The deep historical ties between Barbados and Panama will be further explored when three Barbadian tour groups join Panamanians in celebrating the 100th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Panama Canal.
In 1904, the American-owned Isthmanian Canal Commission (ICC) reopened the project to build the Panama Canal and began to recruit actively in the British West Indies. Between 1904 and the opening of the canal on August 15, 1914, approximately 60,000 Barbadians migrated to Panama on a trek that promised
The Panamanian experience is often credited with giving impetus to the emergence of a Barbadian middle class, and highlights the power of Barbadians overseas in providing a platform for a “quantum leap in the development of Barbados”.
Radio personality Carol Roberts will team up with the Indar Weir Travel Centre to bring live reports during her morning programme, leading up to August 15.
Students of Combermere School, assisted by Value Vacations, and a group from the Barbados Museum & Historical Society (BMHS), facilitated by Travel House, will tour various places of interest in Panama. Managing director of Indar Weir Travel Centre, Indar Weir, said he had taken groups on tour to Panama in the past, but this trip was special since it coincided with the centennial celebrations.
“We have planned to all lengths to make sure that we get an opportunity to participate in the celebrations there. But generally, the tours are in line with what tour operators do when they go to Panama,” he added.
Meanwhile, education officer at the BMHS, Peggy McGeary, said the activities for the group included a trip into the forest to visit the Embera Indians. They also plan to tour Panama City, visit museums and take in other aspects of Panama’s culture.
Head of the Department of French and Spanish at Combermere School, Nicholas Vaughan, said the purpose of the trip was two-fold –– to enhance the students’ proficiency in Spanish and to expose them to other aspects of the country’s culture.
Other activities to commemorate the 100th centennial celebrations include a Centennial Gala Event in which Professor Velma Newton will be honoured on August 15; the world premiere of the film The History Of The Canal on August 13; the unveiling of a memorial aeroplane of COPA Airlines at the Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen, also on August 13; and a Paintings Exhibition Of The Panama Canal from August 5 to October 5.