The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration has threatened to take to the streets this weekend if the Government fails to remove the statue of Lord Nelson by Sunday when the season of emancipation is to end officially.
General Secretary David Denny on Tuesday served notice of the grouping’s intentions, declaring it was time for Government to honour its word.
He insisted that August 23 had much significance since it was the date proclaimed by UNESCO as the International Day for Remembrance of Slavery and its abolition.
Denny said: “The timing of taking down the statue is as important as the decision to take it down.
“Barbados’ history is part of the foundation of slavery within the British Empire and the Nelson Statue has been standing as a symbol of slavery and of white supremacy (racism) for over 207 years.”
On July 24, then Minister of Culture John King announced in a Government statement that the Cabinet had agreed to the relocation of the statue of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.
He said the decision was made in light of the fact that substantial consultations were carried out about two decades ago by the National Heroes Square and Development Committee and the Committee of National Reconciliation which both recommended that the statue should be relocated.
Ministers also agreed that there should be further public consultations on a new location for the statue, taking into account existing recommendations.
Government said that it is intended that the removal and determination of a new location for the statue would take place during the Season of Emancipation, which ends on August 23 and invited submissions from the public.
Denny maintained that the Mia Mottley administration has no reason to delay given widespread support for the move, charging that the “integrity of the Government was now in question”.
He declared: “It has the authority to move the statue and has been given the power to do so when the Barbados Private Sector Association publicly stated that the statue should be removed. The young people of African descent [have] spoken publicly on the issue of the removal of the statue.
“It is important that the Government take note of our history and remember that the erection of the statue of Lord Nelson in 1813 triggered a revolution by the oppressed enslaved young people three years later in 1816.”
Denny was referring to the Easter 1816 rebellion by enslaved Barbadians, led by Bussa, Nanny Grigg and Joseph Pitt Washington Franklyn.
He cautioned that Government should be “careful not to let the Nelson Statue cause another revolution in Barbados, this time against a Black-led government at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement is gaining momentum around the world”.
Denny contended that the world is watching Barbados and how it intends to treat to the removal of Lord Nelson and that Government was duty bound to keep its word.
“Barbados is now at the centre of the world with our Prime Minister being nominated to chair the World Bank and the IMF from November. How we keep our word to the people on the removal of the Nelson Statue is how our governments will be judged going forward into the 21st Century,” he said.