For the first time ever, the City of Brampton in Canada is officially recognising Barbados’ Independence Day with a proclamation.
The proclamation was made by Mayor Patrick Brown who said that on November 30, the city will celebrate the contributions and achievements of the Bajan community in Brampton and across the nation.
The proclamation read: “The City of Brampton will fly the national flag of Barbados on November 30, 2020, to honour and celebrate Barbados’ Independence Day.”
The initiative was spearheaded by Ryan Elcock, a Bajan who heads the Brampton Community & Economic Empowerment Network (BCEEN). BCEEN is dedicated to fostering strategic, friendly and economic relations between the City of Brampton and Barbados.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, there will be no official traditional flag-raising ceremony and social gathering to mark Barbados’ Independence Day. However, there has been no shortage of virtual events for Bajans in the diaspora to enjoy and be part of.
From last Monday, Toronto has been in another lockdown in an attempt to turnaround the rising number of COVID-19 cases there.
The Barbados flag will still be raised at the Consulate in Toronto and at City Hall, but with no fanfare or pageantry.
Barbados’ Consul General in Toronto r told Barbados TODAY that at least one virtual event in recognition of Barbados’ Independence has already been staged. She said the consulate was intent on making sure the island’s 54th anniversary of Independence was still celebrated, notwithstanding the COVID-19 challenges.
“The Barbadian community here has embraced the technology. It started back with the launch of We Gatherin in 2019 watch party which was streamed and then again in January this year. So those in Edmonton, Nova Scotia and Montreal would have been involved. Barbadians throughout Canada have had an opportunity to participate virtually and there has been great reception of these events as well,” the envoy said.
Marville-Carter said the traditional ceremony and gathering after the flag-raising ceremony will be missed, especially by the older folk who usually come out to take part. There is usually a fare of Bajan culture, music and delights afterwards at the consulate where people gather, socialise and reminisce about Barbados.
“I would still like to produce a video that will be able to capture some of the ceremony of the flag-raising and to simply commemorate the occasion so that persons can still feel like they have participated in the flag-raising. I know it means a lot to Bajans who live here, especially the older Barbadians,” Marville-Carter said.
Canada has an hour slot for tomorrow’s virtual event, We Still Gatherin Barbados Virtual. During that segment, three Bajan-Canadians will be honoured.
“We will be hosting an hour and we will be showcasing everything Canadian-Bajan and everything Bajan-Canadian. There will be citations for three Bajan-Canadians and we will be showcasing talent from Canada and the diaspora. There is a section where the diaspora will get a chance to tell the world how they think they can contribute to the development of Barbados from where they are,” Marville-Carter said.
The consulate has produced and broadcast a series of Fu De Love Uh Bim episodes which feature all things Bajans.
Last weekend, a fundraising virtual event called Barbados Strong Together We Stand was staged. The event, which cost $100 per ticket, normally attracts around 400 patrons. The cyber event attracted about 188 viewers. However, it still managed to raise $10 000 which is about the same amount as last year.
The funds from the event are being used for a donation to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), scholarships for Barbadian students or students of Barbadian descent, and a disaster relief fund. Local artistes Shaquille and Jus D were part of the night’s entertainment.
There will be other events throughout the weekend, along with Saturday’s mega We Still Gatherin.
On Friday, November 27, the Barbados Canadian Association of Calgary will stage a virtual concert. The event, A Touch of Bim, will be broadcast. Top acts such as RPB, Edwin, Lil Rick, Biggie Irie, TC, Hypasounds, Fadda Fox, Lead Pipe & Saddis, Marzville, Marvay, Holla Bak, Nikita and DJ Puffy are on the cards.
On Sunday, November 29, the 54th Anniversary of Independence Service in Toronto will be held at 4 p.m. Senator Rev Dr John Rogers will deliver the sermon virtually from Barbados.