Nelson defaced

Paint and graffiti splashed on controversial statue

The decades-old, passionate debate about the placement of the statue of British admiral Horatio Nelson resurfaced today after Barbadians woke up this morning to the news that the life-size figure had been defaced.

The statue of the British hero has stood at what was then Trafalgar Square –renamed Heroes Square in 1999 in honour of Barbadian heroes – for over 200 years. For the majority of this period it looked down on the square and Broad Street, before it was turned 180 degrees by a Democratic Labour Party administration after public protest.

This is what commuters were greeted with this morning when they arrived in The City.

However, despite signals by then Prime Minister Owen Arthur in 1999 that the statue would be removed, it continues to occupy pride of place at Heroes Square, much to the consternation of pan-Africanists such as Trevor Marshall, Anthony Mighty Gabby Carter, Sir Hilary Beckles and David Comissiong, and those wishing to shed the island’s image of “Little England”.

City commuters were surprised this morning to discover that the statue, which was erected in 1813 – some 30 years before the towering monument in London – was covered in yellow spray paint and other graffiti.

Whoever defaced it also left a sign at the base of the statue stating: “Lord Nelson will Fall. This racist white supremacist who would rather die than see black persons free, stands proudly in our nation’s capital. Nelson must go! Fear not Barbadians have spoken, politicians have failed us.”

The text was similar to the headline of a column written by Sir Hilary in September, calling for the removal of the sculpture.

In the piece entitled, Why Nelson Must Fall, the UWI vice chancellor referred to the exploits of the naval warlord.

“Nelson . . .  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,” he wrote.

In the second part of his commentary last week, Sir Hilary wrote that the vision of the slave owners who funded its erection remained intact, with Nelson unmoved and blacks still quivering.

“Citizens have been psychologically programmed for two centuries and have not vandalized the obscenity in our city, nor scandalized the slave owners’ scam upon our society,” he wrote.

“We have reached the end of our endurance. We are not going to travel any deeper into this 21st century carrying the baggage of this 19th century brutality. Nelson should be taken down by the parliament before it is torn down by the people. It should be sent to the pier, out of site of the parliament, to hear a watery eulogy.”

Sir Hilary also called on the political parties to declare their position on the matter ahead of the election.

“Who will rise up and free the nation of this psychic abuse? Is there not a brave woman or man amongst us? Are we still living in fear of the Nelson project? Are we still quivering in fear of being public advocates of the ‘damnable doctrine?” he wrote.

As part of his efforts to fully cut ties with Britain, Arthur had all but said during the renaming of the square that the Nelson statue would go. It was widely believed that it would have been replaced with one of the country’s first Prime Minister, Errol Barrow, who led Barbados to independence from Britain 51 years ago tomorrow, on November 30, 1966.

“It is not our understanding or contemplation that [the statue’s] source is hereby diminished or that those who treasure his memory should lose faith or heart,” Arthur had said at the renaming ceremony.

“This National Heroes Square is for our citizens and visitors, who should be aware that we own an indigenous culture of human achievement that stands tall with the whole world,” he had said.

This was the very point raised by a National Heroes Square and Gallery Development Committee of prominent Barbadians established by Arthur in 1999 to consider and decide upon the issue of the correct location of the controversial statue, among other issues.

After three town hall meetings and dozens of submissions from Barbadians, the committee issued its report in May 2000 in which it recommended the removal of the statue and its relocation to a proposed maritime museum or maritime heritage centre planned for Fort Willoughby in Bridgetown.

The committee, of which Comissiong was a member, thought then that while Nelson could not be considered a hero of Barbados, both he and his statue were part of the island’s history and had significant value as a tourist attraction, but in the best interest of Barbadians it should be taken down expeditiously.

“The committee felt that once a decision was taken to move the Nelson statue, it would be counter-productive to allow it to remain in National Heroes’ Square for any substantial period since this state of affairs may unnecessarily fuel public controversy. The committee understood that the presence of that statue at Heroes’ Square was controversial and could provoke a negative response from the people of Barbados. We have waited 17 years but the committee’s prediction has come true,” Comissiong told Barbados TODAY.

The social activist did not openly hail the action, but said while he would normally denounce the defacing of Government property, this was different.

However, while acknowledging that the controversy has been simmering for many years, Minister of Culture Steven Lashley called for whoever was responsible to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“I wish firstly to condemn the act itself of defacing any public monument in Barbados including the statue of Lord Nelson. In my view it is immaterial who or what that statue is because today it is Lord Nelson but tomorrow it could be anyone else.

