Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, lays a wreath at the bust of??National Hero, the Right Excellent Clement Payne, in Golden Square, the City, today, in memory of his struggle for democratic equality. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is calling for the re-education of Barbadians about the importance of the 1937 democratic struggles in the face of a misunderstanding by some generations about its significance.

He threw out this suggestion today, during the Clement Payne Movement’s Wreath-Laying ceremony at the bust of National Hero the Right Excellent Clement Payne in Golden Square, the City.

Mr. Stuart rejected the notion held by some generations that the rights and privileges which most Barbadians experienced today, were "handed to us by somebody".

"They seem to forget that people lost their lives, reputations and imperiled the prospects of their families while fighting for these rights and privileges and, therefore, a re-education has to take place in this country so that our young people can understand that we have not got to where we are by accident.?? However, men fought and died, lost their reputation, placed their children’s prospect as risk, imperiled their families while trying to ensure that we enjoyed democratic entitlements in Barbados," he emphasised.

The Prime Minister added that Clement Payne occupied a special place in the history of Barbados and described the late National Hero as "an important strand in the majestic tapestry in this country".

"It is only fitting that we should be here today to pay tribute to him and to all those others whom he inspired, to make July 26, 1937, possible and to launch Barbados on a modern course," Mr. Stuart underlined.

He recounted a Barbados that was characterised by ???little change’ for the poor between 1837 – the year before the end of the Apprenticeship System after the Emancipation Act was passed – and 1937.

As a result of mass discontent, the Prime Minister said, the 1937 democratic uprisings had led to a "niagara of changes".

"We owe a debt of gratitude to these pioneers who counted not the cost, heeded not to wound, sought not for rest and asked for no other reward but to see their country free and to see the masses of the people given greater opportunities for the realisation of their God-given talents."

Mr. Stuart further stated: "I give special tribute to those who have gone before…I pay special tribute to Clement Osbourne Payne, activities around whom, opened opportunities for all of us."

The Prime Minister praised the Clement Payne Movement for its effort to "ensure that the memory of Clement Payne is not extinguished and educating Barbadians that democracy is not a once-for-all exercise".

"Every single citizen must see him or herself as a part-time politician fighting to keep the flame of democracy burning in Barbados.?? In that regard, the Clement Payne Movement has contributed massively, wisely and substantially, to the continuing development of this country and I want to pay tribute to the movement and its leader David Comissiong," Mr. Stuart said.


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