“It is evident that national elections are not sufficient to guarantee democracy. As we have seen many times over the past year, the people have had to take to the streets in order to resist government corruption and/or oppressive measures…” This is the lead statement in the bulletin for Culture of Peace News Network of March 2017, highlighting what is taking place around the world. Here in Barbados we are also taking to the streets, not only in protest to resist government measures but in prayers against evil.
The ‘Soroptimist International of Barbados’ took to the streets on March 4 in support of Anti-Human Trafficking for ‘International Women Day’. Likewise, the prayer-warriors of Barbados also took to the streets on with their campaign against the importation of illegal guns and drugs into the island’s two main ports and its beaches, as it continues its annual ‘Caribbean Day of Prayer’ under the theme March Forth On Our Knees. On March 11, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) will take to the streets, to protest against the oppressive measures of government. These protests bring to light some of the historic issues and wickedness that is lingering in the woodwork of our past, which are fueling both government measures and the evil that persist in Barbados today. The root causes of these issues must be addressed to enable real changes in our beloved country.
The activities surrounding ‘Black History Month’ have brought to the forefront some of the root causes of the issues. As the activities wind down we should all take note of the message given by Adrian Green in his column in the Sunday Sun of February 26, 2017 entitled Leadership with the right ambition. Mr. Green rightly highlighted the different between a manager and a leader. He informs us that; “the leader is usually the one with a vision – who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells: “Wrong jungle!” But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? ‘Shut up! We’re making progress’.”
There are two other important articles that I have identified to which we should also pay attention as they goes to the heart of corruption and/or oppressive measures. The first of which were on the front page of the Daily Nation of Monday, February 13, 2017, entitled Holetown Festival Kicks Off. In this article it is stated that; “And the centre of attention was “Captain John Powell” – the man who guided the Olive Blossom ashore at the Hole”. Is this true? Was it not Henry Powell who was Captain of the ship that landed in 1627, and his brother John Powell who claimed the island in 1625 for the King? Also in this same article it is stated that 60 Englishmen, 10 Africans and 40 Amerindians arrived on the ship together. Again, is this true? It is well documented that 10 Africans were captured on the high sea from a Portuguese ship. This fact makes sense as Europeans were at war for the colonies. What does not make sense is where did Captain Henry Powell get the 40 Amerindians from, and why would he seek to bring them to Barbados on his first visit, when he had no idea of the population of the island. It is important that we read between the lines as Sir Hilary Beckles did in the second article of Monday, February 20, 2017 in the Daily Nation and entitled Holetown and black holocaust. In this article Sir Hilary noted that “For those of us who celebrates the vision of a just society for our country, there are no words better than “deeply troubling” to describe the image of a member of the fraternity of historians displayed on the Front Page of the Monday, February 13 Daily Nation in period costume depicting in celebratory fashion Captain John Powell, the Englishman who introduced African slave trading and chattel enslavement to Barbados”.
As a Pan-Africanist Human Rights advocate, I fully endorsed the concern of Sir Hilary and would add one other equally disturbing image, which I hope never again to see on the streets of Barbados, which is of a Caucasian man being portrayed as Jesus the Christ as was done during the Easter celebration in 2014. If we are marching against evil, we must appreciate that the historic image of a white Jesus is part of that evil past we have inherited. The images of a white Jesus along with that of Lord Nelson’s statue in the heart of Bridgetown were part of the root causes that underpinned the ideology of white supremacy (Racism).
The United Nations has proclaimed a decade for people of African descent for Recognition, Justice and Development – 2015 to 2024. Let us give future generations a chance of freeing their minds from mental slavery by removing these images from their consciousness.