Recognise our unsung heroes
Wed, 07/27/2016 - 12:42am
A leading trade unionist in this country is calling for the other heroes of the 1937 disturbances to be given national recognition.
Senior Assistant General Secretary with the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Orlando ‘Gabby’ Scott, said it is unfortunate that while Clement Payne has been identified as a National Hero, his trusted lieutenants – Menzies Chase, Darnley Alleyne, Ulric Grant and Israel Lovell, have not been given the recognition they deserve. Scott made the point as he noted that it was the “sacrificial efforts” of those unsung heroes that made it possible to speed up the decolonisation process and step up the democratisation of the social institutions in Barbados such as Parliament, the Law Courts, the established Church, the Civil Service, as well as in some areas of the Private Sector.
Speaking yesterday morning at an event in Golden Square, The City to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the 1937 disturbances, he told those gathered that Chase, Alleyne, Grant and Lovell suffered ridiculous jail terms, beatings and shame for the assistance they offered Payne in loosening “the feudal-like stranglehold” on the Barbadian society. But, he indicated that in spite of the role they played in that Social Rebellion, to this day they have absolutely no standing in this country.
“So, we ask, if Payne has been accorded national prominence, why has officialdom discarded Chase, Lovell, Grant and Alleyne? We in Barbados, at all levels, appear still to be treating the heroes of the 1937 disturbances as low-level rabble rousers in just the same way the establishment treated them back in 1937,” he lamented.
The BWU official said that as the country celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Independence, efforts must be made to reflect with serious thought on the 1937 Social Rebellion and on where it should be placed in the context of Barbados’ social, economic and political development. In so doing, he added, consideration must also be given to elevating the unsung heroes of that Rebellion.
“We ask another question – why do we not lift higher the defining moments in our history – the Abolition of Slavery, Emancipation, July 26, 1937, and Independence. Year after year we just gloss over these significant anniversaries – the periods in our history that should affirm who and what we are and who we want to be. It’s no wonder therefore that some of our people appear as if we are floating in a daze, not knowing who we truly are and areabsorbing every aspect of the culture of others, some deviant, and every superficial, shifty philosophy and trend that the North Atlantic and the mass media promote,” the trade unionist stated.
He is adamant that in this our 50th year of nationhood, the country must “settle down to some serious insightful reflection” looking at where we have come from, who we are, and what we want to become as a nation. To that end, he suggested that the Mirror Image speech of the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow is required reading. (JRT)