It’s unjust!

No one should be charged for vandalizing Nelson, argues Sir Hilary

Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles has come out strongly in defence of whoever defaced the statue of Lord Horatio Nelson late last month, suggesting that one day they may very well be revered by society for seeking to right an “immoral” wrong.

On the eve of this island’s 51st anniversary of political independence celebrations on November 29, city commuters were surprised 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 another article submitted today on the topic, Sir Hilary compared the illegal action of defacing Nelson to the breaking of an “unjust law” by freedom fighter Rosa Parks in Alabama, USA in 1955, out of which he said “the spring of freedom flooded the nation”.

“She [Parks] refused to vacate the seat she occupied at the front of the bus to a white woman who demanded it. The law provided for all blacks to sit at the back. That illegal act sparked the civil rights revolution. Today, the same lady, who broke the law, Rosa Parks, is revered as the mother of the civil rights movement and a globally celebrated icon in the advancement of humanity and democracy,” Sir Hilary noted.

He also compared the recent painting of Nelson’s statue in colours of yellow and blue with the burning of William Wilberforce in effigy in Bridgetown, and the criminal destruction of the Methodist church that was associated with this island’s lone heroine Sarah Ann Gill, saying it “pales in comparison”.

“Both actions were taken by the men who funded and erected the Nelson statue. Both actions were done for the same reason; Wilberforce tried to stop the slave trade and Sarah Ann declared slavery a sin and a crime,” Sir Hilary noted, while pointing out that “no one at the time was charged because the actions were reported as done by ‘some the most respected men on the island’.

“These respected men controlled both police and parliament,” Sir Hilary said, while questioning, “where was the justice? Where is the moral authority?”

In the immediate aftermath of last month’s incident, police said they were probing the matter, adding that the perpetrator or perpetrators could face charges for criminal damage.

Minister of Culture Steven Lashley had also strongly condemned the act, while calling for whoever was responsible to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“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,” Lashley had said at the time while acknowledging 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 [but] 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.

However, in his article entitled Nelson and 21st Century Nation Building in Barbados, Sir Hilary, who chairs the CARICOM Reparations Commission, pointed to an October 13, 2017 resolution agreed to by the Commission for formal requests to be made to all CARICOM member countries “calling for all statues and memorials, dedicated to the public reverence of persons who committed crimes against humanity, and all those who aided and abetted them, to be removed from places of public celebration.

“The resolution states that all those who ushered and directed the genocide against the native people of the Caribbean, such as Christopher Columbus, should be removed from public squares and placed in suitable places such as museums.

“Also, that those persons who defended and practised the crime of enslaving others, denying them their humanity, such as Horatio Nelson, should be similarly removed from places of public celebration and located in museums or other more appropriate places, allowing for education access,” Sir Hilary said.

The vice chancellor also suggested that successive Governments were to blame for “the frustration citizens face with the immorality of any law that purports to ascribe some legal status to the Nelson monument”.

He also accused them of failing to carry through on founding father Errol Barrow’s vision, after one of the first actions he took as premier in 1962 was to end the racist, official, colonial activity of laying wreaths before the monument of Horatio Nelson.

“This was an enormous gesture which many folks protested.  But the Premier stood his ground; no more loitering on colonial premises,” Sir Hilary said.

“Just over a decade later, Prime Minister Tom Adams had the courage and wisdom to erect a monument to commemorate Emancipation because in 1938,” Sir Hilary added, while stating that “the truth is that Nelson, rather than being celebrated and revered by the descendants of survivors of genocide in Barbados, should be tried in absentia for crimes against humanity.

“The evidence of his participation in the crimes of genocide and slavery, both as a military enforcer and as a politician sitting in the House of Lords, is overwhelming,” Sir Hilary said, pointing out that some 600,000 enslaved Africans were imported into Barbados over 200 years but that at Emancipation in 1834 there were a mere 83,000 survivors.

“Even when adjustments are made for emigration to other colonies, the less than 25 per cent survival rate speaks to the case of genocide against black Barbadians. This places into context the criminal culture enforced and defended by men like Horatio Nelson,” the historian argued, adding that “the refusal of the government since 1955, and particularly since 1966, to do what it knows to be the right thing in the context of growing and nurturing our young democracy, and psychologically rehabilitating the descendants of brutalized enslaved black people, continues to create a culture of civil outrage and disobedience that makes criminals of good and true citizens.

