On Tuesday, April 28, Barbadians from all walks of life converged on the steps of Independence Square to celebrate the lives and contributions of the 10 National Heroes who wrote their names on history???s pages.
While delivering the feature address, Acting Minister of Culture, Ronald Jones remarked on the event???s great significance; he also noted the importance of the location where it was taking place.
???Just over one hundred and seventy-one (171) years ago, the unheeded cries that may have echoed in the Careenage from the scourges of the whip; and the parading of naked bodies for sale to the highest bidder came to an end.
This was a normal occurrence in this city just across the way from where I stand this evening, in the early history of this island.?????Minister Jones examined the many struggles of Barbadians throughout the Nation???s history and further illustrated how the contributions of the 10 National Heroes greatly impacted the country???s development.
???The Right Excellent Sarah Ann Gill used her faith and prayers in the fight for social justice; the Right Excellent Charles Duncan O???Neale and the Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod used their privileged positions to educate the masses to bring about their enfranchisement…
“…the Right Excellent Clement Payne challenged the status quo and caused the masses to reflect on their mirror image and agitate for their rights; the Right Excellent Sir Grantley Adams, the Right Excellent Sir Frank Walcott, and the Right Excellent Sir Hugh Springer all fought for workers??? rights through the medium of the Workers??? Union; and ??? the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow brought us from a village to a nation.???
While he elaborated on the achievements of the National Heroes, Mr. Jones also noted that there were many ???unsung heroes??? whose contributions also needed to be recognised. The Acting Minister of Culture tipped his hat to the individuals ???who worked from the corners of the villages, the churches and other organisations.???
He added that the tireless and dedicated work of the numerous, albeit unseen, heroes was an invaluable contribution to the betterment of the Nation as a whole. ???They fed the poor, sent (to) school and clothed many a child and participated in the life of this nation in ways that have made a difference in our society.??? he explained.
The Minister noted that the efforts of the many faceless heroes needed to be celebrated and publicly acknowledged; as a result, Mr. Jones expressed the intentions of the Ministry of Culture to ???push??? a project that would not only encourage more Barbadians to acknowledge the contributions of the unknown heroes but the project would also pay tribute to the many unnamed individuals.
???(The Ministry of Culture) will shortly be launching a competition that will solicit submissions for a design of a monument which can be erected in memory of these ???Unsung Heroes.??????, he revealed.??As the Minister delivered the evening???s feature address in Independence Square, many sat under the statute of ???The Father of Independence???, the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow.
Following the address, the audience was treated to several performances and presentations by Barbadian artistes; young and old alike bopped and swayed to the rhythmically ???conscious??? lyrics of spoken word poets; Winston Farrell and Adrian Green.??Mr. Farrell enlightened and uplifted the audience with several poetic presentations that recounted the events of enslavement as well as the victories of the heroes??? efforts to create a better Barbadian society.
As he performed several spoken word pieces, a steady roar could be heard as the audience passionately repeated the profound lyrics.??Their eagerness to repeat the poet???s lyrics stood in stark contrast to the pin-drop silence that caused the words of spoken word Artiste Adrian Green to ricochet off the walls of the surrounding buildings and resonate within the conscience of those present.
With rapt attention, crowds listened, mesmerized by the depth of Mr. Green???s word; words which encouraged individuals to remember that they ???have what it takes??? to emerge victoriously from the difficult times currently being experienced.??In addition to poetry, spectators were also treated to several musical performances including presentations by Indra ???Indrani??? Rudder, the 1688 orchestra, and John King. The concert also officially launched the Season of Emancipation.