“I acknowledge that for many years there has been a public debate on whether or not the statue should be removed from where it currently is. I am of the view that we have to face this issue and resolve it as a country one way or the other. I believe that anyone who takes it on themselves to deface a public monument should equally be dealt with firmly in accordance to the laws of Barbados,” Lashley said.

Police continue to probe the matter, with Public Relations Officer Acting Inspector Roland Cobbler telling Barbados TODAY the perpetrators could face charges for criminal damage.

81 Responses to Nelson defaced

  1. Sophia Lewis
    Sophia Lewis November 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Doesn’t matter. We are defacing and debasing everything. It’s just a phase Admiral. Would Antigua please come and take him.

    • David Aswad Alleyne
      David Aswad Alleyne November 30, 2017 at 5:36 am


    • Bajan November 30, 2017 at 6:35 am

      The problem is, this happened in the middle of Bridgetown and police did not see a thing. Therefore we ask, how dem does protect the businesses, homes, and citizens of Barbados from robbers and gunmen if they can’t protect Lord Nelson from yellow paint? This doesn’t add to the public’s confidence in the RBPF at all.

      • milli watt November 30, 2017 at 9:25 am

        if you would pay the taxes owed to the state maybe they would be able to put a special officer alongside to look after his arse………… btw the yellow brings out his eyes

        • jennifer November 30, 2017 at 12:53 pm

          Well said milli – both his eyes and his belly too.

  2. Calvin Sealy
    Calvin Sealy November 29, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Jade Grinnell

  3. Susan Maynard
    Susan Maynard November 29, 2017 at 10:16 pm


  4. Aleisha Crichlow
    Aleisha Crichlow November 29, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    I don’t understand why there is so much coverage about this…who really cares?? It need tekking down!

  5. Leomi Hinkson
    Leomi Hinkson November 29, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Stupzzzz we have much more important things to worry about than to be bothered by a damn non-important statue that needs moving hes of no significance to us we have taxes and an excruciating high cost of living killing us and wunna making this crap an issue i say take him down throw him in the sea he would make a good home for fish to live and feed, erect a hero there someone of significance cheese man wunna want an admiral we have our own admiral nelson erect him there let him spin some back in time tunes and draw the tourist make some money

  6. Izizi Izizi
    Izizi Izizi November 29, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you for taking this stand who ever you are, all symvols of colonialism and oppression must come tumblibg down, from the Confederate, to Rhodes, to Nelson…..

    • Peter Foster
      Peter Foster November 30, 2017 at 3:38 am


    • Denise Clendinning
      Denise Clendinning November 30, 2017 at 5:52 am


    • Izizi Izizi
      Izizi Izizi November 30, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Eh Muzungu ….go do ya research and see the wickedness of this man, he’s no different than Ian Smith, Botha, de Klerk, Rhodes, Leopold of Belgium…..

    • Izizi Izizi
      Izizi Izizi November 30, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee

    • Claire Gibson
      Claire Gibson November 30, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Anyone who has to ask why someone who brutally enforced the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of people should not be honored with a statue is an utter idiot.

  7. Matthew Moore
    Matthew Moore November 29, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Why are so many black people trapped in a slave mindset like seeing that statue gives them a reminder that they were slaves. None of us alive today even know what it feels like to be a slave. There will always be some remnant of history pointing to Slavery be it from the view of the slave or slave owner. Accept it move on with life and build a future. Are we supposed to remove everything that reminds us of slavery.

    • Hawn Gsion
      Hawn Gsion November 29, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Yes ya johnny

    • David Aswad Alleyne
      David Aswad Alleyne November 30, 2017 at 5:40 am


    • Matthew Moore
      Matthew Moore November 30, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Calling names does not change anything in your lives or position, much like the amount of blacks sitting down screaming reparations waiting for the white man to come apologize and repay you. Blacks trapped in a time warp. Why don’t one of you brave souls go take the statue down and see if it brings joy in your life.

    • Grazelda Walrond
      Grazelda Walrond November 30, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Matthew Moore I certainly am not awaiting any apology from countries whose economies were built atop black backs as well as all-out theft from and of Africa, but I do NOT support an icon which reinforces a slave mindset in our children’s psyches that Horatio Nelson and ALL he stood for is to be revered or admired. That’s what monuments, statues and the like subconsciously instill in people’s minds. To this day we have black parents trapped in the slave time warp giving their girls white dolls instead of dolls that look like them, (if they could even find any). However black history did NOT begin with white slavery & that’s what our children need to be taught. If you have any, what do you tell them about that statue and what you think it stands for?

  8. Kaiser Sose
    Kaiser Sose November 29, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Yeah for the anarchist great Job it should have been fecal matter.