“It serves also to confuse and conflate the growing culture of lawlessness and criminality with the conscientious, caring impulse of good citizens who support the democratic politics of justice and fairness. Bad, unjust and immoral laws have a tendency to make both petty criminals and heroes of many,” Sir Hilary said.

48 Responses to It’s unjust!

  1. Mr. T December 4, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Vandalism is not a form of protest

  2. Tee White December 4, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    The existence of a statue to a racist defender of slavery in a country where over 95% of the population are the descendants of slaves is an act of vandalism. Redressing this act of vandalism can never been seen as vandalism.

  3. Jennifer December 4, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    successive Governments are to blame for a lot of things past and present which is/was done to this people. It is like they have become watch/guard dogs. Nelson is a mm of the whole 9yds.

  4. luther thorne December 5, 2017 at 12:29 am

    The DLP is to be blamed
    The Government of the day must take the blame.
    Certain people writing on this Blog should be familiar with that statement.

  5. luther thorne December 5, 2017 at 12:31 am

    You moderating that comment in truth ?

  6. Tony Webster December 5, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Shades of one Mr. Commissiong! Hmm..we CUD use some of that reparations cash to just buy all the satues, street names etc, and dump them in the sea.

    Next one up to bat, please?

  7. Nathaniel Samuels December 5, 2017 at 1:46 am

    An eye for an eye, Sir Hilary? We will move him to the museum in short order but vandalizing, even though he cannot feel, is a no-no.
    You are inciting people, especially the young ones to take it upon themselves to vandalize Nelson. Do you think it would stop there? It might be possible that someone might have a grudge, perceived or otherwise, against Barrow, Adams or Walcott. Would you condone their behaviour if any of those statues were defaced?
    Your words count for much and are heard far and near, so think again about what you are saying.

  8. luther thorne December 5, 2017 at 4:05 am

    The Government of the day must take the blame.
    Certain people writing on this Blog should be familiar with that statement.

  9. Alan Winter December 5, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Since Emancipation nothing has changed to balance the injustices. All the images, statues, historical books are written from the perspectives of the THEN ruling class.

    How can a people HEAL, so to speak, when every facet in society is based in favour of one race and not balanced as though both races can enjoy their separate and unique cultures.

    As a black person, too many things are seen from a white person’s point of view and VERY MUCH in their favour. If the picture was reversed….Never would a black hero be standing in the Capital of a Town that is populated by the majority white…NEVER !!

    “The resolution states that all those who ushered and directed the genocide against the native people of the Caribbean, such as Christopher Columbus, should be removed from public squares and placed in suitable places such as museums.

    When will Nelson be moved ? And when will we see images of a black Jesus Christ, we are living in a society which SHOULD be balanced !! We are unique individuals as opposed to other races !!

    • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 6:02 am

      “How can a people HEAL” – they are not meant too. Even war veterans get PTSD therapy. In the place the minority controls the majority and this people love it so. Start to blame the lot in parliament and those historians too. One of the biggest issues with this people is that they love lies and hate truth.

  10. Colin Daniel December 5, 2017 at 5:51 am

    It should be painted in our national colors to show that he now kneels to the people of our great country and not a defender of our tragic past.

  11. Alan Winter December 5, 2017 at 5:52 am

    And where are OUR leaders to fight for OUR causes. Too many are too frightened to speak for fear of being victimised.

    Cant learn our history because other races are in fear, yet they are allowed to learn there’s….

    We still continue to suffer because of other people’s insecurities !!

    • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 6:21 am

      OUR leaders!!!!!!!! – come on Alan Check the history of those leaders, Jesse, MLK, etc either killed or dumb down. Oh and don’t forget those good old die hard coons aka watchdogs.

    • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 6:23 am

      OUR leaders!!!!!!!! – come on Alan. This people up against may rocks. Trust me.

      • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 6:25 am

        The wood ants got them.

  12. Alan Winter December 5, 2017 at 5:53 am

    He should be painted “black” since he didnt like black people !!

  13. Harry December 5, 2017 at 6:39 am

    and he teaches our children. This same man sits on the board of directors of C&W, a company who has seriously disadvantaged its minority shareholders……….

  14. MARIA Holder December 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Hilary has and will always be a disgrace but we knight such persons. Breaking the law is to be revered – this is the example a grey hair man like he and an ‘educator’ is sending to our children

    • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Yep. Well said Maria.

