Barbados celebrates 46 years as an Independent nation today. A celebration as hollow as any Bamboo stalk found in a St. Joseph gully, but a celebration nonetheless.
As we prepare to devour our conkies made from imported corn, we are still thankful that there are still some banana trees growing on the island. So what if we had to drive out to the countryside with gas costing $3.50 per litre to get leaves from our next door neighbour’s friend. At least we did not have to depend on the practically non-existent on bank holidays, public transportation.
So what if we import gasoline for SUV guzzlers?
Don’t we also import most of what we eat too?
Yes foreign interests importing and distributing most of the food we eat, controlling the only power plant and owning all the banks cause us great concern.
Yes Lord Nelson is still defiantly standing and definitely staying in the middle of Heroes Square.
Yes we continue to depend on tourists coming here and spending money like there was no tomorrow
Despite all of that, we are proud of our current state of Independence and nothing will stop us from celebrating it
Current leaders old enough to remember the lowering of the Union Jack and the Broken Trident hoisted in its place, have reflected on the dreams and aspirations that were burning in the consciousness of the leaders and masses that rainy night as they witness the unfurling of the Broken Trident in the wind.
They have pondered on the decisions made and policies pursued over the years that have resulted in this nation being no more further along the Independence journey than we were 46 years ago.
After extensive deliberations, two more distinguished sons of Barbados will join the other illustrious Knights of Saint Andrew as they battle valiantly to rekindle the spirit of Independence.
1. Mr. Justice Marston Creighton Dacosta Gibson
For his outstanding contribution to the legal profession in Barbados and at the international level.
2. Dr. Frank Walton Alleyne, PhD.
For his outstanding contribution to education especially at the tertiary level and for his public service to the people of Barbados.
Sir Marston and Sir Frank will bring considerable ability and vast experience to bear on this continuing debacle.
In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride is sprung,
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast –
The pride of nationhood
We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own.
We write our names on history’s page
With expectations great,
Strict guardians of our heritage,
Firm craftsmen of our fate
The Lord has been the people’s guide
For past three hundred years.
With him still on the people’s side
We have no doubts or fears.
Upward and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity.
When Mr. C. Van Roland Edwards composed the Music for the National Anthem he was partly blind. Mr. Edwards was born in 1912 and had been writing music from his school days as a pupil of St. Peter’s Church Boy’s School. Although he had no formal training he had been a member of the British Song society since 1933. Because of his partial blindness has was assisted in his work by his two daughters Nannette and Eullia.
Mr. Edwards was know for his compositions “The St. Andrew Murder”, “The Goodman song” and “The Federation song”. He also composed “Welcome to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II” which was sung in the presence of the Queen when she opened the St. Elizabeth School in St. Joseph during the official visit to the island in February, 1966.
A committee which comprised, Mr. Bruce St. John, Mr. Frank Collymore, Mrs. Enid Lynch, Mr. George Lamming, Mr. Gerald Hudson and Mr. John Fletcher was appointed to oversee the selection of the national Anthem. Mr. Edwards was awarded $500 for his efforts.
Mr. Edwards died on April 22, 1985
In 1967 the music of the National Anthem was re-arranged. This work was undertaken by Inspector Prince Cave of the Royal Barbados Police Band. He had earlier that year returned from a three year Band Masters course at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. The Anthem was given a more sustained harmony while at the same time retaining the original tune.
The Lyrics of the National Anthem of Barbados were written by Mr. Irving Burgie who was born in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. of a Barbadian mother and American father. Mr. Burgie whose stage name is Lord Burgess was born in 1926. He served in India and after his return to the U.S.A. he entered the University of Southern California and studied Music and performed in many cities of the U.S.A.
Mr. Burgie has composed works for “Ballad for Bimshire” and “Island in the Sun”, he has also written for a number of internationally famous Artistes. Among his works is “The West Indian Song Book”. He is a Life Member of the NAACP.
Mr. Burgie who is a frequent visitor to Barbados has instituted the Irving Burgie Literary Award for Barbadian school children. (Reprinted from BIG)
THE NATIONAL PLEDGE
I pledge allegiance to my country Barbados and to my flag,
To uphold and defend their honour,
And by my living to do credit
to my nation wherever I go.
The National Pledge was written by Mr. Lester Vaughan a former Teacher and Education Officer of Primary Schools. Mr. Vaughan was born in 1910 at St. Simon’s in the Parish of St. Andrew.
He started his career as a Pupil Teacher and between 1928 and 1944 he taught at a number of Primary Schools in the Parish of St. Andrew. He was trained at the Rawle Training Institute, forerunner of Erdiston College 1933-1935.
In 1944 he emigrated to St. Lucia and continued his career as a Teacher until 1954 when he entered the Tuskeegee Institute of Alabama, United States of America where he pursued a course in Primary education. He returned to St. Lucia on 1952 and served there until 1954 when he returned home to Barbados.