  9. Anfaani Henry
    Anfaani Henry November 29, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Push it down

  10. Peter Thompson November 29, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    I’ve talked to several dozen Bajans today who celebrated the festive National colours applied to the statue of Nelson. The commentary on FaceBook also has lots of endorsement of Nelson’s decoration for Independence day. It is the only time that the monument has had any relevance to Barbados in the over two centuries since it was erected by racists.

  11. Gloria Springer
    Gloria Springer November 30, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Barbados have a lot of great people’s there dead or alive the can take his place time to remove Nelson about time

  12. Christopher Macauley
    Christopher Macauley November 30, 2017 at 1:35 am

    It’s A tricky one. I believe the statue should stay. But with an accurate plaque placed a big one. Outlining the crimes against humanity he was part of. Once that plaque goes up. Watch how quick people defending the statue will want it put down.

  13. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams November 30, 2017 at 2:31 am

    All too often when emotion runs high, intelligence sinks low. That shrine exists in other jurisdictions and is well preserved. We focus on the wrong things. End up wrinkled in the face but no wiser.

    • Denise Clendinning
      Denise Clendinning November 30, 2017 at 5:51 am

      Oh dear

    • Epaphras D. Williams
      Epaphras D. Williams November 30, 2017 at 8:50 am

      Some time ago a deeply spiritual and psychological tool was introduced, where as a means of retaining inner peace in midst of conflict, we count to from 1until we find relief and then we respond or walk away. It needs to be revisited post haste.

  14. Dave Person
    Dave Person November 30, 2017 at 4:33 am

    A bathroom

  15. Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa
    Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa November 30, 2017 at 4:33 am

    Let’s talk about the Krazy Kravings Lady….

    But also.. Only a few people go on the emancipation walk and many Bajans treat tourists better than their neighbours.

    So I say we compromise.

    Lets go on Emancipation walks, support our own, make an effort to support our artists etc and care more about us and less about the tourists and after 10 years of rebuilding self love we then mash up the statue. So the next generation know we practice what we preach.

    Oh and here are a few facts.
    More Bajans celebrate St Patrick’s Day than the day of emancipation.
    We idolise a celebrity who promotes sex but we condemn a banks poster.
    We have events to promote foreign drinks but the drinks of our labour are sidelined.
    We import foreign produce and put tourism before agriculture.
    We love the white man but condemn our neighbour to hell.
    We invest in America but not in ourselves.

    I had to leave Barbados because it breaks my heart that my country wants to take the easy way out and not solve its core problems.

    I vowed only to return in bouts to make small but significant impacts and to change a few lives but it’s no use when the people you do help are suppressed back into submission again.

    So check it….. The statue being taken down won’t solve the hippocrisy in government. And honestly, certain things are a destraction to stop us noticing the foreign deals being made.

    Did you know the wealthy are less empathetic towards suffering and troubles amongst the lowly? Yeah it’s a proven study….

    So let’s focus on the real issue. This is the equivalent of asking for a sports centre and not using it to invest in our athletes…. Oh wait.

    Take down the statue?
    Let’s ask for another hospital rather than hotel
    Another medical training research centre rather than a hotel
    Another venue for events rather than arena which destroy the environment.

    Yeah… The statue is really the problem.

    Now back to the Krazy Kravings female that exposed her racism….. Racism in Barbados is the most upsetting place for racism to take place as we are descendents of the FIRST slaves…. So… Let’s make racism and hate crimes illegal. Cause that would surely automatically set in motion Nelson’s monument to be taken down… And!!!!!!!!

    It means Little England will be less like England. We want to be Barbados not England right?

    Or is Independence a joke?

    Just sharing a few thoughts. If anyone wants to know more about what I do or anyone what’s to help me with giving back shout me. Otherwise. Good morning Barbados.

    • Jennifer November 30, 2017 at 6:20 am

      And this kkkravings woman was correct. To them ni**e* is a mindset or state. And this people is shrouded with the said mindset.

    • John Whittaker
      John Whittaker November 30, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Well said lots of bajans complaining bout government … Honestly by uniting n using our skills we can build over bim n mek a better future for our future generations to come. there is so much gifted ppl who can do alot but they are being kept dung by their own, I tink bout 90% of bim is black n guess who da most broke?? Sum the other races have put their differences aside tuh make money n build up their race, bajans need to wake up

    • HardBall November 30, 2017 at 8:18 am

      I hope that all Bajans boycott her business Krazy Kravings Cupcake.

      • Jennifer November 30, 2017 at 8:30 am

        I will tell you a little secret hardball, she is not the only one of her kind like this in bim. U will be surprised. I actually prefer people who are open and honest.

