Why Nelson must fall

Generally, nations such as Barbados that claim ideological roots in the democratic struggles of the working class have opposed publicly revering persons known to have committed crimes against humanity, and those who have assisted them. The governments of such nations seek to avoid using their considerable moral and legal state power to normalize the acceptance of such crimes within the community of victims.

These circumstances, however, do not apply in our country in the case of Lord Horatio Nelson, rendering it in this regard a deviant if not a pariah nation. The moral, military, political and legal power of the Barbados state has been used for 200 years to abuse the decency, sensibility and intelligence of the majority of inhabitants. This blunt brutality of state power in itself is considered criminal in some quarters.

The facts speak for themselves. Nelson, the naval warlord of the British empire by his political decisions, military actions, and public speeches, was a vile, racist, white supremacist; he disposed black people, and dedicated his political and military life to the cause of protecting Britain’s criminal possession of the 800,000 enslaved Africans held during his lifetime.

The 85,000 enslaved blacks entrapped in Barbados only knew of Nelson as leader of the naval power dedicated to keeping them in slavery. The 15,000 slave owners in Barbados who welcomed Nelson in the Caribbean and celebrated his presence, did so because their greatest fear was black freedom. For them Toussaint L’ouverture who ended slavery in a Caribbean society a decade earlier was their hero. Nelson was their sworn enemy.

The enslaved black community was not invited, therefore, to be a part of the decision made by enslavers to erect the Nelson monument in Bridgetown in 1813. But they did respond very directly three years later in 1816 when the freedom War of General Bussa was launched to destroy the black enslavement Nelson sought to defend and preserve.

Enslavers used their monopoly possession of parliamentary and military power to erect the monument to Nelson. As a symbol of white supremacy and slavery it was meant to send a message. But it also represented an excessive and brutal abuse of parliamentary power.

Nothing has changed in this regard. It has no moral legitimacy and its continued presence constitutes the subjugation of democratic parliamentary power to descendant white elites. It is a persistent violent imposition upon the mind of every right thinking democratic citizen.

Under the guise of cultural artifact, academics such as Professor Fraser, and Dr Karl Watson, who should know better, have confronted the society and in so doing have refused to answer the question: were you Jewish, would you wish to live in a state with a monument of a Nazi warlord?

Not only did Nelson fight to preserve black enslavement, he took every opportunity in the House of Lords where he sat as a member to vote against Wilberforce and all those who lobbied for the abolition of the slave trade on the basis that buying and selling enchained black bodies was a crime and a sin.

It remains a flagrant abuse of state power that has intimidated a black society.

Part of the justification for the abuse of power is the notion that somehow if it is removed, English tourists will stop coming to Barbados in the numbers we expect.

Prime Ministers, and Ministers of Finance, and Tourism, have been intimidated by this argument, and those who make it, and have set aside their broader political responsibility to cleanse the public space of the toxins of slavery.

Our English tourists are often embarrassed by this thinking, and ashamed of our mendicant subservient responses to past brutalization. They are mostly educated and informed people who would feel more relaxed in Barbados if we appear more dignified and less bowed.

To hear them speak of the shame they experience in seeing Nelson in our parliament square is to realize that our politicians too often act upon the basis of untruth and a fallacy. In fact, more English tourists will likely come to Barbados in greater numbers when we give them more of our best selves which they can respect. This is why they are flocking to Cuba; to experience Caribbean national pride in action.

The shaming of the nation in favour of Nelson’s symbolism, is found in two historic moments: The DLP turned it around and deepened its roots when they had the opportunity to move it to a Marine park on the pier. The BLP did not wish the Rt Excellent Barrow at the centre of Parliament square and placed him out of sight of the Assembly in what was a public car park. Nelson remained in the more prominent place.

The assumption is growing, I have been informed, that the government might rather citizens, in an act of moral civil disobedience, to take matters in their own hands, and remove the offending obstacle to democracy. This has been the case in the USA and South Africa. Quietly, state officials could slip away and say that the people have spoken. Such alliances of active citizens and passive state have moved many societies. Barbados must move on.

Source: (Sir Hilary Beckles, an eminent historian, is vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies)

19 Responses to Why Nelson must fall

  1. Shurf De
    Shurf De September 13, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I asked more than anyone why he is not move to the bottom of the carinage

    • Gavin Dawson
      Gavin Dawson September 13, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Shurf De,I’m British and even I cannot understand why Nelson is in Heroes Square, he should be facing the sea? ( faces the Thames in London) or is it because in Historian times he was classed as a hero? But in reality was he? we can only rely on what history provides us with, but from what I can gather there is fault on more than one side, but that is from what I have read and is not a comment.

    • Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
      Cherylann Bourne-Hayes September 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Gavin Dawson Heroes Square came after the statue was erected. Just saying and not lending any opinion as to where he should or should not be.

