The Cabinet of Barbados has agreed to pardon persons whose names and reputations were sullied during the 1937 “democratic uprising”.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made the announcement during the recent debate of the 2018-2019 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.
“A large, by no means negligible, number of people have had their names and their reputations sullied as a result of what happened here in Barbados in 1937. People were thought of as colliding with the law and had to go to court . . . faced magistrates and attracted to themselves criminal convictions,” Prime Minister Stuart explained.
He said just as his Government had seen it fit to give ex-convicts the opportunity, through new legislation, to have their criminal records expunged, they also saw the importance of clearing the names of those who fought for the institutions on which Barbados now relies.
“. . . . And if we’ve been so sympathetic to them [“those in pursuit of perverse personal objectives”] . . . why shouldn’t we be sympathetic to the people, who in 1937, by their action, ushered in all the institutions upon which we rely today for Barbados’ stability and development – trade unions, mass political parties – the two most prominent institutions.
“We’ve called it the riots, we called it the revolt but the further away we have got from it, the more inclined we have been to describe it as a democratic uprising . . . . So people like Menzies Chase, Israel Lovell, Ulric Grant and Mortimer Skeete, all of these people, who, the further we get away from the 1930s, emerged as democratic activists, their names and reputations have been cleared,” Stuart told the sitting, adding, that they were no longer to be seen as criminal elements “but as genuine forerunners, genuine harbingers of the democracy which we enjoy in Barbados today.”
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