He taught at St. John the Baptist Boys School, served as Headmaster of Holy Innocents and then acted as an Education Officer for six years. He retired in November 1970. He was recalled from retirement in 1973 to the 14+ scheme which was designed to assist those children who had left school at age 14.
The choice of the National Pledge was announced on April 2, 1973 by the Hon. Erskine Sandiford then Minister of Education, Youth Affairs, Community Development and Sport.
In a competition which attracted 167 entrants Mr. Vaughan’s composition was chosen as the National Pledge.
He was awarded a prize of $100.
The judges of the competition were Mrs. Enid Lynch, Miss Doreen Mayers, Mr. Charlie Best, Mr. John Wickham, Mr. A. N. Forde and Mr. H. A. Vaughan, Chairman of the Committee.
Mr. Vaughan died on September 16, 2003 at the age of 92. (Reprinted from BIG)
Barbados Independence Day Message From
The Hon. Freundel Stuart, Q.C., M.P. Prime Minister
I am pleased to greet you once again as, both at home and abroad, we celebrate the 46th Anniversary of our Independence. We thank Almighty God for the many blessings so richly bestowed upon us and for bringing us safely to yet another year of celebration.
Reflection on the pursuit and achievement of national independence provides a timely reminder of the importance of taking responsibility for our own lives and our own future.
Countries pursue independence because they want to take their destiny into their own hands and mould that destiny as they wish. That desire inspired the founding fathers of our nation in 1966 and motivated them to end our status as a colony of Great Britain.
The achievements of Barbados over the last 46 years have fully justified the decision our founding fathers made.
At the social level, we can boast of having a Barbados that is more balanced and inclusive today than at any other time in our history; our children now have access to education from the nursery to the tertiary levels; enlightened legislative reforms have `massively expanded the rights of our women; we continue to provide for the care and protection of our aged; the disabled continue to benefit from mechanisms put in place to integrate them into the mainstream of our society; our social safety net continues to provide effective cover for the more vulnerable groups in the society; and we continue to provide for a secure future by making a strategic investment in our youth.
At the economic level, we have been able over the last 46 years to diversify the patterns of both what we produce and what we consume; we have increased substantially our national output; we have opened career opportunities to fit the diverse talents being thrown up by our educational system; we have created an environment friendly both to the local and the foreigner who wants to invest; we have expanded opportunities to encourage the development of micro- and small businesses; and, on the whole, we have been fostering the development of an entrepreneurial culture in Barbados.
At the political level, we have deepened those processes and strengthened those institutions that both encourage popular participation and guarantee the freedom of the individual.
Is it any wonder then that Barbados has been described as a country with one of the highest levels of human development in the developing world? Is it any wonder that Barbados is a leader in the world among small island developing states? Is it any wonder that our success continues to baffle countries much larger and better resourced, materially, than ours?
Fellow Barbadians, history does not develop in a straight line. There are zigzags; there are ebbs and flows; there are ups and downs. Over the last five years, the world has been hit by a financial and economic crisis whose effects are still being felt in Barbados. Those sectors from which we have traditionally earned our foreign exchange have faced unprecedented challenges.
Thanks to the social partnership which we forged two decades ago between the employers, the trade unions and the Government, we have been meeting those challenges successfully. I should like to thank the employers and the trade unions for being faithful to the cause of Barbados during this continuing global downturn. I should like to thank them particularly for agreeing to be part of the Barbados Action Team which I set up in February this year. I applaud the work they have been doing on the three working groups set up to deal with Growth, Efficiency and the Social Safety Net.
The alertness of the Government, the efforts of these social partners, and the patience, the intelligence, and the understanding of the people of Barbados are a sure guarantee that we will continue to withstand the worst effects of this global crisis.
We have been fortunate always to be able to benefit from the loyalty and support of those Barbadians abroad who make up our very active diaspora.
Independence never promised to confer only benefits. It also imposes serious responsibilities – the responsibility to be productive and efficient in what we do; the responsibility to nurture and to guard jealously those moral and spiritual values which have served us so well throughout our history, especially our post-Independence history; and the responsibility to see hard work, sacrifice, and the pursuit of excellence as the best means by which to protect and promote that independence for which we fought 46 years ago.
Our aim must be to create a Barbados in which can be found families that are sound, communities that are vibrant, a society that is just, and a nation in which the well known Barbadian resilience continues to reveal itself.
We are living in very difficult and challenging times. Information and communications technology has brought within the reach of every citizen ease of access to developments social, political and economic taking place far beyond the shores of Barbados. Our options, however, are not unlimited. As we embark on our 47th year as a nation, let us not forget that the options we take will influence the choices we make and will determine the future we create.
Happy Independence to all of you! (Reprinted from BIG)