        • HardBall November 30, 2017 at 9:12 am

          I know she is not the only one Jennifer.
          Robert Mugabe said:
          “The only white man you can trust is a dead white man.

          Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy!

          Was it not enough punishment and suffering in history that we were uprooted and made helpless slaves not only in new colonial outposts but also domestically.”

    • Gee Zette
      Gee Zette November 30, 2017 at 8:37 am

      When you start wrong you end wrong no government in this tine has the balls to stand and say what he did was atrocious to humans and we taking him down plus we are connected to the Commonwealth and who runs it and nelson comes from there so it shows the people never really matter in politics cause if its an outcry by the masses to knock his slave ass connection down and your in power and not even acknowledging I’m vex what am i to you in the scenario

      • Jennifer November 30, 2017 at 9:19 am

        well said. All of them in this brainwashing and keepig the colonial systems going. The majority pleasing the minority. Put up Clement Osbourne Payne.

  16. Dave Person
    Dave Person November 30, 2017 at 4:37 am

    This is the most unused part of town. What ever happend there culturaly has left a stain. This man did not one thing for barbados. Why is he there?

  17. Niel Harper
    Niel Harper November 30, 2017 at 5:02 am

    Take it down and have it relocated to the National Museum. It can still be on display as evidence of our colonial history. But it deserves no prominence in our capital city.

  18. Veronica Trotman-Roberts
    Veronica Trotman-Roberts November 30, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Yellow pant looks good tho

    • Sasha Hinds
      Sasha Hinds November 30, 2017 at 8:34 am

      It want take down .I don’t even notice that therre

  19. Bajan Patriot November 30, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Clean him up. Pack him in a box and ship him back to his

    homeland. Move dipper barrow into hero square ( New location PLEASE) Put bussa in barrow place

    build a stutue of Tom Adams for the bussa location.after all,

    The ABC highway is his creation.

    Happy 51st year of independence barbados.

    • Jennifer November 30, 2017 at 6:12 am

      do u really think that would be a fruitful exercise to this people????? Bear in mind we are also dealing with mindsets.

  20. Marilyn C Fields
    Marilyn C Fields November 30, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Face and hands should have been painted black

  21. Andrew Charles
    Andrew Charles November 30, 2017 at 6:23 am


  22. Allan Ali
    Allan Ali November 30, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Take down Nelson and put up a Bajan man.

  23. Valerie Cecelia
    Valerie Cecelia November 30, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Do people really pay attention to that statue when they walk pass it , that it is causing them so much pain to go to pains to deface it. Why would I want to experience Dodds for this illegal action

    • HardBall November 30, 2017 at 8:13 am

      That is what revolutionist do, they sacrifice themselves for the cause. Everyone is not docile Valerie.

    • Nicole Codrington
      Nicole Codrington November 30, 2017 at 8:15 am

      I walked past it yesterday morning and did not even notice that it was defaced.

    • Stephanie Moore
      Stephanie Moore November 30, 2017 at 8:38 am

      No Val. Don’t even remember he there

  24. Errol Rayside
    Errol Rayside November 30, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Good job

  25. Cherry-Ann Seale
    Cherry-Ann Seale November 30, 2017 at 8:35 am

    U don’t want to visit our island because a statue was defaced? ?? It’s not like someone is going to spray paint u when u get here smh other countries are committing worst acts

  26. Gee Zette
    Gee Zette November 30, 2017 at 8:43 am

    In guessing no one in UK shows disapproval about nothing? We are still fair and the
    friendliest ppl but I’m sure worst happens in UK and you live there right? But that’s your opinion i respect it Still

  27. Arlita Strose
    Arlita Strose November 30, 2017 at 8:46 am

    At least they were considerate a d used yellow one of the colours on the flag

  28. Bajan Patriot November 30, 2017 at 8:55 am

    One thing about a BAJAN. Them could kill yuh with talk
    But tell them to act….them cowards scatter for them hiding hole
    We came from Africa but we ain’t got no fight in we. Just hot air.

    • Jennifer November 30, 2017 at 9:15 am


  29. Jantje Scott Caesar
    Jantje Scott Caesar November 30, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Tek down Nelson and put up Queen Rihanna.

  30. Jan Gibson
    Jan Gibson November 30, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Lol. I pass by ever so often and and haven’t noticed it was still there. Guess it is a real bother to someone.

  31. Grazelda Walrond
    Grazelda Walrond November 30, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Admiral Nelson’s statue needs to be dumped into the sea. He fought to maintain domination over MY people so go try getting your backside-licking elsewhere.