  2. Tee White September 13, 2017 at 10:56 am

    That we still have to have this discussion in 2017 is all the evidence we need of how emotionally and psychologically damaged we still are. A statue to a white supremacist defender of slavery in the middle of National Heroes’ Square in the capital city of a country where 95% of the population are descendants of African slaves. SMH.

  3. Kaiser Sose
    Kaiser Sose September 13, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Throw this racist ass statue in the ocean so fish can pooh on it.

  4. Gavin Dawson
    Gavin Dawson September 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Michael Crichlow, How way of course you are in your comments, if this is so why are there a lot of BAJANS living in the UK, plus why have a lot of British people brought money to Barbados? Building property, living here spending and putting money into Economy of Barbados,like you putting and spending money whilst putting money into the Canadian economy?

  5. Michael Crichlow
    Michael Crichlow September 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Mr Gavin Dawson where did you see in my statement anything anti Barbardos or British? Please read my comment as per getting rid Lord Nelson Statute ,and why i think i will never come to fruition sir

  6. Gavin Dawson
    Gavin Dawson September 13, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Michael Crichlow ‘quote The caribbean are still the British Lackys’un Quote , to me that means the British are treating the people of the Caribbean like trash! this is so not true. And don’t forget that Barbados is a Commonwealth country hence things British . If ever Barbados becomes a Republic that’s when things might change wether for the better or not, we can only wait and see.

  7. F.A.Rudder September 13, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    So Hillary! Haiti fought against Bonaparte, slaughtered mulattoes and white who did not even engage in the rebellion. Fast forward through the decades; the proclamation of two kings gained through civil war and about 115 leaders since Toussaint La Overture, the country remains a voodoo paradise in which Olgun suffers the inhabitants to constant confusion and poverty! I may have thought that The occult was so good to the people that they should have been exulted with great health and riches. Yes they are great and good Haitians but the majority who practice the occult are standing in the way of Haiti’s progress. Are you willing to help educate them to better sanitation and civic order?

    • Tee White September 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      What on earth has your comment got to do with the need to get Nelson’s statue out of Bridgetown? What makes you think that the Vodun religion which the African slaves brought with them from their countries is any more occult than the weaponised Christianity that the Europeans brought to the Caribbean and shoved down the throats of the African slaves? Haiti has been under siege by the global whiite supremacists since 1804 when it declared its independence and became the first independent black country in the Americas. Bear that in mind when judging its current state.

  8. Gavin Dawson
    Gavin Dawson September 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Michael Crichlow Barbados becoming a Republic that’s not for me to Question,wether it will be good or bad who knows? I do know not being in the Commonwealth may have it’s down side, is Barbados big enough or strong enough to go it alone? What other than tourism, plus sugar ( which by the way is not as strong a commodity market wise as used to be) Molasses ? does Barbados have? A mound of Question will have to be answered.
    As for Liquid Bravado or Rum talk you could not be more wrong, to answer comments or make comments then I am as sober as the day is long, when on FB it is me and not Alcohol. False courage I do not need. I write and speak as I find right or wrong if I am wrong ( as I can be) then if there is proof an apology is given.

  9. Michael Crichlow
    Michael Crichlow September 13, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Gavin Dawson again there is a misunderstanding ..i spoke of “liquid bravado” not that you were inebriated by talks of the A Republic, but those who might be in Government to suggest such folley sir..i don’t know you enough to disrespect your intelligence..and as a matter of fact you pointed out facts about lack of commodities as i have eluded too on topics regarding the state of Barbados economy

  10. Gavin Dawson
    Gavin Dawson September 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Michael Crichlow no offence, it can happen that you write and say things and are totally misunderstood by the person receiving the message, I know I’v made a comment and it’s been received as something totally the opposite of what I meant.As for the Barbados economy (unless you are a harden DLP. Supporter,) the Gov’t is all but Bankrupt, we are taxed on almost every thing even down to using your local Debit card to purchase goods from abroad because they are cheaper or you cannot get them in Barbados a %2 is added for using your card. (Fresh air next to be taxed) So this the Barbados of today. Hope my comment to you has come out as I intended and not as something else.

  11. Michael Crichlow
    Michael Crichlow September 13, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I was a DLP under Errol Barrow i have becomed Canadian Liberal since Elliot ..But this DLP is without the proper portfolios to govern

  12. John Strutton
    John Strutton September 13, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Be proud of the Bajan history that makes Barbados the pride of the Caribbean.

    • Tee White September 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      @john Strutton which history? The history of those who defended slavery and its barbaric inhumanity or the history of those who fought, sometimes giving even their lives, to free our people from that monstrous crime against humanity?

  13. Maaz A Love
    Maaz A Love September 13, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Remove that piece of sh@t from our sight …he was a racist

  14. Alex Alleyne September 13, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    In our present state of mind, Nelson ain’t going no where , no time soon.

  15. Leroy Parris September 13, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    How true you are Sir Hilary, full marks to you. Theres only one place for such a criminal and its surely not where he is now. Pack him back to Westminster. The sooner you dismantled him the better. The old racist ba….d.


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