A local historian says the Mia Mottley-led Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) should apologize to Barbadians for attempting to block this country’s path to independence close to 51 years ago.
In a stinging indictment, Trevor Marshall claimed that the BLP, under the leadership of its founding father Sir Grantley Adams had vehemently opposed, almost to the point of violence, Errol Barrow’s bid to remove Barbados from under the cloak of colonial rule in 1966.
He is therefore suggesting that Mottley should seek forgiveness on behalf of the party, as well as her own family, since her grandfather Ernest Deighton Mottley, leader of the now defunct Barbados National Party (BNP), had also placed stumbling blocks in the way of the country’s independence aspirations.
“Sir Grantley and Mr Barrow did not lock arms and walk lovingly towards independence. They [the BLP] conveniently forget that they, along with the planter class, objected,” the historian said, adding that grandfather Mottley had “fought strongly against independence”.
Marshall was delivering the ruling Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) lunchtime lecture at the party’s George Street headquarters today on the topic The Legacy of the Father of Independence The Rt Excellent Errol Walton Barrow.
However, he took a turn in the Opposition, charging that both the BLP and the BNP aligned themselves with the white planter class to create fear by spreading propaganda about Barrow’s motives for gaining independence.
“People used to say, ‘you see that man Barrow, he is the devil’ . . . [and] if Mr Barrow go to independence he would go to every old woman’s house and take their money for himself.
“The propaganda was also spread that he would take people’s money out of Barclays Bank. This is what the people from the Barbados Labour Party [were] telling people – that Barrow would take their land and money out of their pockets,” the former head of the Department of History at the Barbados Community College said.
Before a small gathering of DLP faithful, he also suggested that Barrow was the only Caribbean leader to face such strong internal opposition to independence, while warning members of the party he founded that they should not diminish his accomplishment by buying into the “misconception that the independence journey was a cake walk.
“The Barbados Labour Party and the Barbados National Party and whites kicked up against independence and let me tell you something when Barrow went for independence whites left Barbados,” he said, suggesting that racism was also at play.
“ We did not go hand in hand towards independence. It was a vicious fight. People will try to tell you that independence was no big thing because Mr Barrow did not have to fight the British, but he fought Sir Grantley Adams, he fought Ernest Deighton Mottley, he fought the [activist group known as the] Under-40s, he fought the whites.
“No other Caribbean country had that. In every other Caribbean country, the opposition was in lock step and agreement.
“This is the only country in the Caribbean that the opposition boycotted all of the activities leading to independence. The Opposition opposed viciously, vehemently and violently. It came to the point where people felt like it was a fight,” he stressed.
His comments come amid active campaigning for general elections which are constitutionally due by the middle of next year.
Efforts by Barbados TODAY to reach the Opposition Leader for a response to Marshall’s claims were unsuccessful.