  32. Mikey Ballack Jones
    Mikey Ballack Jones November 30, 2017 at 9:06 am

    If this tell you that you aren’t safe. You have a very awkward understanding

  33. Alan Harvey-Bowen
    Alan Harvey-Bowen November 30, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Nelson should be shipped back to England.

  34. Papadools November 30, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I see Sir Hilary likes the the Queen’s title “Sir” attached to his name. Selective outrage ?? Hmm

  35. Ryan R A Charles
    Ryan R A Charles November 30, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I am not going to say that the person that did it is right. Yeah they should not have done it. As to their reason behind it…I think them just like every other Bajan thinks he has NO RIGHT being there and I am one of them that thinks that way as well. After all its called HEROES SQUARE and he’s not one of them. He should have been taken down years ago. But to deface it is wrong

  36. Harry November 30, 2017 at 10:12 am

    these comments made by people who have had free education and live in an Island boasting over 90% literacy………..

    what exactly will the removal of Nelson change in Barbados?

  37. Cinderella Richards
    Cinderella Richards November 30, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Funny thing is, That I don’t even see this statue. It’s like it doesn’t exist.

  38. Ossie Moore November 30, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Listen folks , please call and ask Camilla Andrews- Gibson a black mulatta bajan woman and manager of krazy kravings kupcake store in Bridgetown Barbados what is her opinion on all of this ?

  39. Helicopter(8P) November 30, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Didn’t the Assembly in Barbados have the right after Sugar made little profit as to Guyana, Jamaica and British Honduras, to ship most blacks out to those locations or to sell slave property to the French, Portuguese or Dutch but they did not. Most ex-slaves got a basic education and could at least speak the English language.

  40. john jickum November 30, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    You may not wish to admit it or publish it, but like it or not, IT IS A DISTRACTION ! Hopefully, the majority of people will, upon sober reflection, see as such and PAY ATTENTION TO THE MANY SERIOUS PROBLEMS FACING THE NATION !!!

  41. Tony Waterman December 1, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Rmoving Nelson who is an integral part of our HISTORY, is akin to the Jews saying that there was NO Holocaust, and how SILLY would that be, because we know that there was.

    I am amased that these Idiots want to Remove Lord Horatio Nelson, but the Parliament Buildings which we were NOT allowed to be VOTED into for Umpteen Years, is seemingly OK, WHY ??? the perpretrated in that Building exactly what Nelson is accused of doing, except that Nelson did NOT own any Slaves in Barbados, butbthe People who Built and Occupuied That building DiD.

    SO!!!! Lets Remove Nelson and dump him in the Sea, but we shouild also be demolishing that centre of Colonial Power also.

    I wonder how come Trevor Marshall Prof.Fraser and Sir Hilary, Beckles, has never talked about the Part that those parliament Buildoings played in Barbados’ Slave History, and what about St.Ann’s Fort, the History of that place semms to me that it too should become Rubble.

    so come on!!! Let ris Barbados of all those relics of our Slave and Colonial Past, and lets Pretend that none of it ever happened.

  42. Tony Waterman December 1, 2017 at 2:46 am

    Thr French in Quebec, Canada say “Je me souviens” “I’ll always remember, they are referring to the Defeat of General Montcalm by General Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham.

    The Jews say “Never Again” and so, the Teach ALL of their History, including The Holocaust to ALL of their Citizens. Fore warned to them is to be fore Armed.

    In Barbados, our Greartest wish is to OBLITERATE ALL of our HISTORY, so that no Vestiges of the White Man remains, so what are we going to do do with our White Citizens ??

  43. Sue Donym December 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    @Tony Waterman’s arguments are incredibly weak. Deciding that a person is not honourable is not the same as denying their existence. The holocaust is commemorated without a monument glorifying Hitler.

    Comparing the statue with the parliament buildings:
    – the statue of Nelson serves one purpose – to pay tribute to Nelson.
    – The buildings are a place where parliament meets and the retention of the evolved system of representation is not the same as preserving the laws and the interests of that time long gone! If it so offends enough people that the buildings are used for this purpose, they can be used for something else.

    There is a huge difference between critically examining what Nelson meant to the people that put the ststue there and the all-or-none defence that @Tony Waterman would have us swallow.

  44. Othneal December 3, 2017 at 10:58 am

    @Sue Donym, well done. I will not now succumb to a strong desire to respond to T.W’s comment. The They betray very warped reasoning. I suspect he is Caucasian. You made the points in counter admirably (no pun intended) I would invite TW to research where Adolf Hitler’s statue is located in Germany and Israel.


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