Barbadians have been taking up Government’s invitation to recommend citizens worthy of elevation to the status of National Hero, and several names have already been suggested.
This disclosure came from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture, John King, who said “a lot” of suggestions had been received from the public, and he encouraged Barbadians to continue making their recommendations.
In an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS), Mr. King said: “The recommendations are coming in and they are wide, varied and very interesting and I just want to encourage people to get in as many of their recommendations before the close off date.
“I think the responses speak a lot about citizens at this particular point in time, their interest in the country and creating the identity that they want the world to know them by. So for me, it’s very encouraging and it is very important at the same time.”
Recommendations for national heroes should be sent in writing to the Permanent Secretary, Division of Culture, Prime Minister’s Office, Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by Thursday, April 15.
Mr. King said at this point in the nation’s development it was necessary to give Barbadians an opportunity to make these crucial decisions as to who should receive these accolades and be elevated to National Hero status.
“If you’re talking about a democracy and creation of your own identity, then the people have a right to be involved in it by making their own selection,” he opined.
Emphasising the importance of national heroes, the Minister noted that when dealing with difficult situations, some people looked for inspiration in others.
“Humans always look for examples to better themselves or be like someone that they appreciate, and the provision of National Heroes allows for such,” he surmised.
Sharing his view on what makes a National Hero, Mr. King outlined that such a person should be selfless and work for the betterment of the people of Barbados.
The 10 National Heroes who were announced in 1998 are: Bussa, Sarah Ann Gill, Samuel Jackman Prescod, Charles Duncan O’Neal, Clement Osbourne Payne, Sir Hugh Worrell Springer, Errol Walton Barrow, Sir Frank Leslie Walcott, Sir Garfield St. Auburn Sobers, and Sir Grantley Herbert Adams.
In the foreword of the National Heroes of Barbados book, published by the BGIS, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who was the Minister of Culture at the time, said: “Recognition is the single most important accolade that a nation can give for outstanding service. Therefore, it is fitting that appropriate recognition be accorded to our fellow citizens who have contributed significantly to the development of our beloved country.”
Ms. Mottley stressed that the development had been achieved through the efforts of “unselfish persons”, who had made great personal sacrifices in giving service to Barbados.
She underscored the importance of creating an environment that “secures a place for persons, who, by their efforts, have inspired others to high levels of achievement”.