us. WE ARE THE TRUE HOLOCAUST IN THE EARTH WITH 40 MILLION AFRICANS DEAD.

  10. Jennifer February 6, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Black people cannot set up a business because the school system and the oppressor who is responsible for it, does not allow them the knowledge and confidence to do it. Without knowing the past there is no future. All these business owners here are using old money from their ancestors to carry on their usury of our people. But we like it so. Funny enough how that criminal one hand nelson on top and the slaves buried underneath him and we have him as a monument for all to see. This terrorist. We are still in mental slavery if not we would have thrown him in the carreenage and renamed every road and building with these people names on it. Throw the coon and pharaohs with Nelson too.

  11. Jennifer February 6, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Go and listen to Bob Marley = holy mount Zion, this is a start and stop bashing the bible. But bash the churches, vast difference. Although he is technically white (red) as his father was. You are the SEED of your father, his music was great. You cannot put new WINE in an OLD bottle.

  12. jrsmith February 6, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    @, Jennifer , hail, hail , you are so inspiring ,my 11 year old granddaughter said , send her 3 hails, from me grandad….
    I said to her its time us black people have our black Jesus …i also said this to my friend , his wife refused to chat to me anymore until I repent my sins….

  13. Jennifer February 6, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    @jrsmith – I bow to you Sir. did any one ever tell you that u r stubborn??? Well join the club. I have spent some of my short life living in parts of the EU. I spent a some of my time with my older people listening to their stories which is usually fascinating. The last death in my family was 23yrs ago, so I have a lot of 80 and 90 plus relatives. Regardless of how young you think you are, I will show you things in that bible that will leave you baffled and breathless. You must never rush the brush sir, the hair will drop out.

  14. Sandra February 10, 2017 at 7:13 am

    ,,.our story is one of survival and triumph in the face of despicable evil, that is what we commemorate and celebrate. Don’t get it twisted. Slavery is what Europeans did, let them own it. We own what we did and those stories have yet to be told. Where do I sign up.


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