Independence – State Your Mind

According toBarbados Community Independence Logo the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat, Independence should be a state of mind that heightens during the month of November. This sentiment, echoed recently by Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, while laudable, unfortunately means nothing to the average Bajan.

A people dependent on the patronage of the political directorate. It means nothing to the unemployed who visit constituency offices across this country every week, desperately hoping that the elected representative parasite representative will give them good news on the little job they were seeking for the longest time.

It means nothing to the people forced into the welfare office or those abandoned at the Hospital. Those people waiting at bus stops exposed to the elements for the bus that never comes, will tell you where to shove that sentiment. Even though their children will ride free when the bus eventually comes, they are in an entirely different state of mind.

Certainly those holding CLICO policies are not in a state of mind that makes the Secretariat’s mission easier. Resident pleading for repairs to roads in their district for years. Pleas that continue to fall on deaf ears  simply because they voted for the wrong party do not share the sentiments of Minister Lashley.

During this month of Independence, an increase in local music on two of the twelve FM Stations accurately portraying the state of mind of the masses.

Even if you are a rebel at heart, it is always good to know that others share your views on a particular issue. It is on those occasion that you can look at the quacks, sitting at that long table in their white coats, going through their notes to find another reason to keep you from leaving and smile.
They think that you are smiling with them. Little do they know that you have just realised that the world is a crazy place and instead of you, it really should be them sitting in this chair, wearing this too tight jacket, listening to quacks concluding that society should be protected from them.

Say no to those OBEs

Say no to those OBEs

Sun, November 04, 2012 – 12:01 AM

On Wednesday, November 30, 1966, Barbados became an independent nation, and with that came  all the trappings including: a Prime Minister, Flag and a National Anthem. However, this was not  enough to unshackle the Barbadian psyche  from a dependence on the British.

After 300 years of British rule, our people found it very hard to let go of the conditioning that taught us that things British would be the standard to emulate.

As a result of that inferior thinking, our Independence was watered down from the very beginning. Rather than opting for full independence from Britain in the form of a republic, our leaders chose independence with the Queen of England remaining our Head of State.

One of the advantages of retaining the Queen as Head of State was the fact that historically, subjects  of the monarch could appeal to the Crown for justice. Previously, a local litigant who was dissatisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal had access to Her Majesty through her Privy Council. They would hear the evidence and then advise the Queen how to dispose of the matter.

With the advent of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Her Majesty’s subjects in Barbados no longer have access to seek justice through our Queen. That,  in effect, meant that Elizabeth II was removed as Queen of Barbados.

It could therefore be said that the establishment  of the CCJ made Barbados’ Independence a bit more meaningful. All that is required to complete our constitutional Independence is to remove the Queen  as our Head of State and replace her with a President  of the Republic of Barbados.

However, recent happenings suggest that after  46 years of political independence, it would appear  that our leaders are not psychologically ready  for Independence and are not prepared to cut  the umbilical cord that connects us to Britain.

Recently, Her Majesty’s representative in Barbados, His Excellency The Governor General, presided  over a ceremony to award the Order Of The British Empire (OBE) to a number of Barbadians who deserved to be honoured for their service  to this country.

Thanks to Google, I discovered that the Order Of The British Empire was first created by King George V. It was intended to recognize the service of people, from the British Isles and other parts of the empire, as combatants and civilians to the war effort. Today, it is the order of chivalry of British democracy and the only criterion for the award is valuable service to Britain.

In the Barbadian context, it is a travesty of our Independence to award the OBE to persons who have given meritorious service to this country.

Firstly, there is no British Empire in reality. Maybe it still exists in the minds of those who still want to glorify the conquest and human rights violations that the British visited upon indigenous peoples the world over. Wherever you turn in the former British Empire, the scars of British civilization are still evident.

Since Barbados did not have to fight for its Independence and was not on the receiving end  of British savagery, we might still be harbouring romantic thoughts of the Empire.

This is not to say that all things British are bad. After all, they bequeathed us a democratic system  of governance coupled with an apolitical civil service just like theirs. Our leaders have destroyed both but are hanging on tenaciously to the ceremonial aspects  of that system which does nothing to enhance  the feel-good effect of being a Barbadian.

When Government recognizes the contribution  of a local son or daughter of the soil by bestowing  an honour, they are in effect saying to us, especially  the young, that the person so honoured is worthy  of emulation.

