Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley speaking to the audience as the contractor and his team work to remove the more than 200-year-old statue from National Heroes Square. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Hundreds of Barbadians braved the inclement weather today to be a part of history and witness the removal of the statue of Lord Nelson from National Heroes Square.

And, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said the removal of the more than 200-year-old statue was a sign that Barbadians were ready to take other steps in the development of nationhood.

Ms. Mottley told those gathered, including school children, that Government was clear that national consciousness and identity must be at the core of the nation.

“If we do not know who we are, if we are not clear what we will fight for, then we are doomed to be exploited and to be colonised again, not necessarily in the same way that led to the ships coming in, but in the way that will allow the mental spaces to be dominated by stories, songs and messages that are not our own, and that are not intended to lift up our people to where we need to go in this world today,” she stated.

The Prime Minister said the time had come for parents to have different conversations with their children.

“To have the difficult conversations that ask young ladies and young men not to denigrate themselves; you can have fun and you can do all of the things that you want to do without making people objects of sexual exploitation.

“A country does not reach 54 years old without having difficult conversations, and I ask us to recognise that these conversations must be had in our homes, in our communities, in our churches and in our nation,” she stressed.

She said Government would embark on further public consultation to see how best the island’s heroes could be celebrated in National Heroes Square.

“Similarly, we are going to ensure as we did with Independence Square, that National Heroes Square must reflect our heroes. And while we accept that the statue of the Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson is an important historic relic, it is not a relic to be placed in the National Heroes Square of a nation that has had to fight for too long to shape its destiny and to forge a positive future for its citizens,” she stated.

Ms. Mottley disclosed that only last week, Government approved the framework for the work to continue in nearby Golden Square, to ensure the park would be properly landscaped.

She also said Government needed to rename the bus stand after Archbishop Granville Williams, whom she added, sought to create space for people to praise God in the way they wanted to.

After about three hours of work, the contractor and his team had the more than 200-year-old structure on the truck, where it was transported to Block A, the Garrison. The statue will be eventually handed over to the museum.

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