  15. archy perch December 5, 2017 at 6:45 am

    I am amazed that you would support someone breaking the law and also defacing a monument in this island, Sir Hillary.
    I guess once you say it is right then that legitimizes things.
    Shame on you Sir!

  16. MARIA Holder December 5, 2017 at 6:48 am

    You have tried and to some extent has succeeded in rewriting our history but it still does not change what really happened. He represents an era of our history – good or bad. That can never be changed. Rather than called for him to be taken down, teach our children the history behind him – and not your-story but his-story

    • Tee White December 5, 2017 at 7:53 am

      @Maria Holder What history are you referring to?

      • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 8:30 am

        Ok. Which??????????????

  17. Tony Webster December 5, 2017 at 6:51 am

    I have always wanted to get my personal vengeance against Herod. If only I cud find a statue…I would certainly hang it. Sorry…him.

  18. Sherlock Holmes. December 5, 2017 at 6:52 am


  19. harry turnover December 5, 2017 at 7:47 am

    ….is Hilary telling lies ? wonder what the resident King Dyal got to say about this one or is he waiting on the white paint to dry before he comments ?

  20. Tee White December 5, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I’m guessing that all those who are today calling for respecting the law no mater what are against Rosa Parkes for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman, are against the women in apartheid South Africa for refusing to carry their passes and against every Bajan slave that run away from a plantation because all of these acts were illegal. Laws are made by people and where the law is aimed at violating justice and imposing oppression no-one inis under any obligation to follow it. In fact in those circumstances the only moral thing is to break like Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Bussa and many others have done. When the law upholds justice, people will willingly comply with it.

    • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 8:34 am

      And who CREATED the said laws, including the black codes?????¿¿

      • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 8:40 am

        The said calling for this respect law is the main reasons this people in this condition. Look at libia.

        • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 8:42 am

          Suppose to be civilised. Oh the god of Abraham, Isaac and yacob.

  21. Peter Thompson December 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Move Nelson to the Museum with signage to point out that he was a racist White supremacist and that the statue was erected and paid for by other racists.
    Then replace it with a statue commemorating Sarah Ann Gill.

  22. HONEST December 5, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Sir Hilary is correct. There has been too much rhetoric and no action with regards to the Nelson statute. It should have been removed a long time ago. I hail the person who painted it as a national hero. Sometimes we need to show how we feel about an issue by taking action. After all, it is not a living thing that we are dealing with here.

  23. luther thorne December 5, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Nelson should be at the bottom of the Wharf

  24. Ras December 5, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Tek down Nelson
    Put up Mia

  25. roger headley December 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

    No wonder your son got into the trouble that he did – you obviously taught him that the end justifies the means, even if it involves breaking the law.

    • Tee White December 5, 2017 at 11:57 am

      What have you got to say to Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Bussa who all broke the law?

    • Sherlock Holmes. December 5, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Well said Roger we have crooked Hillary and now we have an inciter to vandalism called one Sir Hillary but you know something a few months ago he was on this same Nelson statue topic and i would not be surprised if the clown that pulled off that act of vandalism was inspired by his mouthings if some of these people would spend some time getting right with Jesus they would certainly do them selves some good. Professing to be wise yet they are foolish.If HORATIO NELSON did not repent and make it right with God i am sure he has reaped his just desserts and all like now he is still reaping them but we have a bunch of so called global elitist who are following the globalist agenda and trying to rewrite history this nonsense is happening all over North America and as usual even the so called educated must follow pattern, slavery was wrong , very wrong but it is over time to move on!

  26. Lindsay Farmer December 5, 2017 at 11:01 am

    The person who defaced the statue of Nelson is not a hero. They are a coward. Had they stood by their actions and identified themselves as the owner of the deed, then maybe I could consider calling them a hero/heroine.
    I agree that the statue of Nelson should not be in or adjoining somewhere called Hero’s Square. He should be at the Museum or Screw Docks or even Nelson Street.
    To destroy the statue is to deny our history, and ourselves, as it is because of our history of slavery that the vast majority of persons on this island can call themselves Bajan. Whether you are descended from African slaves, Irish/Scotts indentured servants, or English slave owner, it is because of the abominable practice of slavery that you are here.
    Where ever the statue of Nelson is moved to, let there be a plaque so all can know who he was, and all that he stood for, and how the statue came to be, and include that it was formally erected in Trafalgar Square Bridgetown, but was moved to it’s present location and why.
    Life is not static, it is ever evolving, and as such we recognise this and allow the evolution to take place, but we should never forget where we came from and under what circumstances.

