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(from left) Chief Information Officer (Ag), Erskine Callender; Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner; and General Manager of CBC, Lars Soderstorm, at Wednesday’s launch ceremony.


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100 Great Barbadians to be recognised


By Nicholas Cox

THE achievements of outstanding Barbadians at home and abroad will soon be recognised with the establishment of the “100 Great Barbadians” project.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Government Information Service (GIS) and the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and seeks to document the builders of the nation who have contributed to bringing Barbados to where it is today. It will also serve as a social history of our time, depicting iconic Bajans and utilising the archives of both organisations, to tell the stories.

Speaking at the launch of the project on Wednesday evening, Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, encouraged Barbadians to nominate their countrymen living in far-flung places around the world, and also unheralded women from the community.

“Those persons fill us with a sense of pride and a feeling of achievement that this little island nurtures such stalwarts who are making sterling contributions to their host countries the world over,” she told the audience at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Sandiford-Garner said the project was essentially a Bajan “hall of fame”, with the first candidate being US Attorney General Eric Holder, who was born to Barbadian parents in New Jersey.

“We are determined to establish a memory bank of those 100 Barbadian men and women, who by their lives, careers and consistently outstanding achievements, have brought honour and credit to our nation as it develops in strength and unity,” she explained.

In this vein, she suggested Philip Als and Randal Valdez, who received international acclaim for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, and Shirley Chisolm, a woman of Barbadian parentage that was the first female candidate for US President.

Nominees must be citizens of Barbados, or of Barbadian parentage, living here or overseas, noted Chief Information Officer (Ag), Erskine Callender, during his remarks. “We hope to attract a wide cross-section of Barbadians and therefore the nominees should include people from every sphere of society,” he said.

Speaking about the collaboration with CBC, Callender said that the responsibility of both organisations to the public was in providing present and future generations of Barbados with the history of the “human gems” of the island. He noted that with Bajans striving to achieve in a myriad of ways, “Our self-appointed task is therefore to let our people know about such persons who are in areas outside the usual paths to glory of the established National Heroes.”

Marketing Officer at GIS, Ronny Yearwood, explained that the campaign would run for the next three months, during which Barbadians are invited to submit short biographies of their nominees. Nominations will close on September 1, 2009. Furthermore, he said a five-person committee headed by Dr. Henderson Carter would then select the 100 Great Barbadians and announce the finalists on Independence Day of this year. He said the nominees would be officially recognised at a gala and awards ceremony slated for next year, and that five-minute documentaries about their lives would be produced and shown on CBC.

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