A modest gathering of about 100 people turned out in Golden Square, The City Tuesday in observance of the 1937 rebellion.
However, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, who was joined by two of her 12 Barbados Labour Party (BLP) colleagues, took particular issue with the absence of Government officials from Tuesday’s ceremony, marking A Day of National Significance.
In fact, when it was her turn at the podium, from which nine other presenters spoke, Mottley assured that if the BLP were to assume office following the next general election, the Day of National Significance would take pride of place on the official calendar.
“I remain astonished that in spite of an earlier administration designating today as A Day of National Significance we do not have the officers of State or those who lead this country present,” Mottley told her audience, which in addition to Opposition Members of Parliament Trevor Prescod and Edmund Hinkson, also included members of the trade union movement, foreign diplomats, Pan-Africanists and members of the Rastafarian Community.
Mottley, who was also among those laying wreaths at the foot of the Clement Payne statue in Golden Square, compared Tuesday’s attendance with that which usually obtains for the annual Remembrance Day Service, honouring those who lost their lives in the two World Wars, pointing that the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Commissioner of Police, the Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, the Chief Justice and members of the Judiciary were usually present for Remembrance Day.
“While I do not seek to cast anything negative about the continuation of that Remembrance ceremony for those who lost their lives in the two world wars, I find it amazing that those who lost their lives in the 1937 rebellion and those who did not lose their lives, but who fought against injustice and oppression and deprivation, will not have the honour of those officers associating with what has been officially designated by Cabinet as A Day of National Significance,” lamented Mottley.
She contended that this “double message” was wrong and needed urgent correction because of the message it sends to the island’s youth.
“We have to begin to ask ourselves, when will we lay claim to the path that has brought us here safely? And when will we allow it to help us in the biggest mission of the second generation of independence, which is the emancipation of our people’s minds such that they can fight and move forward freely,” said Mottley during the event, which also included a cultural presentation.