Annually in the diaspora, Barbadians, their families and friends celebrate Independence with themed galas, church services, dances and cultural shows. Unlike yesteryear, the celebration goes beyond listening to the message from the Prime Minister, reciting the national pledge, honouring the flag, or dancing to Bajan music.
The integration of national colours into attire, wearing pins etc.,is now almost the norm at all events.
For the 51st anniversary of Independence, there were a few new events. Among them, the Spirit of Barbados Gala in Washington D.C, which was a sold-out affair, attracting about 300 persons, and the rescheduled New York premiere of the movie Barrow – Freedom Fighter.
The Spirit of Barbados Gala, a black tie event, was organized by the Barbados Embassy in Washington, in partnership with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Authority Inc. (BTMI) and the Barbados Association in Washington. The 7 p.m fundraiser was held at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Some of the proceeds will be given to the Hurricane Relief Fund of the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA), a regional intergovernmental agency for disaster management in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with primary responsibility for the coordination of emergency response and relief efforts.
Another beneficiary is the Scholarship Programme for Innovation, Science and Engineering (SPISE) of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), a residential summer enrichment opportunity in Barbados at University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus for high school students from across the Caribbean with an interest in science , technology, engineering and maths.
At the gala, two persons were honoured for their work and community contribution: Ms Sally Yearwood, executive director of Caribbean and Central America Action (CCAA) and Dr Cardinal Warde, professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Patrons were treated to international cuisine prepared by award winning chefs from Barbados and live entertainment.
A very pleased Selwin Hart, Barbados’ ambassador to the United States and the OAS, thanked those Barbadians and friends of Barbados who supported the affair. “I am heartened by the display of commitment, support, dedication, and loyalty to Barbados,” he said.
According to a reliable source, another Independence event organized annually by the Council of Barbadian Organizations did not receive the customary support this year as several of the regular patrons and dignitaries did not attend. Barbados 51st was held on Friday, November 24, at the Paerdegat Squadron, Inc, in the Carnarsie area of Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, the New York premiere and special Red Carpet Gala VIP screening of Barrow Freedom Fighter was scheduled to come off last night at Columbia University.
Produced by Dave and Marcia Weekes of Step by Step Productions, the creators of Chrissy and Vigilante, this film is a docu-drama for the entire family about the life and times of the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, National Hero and former Prime Minister of Barbados.
The premiere was sponsored by the New York African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF).
Finally, this Sunday, December 3, there will be a Service of Thanksgiving and Praise for Barbados on its 51st Independence anniversary. Organized by the Office of the Barbados Consul General at New York, the service which starts at 4:30 p.m., will be held at the St Matthew’s and St Luke’s Episcopal Church on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn.