Former Barbados High Commissioner to Britain, Rev Guy Hewitt is blaming those who practice self-serving political expediency for what he sees as a watering down of the legacy of the father of Barbados’ independence, Errol Barrow.
Hewitt said many politicians were only interested in using Barrow as a “campaign gimmick,” and said mention of Barrow’s name no longer occasioned awe.
Delivering Friday’s Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Astor B Watts Lecture, Hewitt charged that such cursory mentions of the man who triggered Barbados’ Independence from Britain and founded the DLP, has prevented his influence from reaching today’s generation.
“There is this unfounded familiarity that some people have. For some it is like folklore and mysticism and it is not about the actual man and what he stood for or what his philosophy was. Errol Barrow is not a campaign slogan or gimmick, he is the Father of Independence and his legacy should be the bedrock upon which the nation builds,” said Hewitt, three weeks out from Barbados 52nd Independence celebrations.
The former diplomat said, “If people try to spin him for political outcomes then to me it is a travesty to his name and his legacy. When we talk about Errol Barrow we are talking about a man who allowed Barbados to realize a large part of its aspirations for Independence.”
He said there should be an effort to repackage Barrow’s legacy as well as other national heroes to make them more relevant to young people.
“Across all national heroes there is not enough attention, education and awareness about whom or what these heroes stood for. Each one of them is like a pillar that this nation was built on. For most people Errol Barrow
Day or Independence is just another day. We do not use it as a day of reflection to understand and pass on to a younger generation,” Hewitt said.
When asked to reconcile his remarks with widespread criticism of his party, Hewitt made it clear he was only concerned with the party’s behaviour moving forward.
“The legacy of Barrow remains a bedrock of this party and of our nation and therefore we need to give it the attention and credit it deserves. The reality is that his legacy remains as pertinent today as it was in 1966. I am therefore looking at Errol Barrow through the expanse of time and I am not going to dwell on what may have happened in a specific occurrence and time. We need to make sure that going forward we are re-acquainted and reunited with the legacy of Barrow,” said Hewitt.