What is the Government saying when the honour that is bestowed is some order of a non-existent British Empire? How are we going to build respect for this country and things Barbadian when the Government recognizes meritorious service by awarding honours from another country?

Prior to Independence, Barbados celebrated  with fireworks a failed attempt to destroy the British Houses of Parliament with explosives on November 5 every year. When this country was about to become independent, the Government proposed to discontinue that celebration and instead the celebration with fireworks would take place on Independence Day.

There was some opposition to that proposal. Speaking in a debate in the Senate on a bill to ban fireworks on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, Senator Asquith Phillips said: “They have no national pride; and as far as they are concerned they will take English traditions and habits with them to their graves.”

Senator Phillips’ words applied in 1966 and it appears that they are equally true in 2012. The Government’s award of the Order Of The British Empire suggests that we as a people are still suffering from a collective inferiority complex.

It might be easy for me to say since I am not in danger of being awarded any Order Of The British Empire, but I would suggest that such offers should be politely declined.

• Caswell Franklyn is a trade unionist and social commentator. Email caswellf@hotmail.com
(Reprinted from NationNews)

City comes alive!

Bridgetown Aglow

Bridgetown aglow.

With a blast of fireworks and a flick of a switch, the City lit up tonight as Barbados ushered in the Community Independence Celebrations.

The pleasure of filling the City with lights fell to young seven year old Julian Brooks, an autistic student of the Irving Wilson School. Escorted into the inner basin by the Barbados Coast Guard from their headquarters up to the Wickham/Lewis Boardwalk and then up to National Heroes Square by the 22 parish ambassadors, the packed area exploded into cheers as he flicked the switch to declare Independence celebrations officially started.

From early evening crowds had begun to gather in the Square as numerous streets around the City were closed to facilitate the elaborate set-up and ceremony.

Crowds lined the boardwalk for a good vantage point, as others edged in from all sides to either glimpse the stage or get a view of the two large screens set up on either side.

Following speeches by MP for the City Patrick Todd, Sagicor Vice President Stephen Robinson and Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, who declared the celebrations open, oohs and ahhs were heard from the crowd, followed by gasps as fireworks lit the sky and waters of the nearby Careenage.

Lashley said that Barbados’ national identity “is constantly under threat” and “our understanding of what it means to be an independent nation may often become blurred” therefore, it was vital “that as we go into this Independence month of November, that we pause, and reflect on who we really are, as Barbadians.

“We should reflect on what it was that, not so long ago, allowed us to be able to boast of having strong, close-knit, productive communities, at the core of which was, of course, the extended family.

“As we celebrate Independence, we must not only understand what it is that we mean by being independent, but we must do everything as citizens to protect that independence. We all have a responsible to live up to the ideals of nationhood, to take prudent decisions based on what is real rather than what is imaginary,” he said.

Independence he said, must be a state of mind.

Performances came from the New Dimension Eaglets, who’s danced a stirring presentation entitled Carry Your Cross, to a selection from gospel singers Mary Mary.

They were followed by saxophonist Joseph Callender, who also impressed with On The Other Side.

The strong vocals of young Azizi Clarke also drew a big response from the audience, when accompanied by Roger Gittens she delivered an original piece, I Believe.

But it was returning national CiCi, who ended the show with a jazz rendition of Beautiful Barbados that drew those sitting under the tents to their feet.

It was a short, but enjoyable start to what will be 30 days of celebrations toward the recognition of Barbados’ 46th year. (LB) (Reprinted from Barbados Today)

All of the above is of little consequence when one considers that Barbados’ Head Of State resides in Buckingham Palace.  A Head of State so busy , she cannot even remember who her current representative is.

Queen Elizabeth, Queen Of Barbados The Queen and the Commonwealth

Her Majesty is represented in Barbados on a day-to-day basis by a Governor-General. He or she is appointed by The Queen on the advice of the ministers of Barbados and is completely independent of the British Government.

The present Governor-General is His Excellency Sir Clifford Straughn Husbands GCMG KA CHB GCM QC.

The Queen maintains direct contact with the Governor-General, although she delegates executive power to the Governor-General in virtually every respect. (Reprinted from The official website of The British Monarchy)

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About Germain

I am a male born under the sign of Aquarius. I enjoy the simple life and am happiest when the rain is falling.
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One Response to Independence – State Your Mind

  1. Pingback: Proud to be a Bajan | Nuh Mock Sport

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