Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is very impressed with the response of Barbadians to the year-long We Gatherin’ initiative.
Ms. Mottley described February, which featured month-long celebrations in St. Peter, as “magnificent”.
She made the comments last Friday evening at the renaming of the Speightstown By-Pass Road to the K.N.R Husbands Highway, in honour of the first black Speaker of the House of Assembly of Barbados, Sir Kenmore Husbands.
She continued: “I am blown away by the response of the people of Barbados to the We Gatherin’ initiative. It has said to me more than anything else that our people simply want a space in which they can reflect, share and offer ideas, as they have been at our Ideas Forum and reconnect with people that they haven’t seen for some time….
“But in the We Gatherin’ initiative, the reconnection, as we said, is not only about those coming from overseas, but it is also about those of us who have a connection with the parish reconnecting.”
The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of families making those connections and stressed that she would like the country to carry forward that unity and solidarity.
Ms. Mottley underscored the importance of renaming the road, saying many school children did not know about the former Speaker.
She described this lack of knowledge as a gap in the education of children and in the consciousness of the nation.
“It is with that same commitment, sense of consciousness and determination that our children should know where we have come from and where we are in order to be committed to where we must go…. Whether it was as a teacher, an Assistant General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union…a speaker of the House of Assembly, as he was on different occasions, or as a Minister of the Crown, as he later became, before his retirement, Sir Kenmore gave service to the people of this parish and to the people of this nation,” she stated.
The Prime Minister expressed the view that the north of the island needed a cruise pier in Speightstown to inject the area with even more life. She further suggested that Speightstown Alive should be held once weekly.
“I have every confidence that if we do it right, with smaller ships berthing in the north, that it will allow us to be able to see an injection of people that will make a meaningful difference to the families and residents of St. Lucy, St. Peter, St. Joseph, St. Andrew, St. Thomas and St. James….
“My Government is committed to making that difference, in an appreciable way, to your wellbeing and to the economic options available to you, be you artists, businessmen, and service providers…. We believe that we can transform…the north, to ensure that the people…see the potential,” Ms. Mottley said.
Sir Kenmore, or “Doc”, as he was familiarly known, was also President of the St. Peter branch of the Working Men’s Association. He entered politics in the 1940’s and won the St. Peter seat in a by-election in 1948.
He became the first black Speaker of the House of Assembly in 1948, six months after the general election of that year. He was made a Knight of the Order of Saint Andrew by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1989 and died on August 31, 1991.