Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley has described the celebration of Emancipation Day as the single most important item on the Barbadian calendar.
In a speech delivered in Independence Square yesterday morning after “a historic ritual and march from Bussa to … the foot of Errol Barrow’s status” in Bridgetown, the minister made his position clear.
“Unquestionably, in my view, this annual acknowledgement and celebration is perhaps the most important calendar item in Barbados,” Lashley said.
“That is why each year as we celebrate Crop-Over, we say that Crop-Over is part of the Season of Emancipation and not the other way around.
“Emancipation is much more important than Crop-Over … and many of our events of Crop-Over focus on the Season of Emancipation because we believe that … this day that we today observe and reflect on must be continued as one of the important hallmarks of our history.”
Lashley, after speaking of the excellent work done by historians to chronicle the journey the country took during and following slavery, and to ensure that Barbadians understand the brutality their fore parents endured, added:
“Many of the pathways of his history are etched in blood and brutality, … in struggle, but I hope that even today, in the year 2013, as we as a nation grapple with new challenges … that we should not be afraid to confront, we can never [succeed] unless we root our solutions firmly in our proud African ancestry.
“We have to find in our bosom, the strength and courage to rely on those who have gone before us, to find meaningful solutions to today’s problems. And if you understand that history is a cycle of occurrences then you would understand that the challenges facing Barbados … have to be confronted in a manner that brings about lasting solutions.”
Within this context, he added, it was important that Barbados establishes “meaningful travel connections and trade links” with Africa. This, he said, was all part of sensible steps taken by the Government to solve the country’s economic challenges.
At the same time he warned: “It is not an issue that can be shifted away from our psyche by what I call transient movement up and down Barbados under the guise of consultation, without in anyway identifying solutions.
“I hope that Barbadians would never be foolish enough to listen to mouthings that don’t translate themselves into any kind of solutions, any kind of actions that relate to your wellbeing today.” (RRM)