    I fully support a statue of Sarah Ann Gill, or Errol Barrow or some other local hero/heroine. The trouble is chances are, someone may disagree with the person selected to be memorialised and they may deem it ok to deface the new statue because of ‘respected’ persons saying it was ok to do so with Nelson.
    Wrong is wrong, and two wrongs do not make it right. Having a statue of Nelson in hero’s square is wrong. To deface it is also wrong.

  27. Ossie Moore December 5, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Sir Hillary can you please remove the Sir from being a prefix to your name as you seem to be in separate worlds ? You have indeed a task to perform finding those African chiefs who sold you into slavery! Lots of them are Arab Muslim of North East Africa who moved camel trains across the Sahara and left dealers to control the slave supply and demand! Can you please deal with that side of the coin?

    • Tee White December 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      @ossie Moore That might be your version of the Atlantic slave trade but you would be very hard pressed to find any historical evidence to support it.

    • Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Ossie you might be correct. One of the biggest lies is that African sold African. When Africa itself has over 40 nationalities. The people sold for rum is NOT of the same nationality as the sellers. And these historians foster these lies.

  28. Adrian Hinds December 5, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Commissong and Beckles are Heroes to the vast majority of bajan people. A few “holdouts” don’t matter in fact they are necessary to prove the points they make both Comtemporary and Historically. I support the “art work” on the statue and will support the next set of “work” on it. WE will this battle.

  29. john December 5, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Seeing that you are in support of vandalism how would you feel if someone burnt the parliament buildings to the ground? Would that be ok with you too? Also if you are so against Nelson and all things from that era, why don’t you renounce your knighthood? or is your view selective in its approach on all things historic?

    • Tee White December 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      @John You also appear to be in support of the vandalism that the statue of a racist defender of slavery bang in the centre of our capital city does to the dignity of Bajans, the overwhelming majority of whom are descendants of slaves.

  30. Alston A. Fergusson December 5, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    I am surprised to see Barbadians, even white or mixed-race persons, writing nonsense like ‘Sir Hilary Beckles’ changing our history. If such persons have researched the documents and found that this noted historian misrepresented them in his books and articles, then they should publish their findings and refute what he has written. History cannot be changed. It can however be misrepresented as it was in Barbadian schools for centuries. A racist like the late Captain Hutt who taught ‘His Story’ at HC during my time there certainly misrepresented or hid the facts. I, though considered ‘bright’ actually did not realize I was not up on the deck with Horatio Hornblow! It seems even today some ‘educated’ Bajans cannot get over the brainwashing.

  31. Helicopter(8P) December 5, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Tee White you have need do some more research ! Can you in present day West Africa tell me who controlls the commerce ?I would say the Muslims. You are only looking at a short time frame of slavery so as Hillary Beckles ! What is Hilary’s take on those free black men during slavery and the emancipated who got free lands for good service? I would have loved to see emancipated man get his honest share but as society goes you were able to get a free education not every one did!

  32. Sue Donym December 5, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Wow! Some of the ‘thinking’ displayed on this thread is shocking!
    “A short time frame for slavery”… good sir, a day was too long.
    “Free black men and the emancipated who got free lands for good service”… have you thought how the land ‘owners’ came into possession of those lands and do you seriously think that slavery came to an end because of the goodness of the invading, murderous, greedy Massas?

    I despair when commenters can insist that since he does not approve of paying tribute to Nelson, Sir Hilary should reject everything remotely British. That is not so different from saying that if a person does not approve of the path one of her uncles has taken, she should renounce all of her relatives.

    Not too far removed, is the idea that if one supported the protest, or did not condemn it, one would want to see even the most violent acts as a means of protest. I know mothers that could slap a child to prevent its being burned, but would never drop kick the child!

    So, come off it with the infantile protestations and listen to the substance of the debate. Noone is saying you have to agree with another, but at least understand what you claim to disagree with!

  33. Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    We can clearly see why absolutely no other race o this earth ever takes black people seriously. Talk bare bs, then join league. stand for nothing and fall for everything.


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