Distinguished Barbadians Honoured

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Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, (right) is pictured presenting Professor Alvin Thompson with his Lifetime Achievement Award last Tuesday, during the inaugural Oshe Emeka Awards ceremony staged by the Commission for Pan-African Affairs at the Hilton Barbados.??

A number of Barbadians have been singled out for their contributions to promoting Afrocentricity.

They were presented with awards last Tuesday, by Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, during the inaugural Oshe Emeka Awards ceremony staged by the Commission for Pan-African Affairs at the Hilton Barbados.

Distinguished Barbadians receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards were ??Professor Sir Hillary Beckles, Dr Viola Davis, Senator Orlando Marville, Muhammad Nasser, Dr. Erskine Simmons, Professor Alvin Thompson and Dr. Granville Williams.

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Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett (left) presents Robert ???Bobby’ Clarke with his award, a hand carved Djembe drum last Tuesday, during the inaugural Oshe Emeka Awards ceremony staged by the Commission for Pan-African Affairs at the Hilton Barbados.

Other awards were presented in such categories as business, culture education, health, media, Pan-Africanism and religion. The recipients were: Trevor Clarke, Ras Akyem Ramsay, Dr.Myra Belgrave, Orlando Ras Ils’ Mayers, the Pinelands Creative Workshop, Olutoye Walrond, Robert Bobby’ Clarke, David Commissiong, the Rastafai Community and the Sons of God Apostolic Spiritual Baptist Church.

In his feature address, Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, hailed the awardees as a group of individuals and institutions who had taken pains to ensure that our African heritage was not forgotten. He praised them for their dedication and commitment to helping Barbados "to become one of the most successful Black-led countries in the world, and one to which many others now look for models and solutions."

Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett (left) presents Trevor ???Job’ Clarke with his award, a hand carved Djembe drum last Tuesday, during the inaugural Oshe Emeka Awards ceremony staged by the Commission for Pan-African Affairs at the Hilton Barbados.

The Culture Minister maintained that as black people of African descent, it was important to maintain our cultural identity, individuality and the right to preserve the positive elements of our African heritage.?? This was crucial, Mr. Blackett stressed because of the brain washing that occurred during slavery and the post-emancipation years along with the constant negative portrayal of persons from the African continent as "pathetically poor and suffering, or intensely corrupt, or both".

He opined that it was the vision of the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, for every Barbadian to benefit from education to the highest possible level. However, Mr. Blackett revealed that education "would only serve our people well if, in addition to providing opportunities for them to acquire knowledge, it also allowed them to acquire wisdom.??

"It should cultivate in them a sensitive awareness of what is going on around them. It should teach them to think, to reason, and to be discerning. Should education fail to do this, then our people will remain ever vulnerable to the powerful global forces of socio-cultural and economic domination that seek daily to control their minds", he surmised.??

The Culture Minister stated that it was customary every year to honour our National Heroes, but this was the first time contributions to Afrocentric development in Barbados would be recognised.

The words Oshe Emeka are derived from Igbo and Yoruba and mean coming together to give thanks and to show appreciation for great deeds.

Several persons were also honoured posthumously. Cathy Lashley (CL) – clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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