“Endless Death Threats” Against Barbados Author – We Believe It!


HISTORIAN PROFESSOR HILARY BECKLES has revealed for the first time that he wrote the first edition of his book: The History Of Barbados, “in the midst of endless death threats”.

The principal of the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill Campus made this disclosure on Thursday night at the launch of the second edition of the book, which was originally published in 1990…

…”We were told we were manufacturing history; we were told we were racist,” stated Beckles, explaining how his position on Barbadian history was received at that time.

…In the late 1980s, he was embroiled in public controversy over what he termed the economic disenfranchisement of Barbados’ majority black population, fiercely criticising a number of local companies for excluding Blacks from their boardrooms.

… read the entire article at The Nation News (link here).

Actually, Professor Beckles’ book is titled “A History of Barbados – From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State” and to read it is to understand why there is always a racial undercurrent and class-consciousness about everything in contemporary Barbados.

To read it is also to understand that while we may be coming up on 40 years as a nation, it will take a lot longer than that to establish a political morality where duty to one’s fellow citizens is more important than the achievement and maintenance of political power at any cost.

Piggies At The Trough should read Professor Beckles’ book again some fifteen years after it was first published – if only to remind themselves of the noble intents that caused them to seek public office in the first place.



Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Island Life

14 responses to ““Endless Death Threats” Against Barbados Author – We Believe It!

  1. honeybee

    Why and from whom did Dr. Beckles believe he was receiving these death threats?

  2. Hants

    All Bajans should read this book and read it.

    Honeybee. Isn’t it obvious?

  3. Jupiter

    I really don’t care to read hilary beckles’ book nor see his play since I believe he is an opportunist and a turncoat.

    He like owen seymour are both trying to leave a legacy whether they have to force it down their respective constituents throat.

    All his concern for the poor black man is history,just like the course he teaches or used to teach at Cave Hill.

  4. BFP

    Jupiter, will you please expand upon your comments?

    What is it exactly about Beckles’ view of history or his methods that you disagree with?


  5. Spooky

    @ Jupiter, I would read book if I can afford it. But you are absolutely corrct about this>>>>”””he is an opportunist and a turncoat.”””””

  6. Jupiter

    BFP Robert

    You have asked me to expand on my comments about Hilary Beckles.

    I guess like many others who saw the emergence of Hilary beckles as a social activist and a leading light on the hill (cave hill) I expected beckles to be consistent in his arguments and fights for equality in the economic pie and a redressing of social wrongs.

    In the 80’s there were many things wrong, but now in 2006 there are so many injustices facing the society that are worse than the 80’s and need the attention of Prof. Beckles, yet he is silent.

    Instead he has been given a pick by the P.M. as Prinicipal of Cave Hill,and now he speaks either glowingly of the action of this administration,or he says nothing at all.

    Some of the very captains of industries that he has criticised for the very practice he fought against in the Mutual Episode he has now publicly acclaimed as the best thing since slice bread I suppose because they were willing to give large monetary donations to the campus which will bring to fruition his expansionary vision for Cave Hill.

    He and others like him at Cave Hill e.g.George Belle,Frank Alleyne et al who have been ‘included’ have disappointed me greatly.

  7. Jupiter

    BFP Robert

    Looking forward to your comments re above.

  8. ross

    Dr. Beckles was for “economic enfranchisement” so I guess that must be what we are now witnessing. Has it made life better for the majority of Bajans? It definitely has made life better for a minority.

  9. God Bless David

    Hillary Beckles has acheived his objective, hence the absence of the sound and fury in recent years – he has substantially economically and socially enfranchised himself.

  10. M. Use

    Hilary Beckles’ primary concern is not for himself, but for the overall advancement of Barbadian youth and, if he is willing to accept whatever positive benefits are on offer from any quarter, including those whom he has tamed and shamed, to ensure that the best of all gifts – i.e. a first class university education – is made available to as many students as possible from the next generation at UWI, then he should be applauded, not attacked.

    Turncoat? Opportunist? Hilary Beckles will not be remembered in such negative terms. History will record more accurately that he was hailed by your sons and daughters and their children and beyond for his courageous foresight in removing the stumbling blocks which have always prevented less socially advantaged Barbadians from attaining the level of knowledge, experience and confidence required to compete successfully in an increasingly competitive international arts, commercial, industrial and sporting arena.

    Beckles has used a heady amalgam of his knowledge of Barbadian history, considerable academic prowess and intellect, wrapped it in awesomely powerful personal charisma and set off to bite the Achilles heel of Barbadian corporations and government. It was no mean feat to harness these formerly blinkered fatcats into a malleable mass after The Bite. It could have gone the other way, but through steady, unwavering determination and solid principles, Beckles has changed the pattern of education in Barbados forever and has succeeded, with the help of his new best friends, in BUILDING, not destroying, a better path for YOUR future, through your children’s education and subsequently the overall development of our island. Is it not time to offer support to help him mould his plan for our nation and its children, rather than myopically kick at the foundations which this academic genius is finally attempting successfully to cement?

    Hilary Beckles has already proved that he is prepared to put his head above the parapet to support his commendable principles for a better world for our youngsters. If corporate Barbados has been brought to heel and politicians are compliant, and their aid is being channelled exclusively towards the future of the University, should he not be applauded? He is doing what he set out to do, despite the landmines placed by his blinkered detractors and, ultimately, the entire nation and its geographical region will benefit as its infrastructure is strengthened to unprecedented levels from within – all because of the phenomenal vision of one man; stop throwing stones and let this dynamic catalyst get on with it!

  11. Jerome

    Hilary is that you??? hahahaha….

  12. m.use

    Dear Jerome

    No, M. Use is not Hilary! I would have neither the relentless focus nor courage to be Hilary Beckles – and I it would be beneath HIS dignity to pen such a defence. He has not sold out but, understandably, seeks not to bite the hand which feeds the future of his students. Which of his detractors has done as much for Barbados in so short a period?

  13. Lady Anon

    M. Use, well said. There was a point in time that I too was disillusioned by the apparent silence of Hilary Beckles, especially from his earlier radical pronouncements.

    However, I do admit that in his position at the UWI, be is in a position to provide opportunities for us where we can make a name for ourselves. Education is the great equalising factor and Prof. Beckles is ensuring that the black populace of Barbados is able to access that in greater numbers.

    If it means that he has to “get into bed” with those same people that he was so vocal against in the 80’s, then it has to be done…it is where the money is to ensure that our sons and daughters can still get an excellent education. It is under his direction that students can now get an undergrad degree in Banking and Finance and other courses not previously envisaged.

    It is still a long way to go, but cheese on bread, look at where we have come.

  14. M. Use

    Dear Lady Anon

    Thank goodness for common sense and for people like you who have vision. I rarely respond to public debate but injustice rankles. Hilary Beckles has taken on herculean responsibility in terms of seeking new and potent opportunities for his students from previously barren sources as well as for the preservation and protection of our culture, all within the shortest possible time. His plate is already full but his tenacity seems to continue unabated, thankfully; anyone who tries to throw a banana skin beneath his feet will succeed only in sharpening his focus and strengthening his step. Sorry, detractors, you have already lost out. Professor Beckles has already carved his niche very positively in history simply by being its most effective catalyst in modern times and his journey is only just beginning. What have YOU critics done to help YOUR country and its most precious asset: its youth? Stop trying to halt progress and get a life.