Category Archives: History

Australia shows why we need a Referendum over Barbados Republic

Australia RepublicBarbados Republic

“A proposed law: To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.”

submitted by The Beach Doctor

Back in the mid 1990s there was a huge movement in Australia to dump Queen Elizabeth and become a republic with a President as head of state.

Aussies and the world saw a republic as a done deal for the Centenary of Australian Federation in 2001 – the same as Barbados Prime Minister Stuart’s plan to celebrate 50 years of Bajan nationhood by establishing a republic.

And who wouldn’t blame the Aussies for wanting to dump the Crown? The country was established first as a penal colony, slavery really, with all the usual brutality and racial and class divisions.

But many Australians didn’t want to leave the decision to their Parliament as had been proposed “based upon the jubilant mood of the time”. Australians insisted on a referendum, and in the end the people said ‘No’ and voted to retain the Queen as Head of State.

The divisions in the population looked like this, says Wikipedia… (Australian 1999 Referendum)   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, History, Politics

40 years ago Barbados teenager Marcia Rollins went to England to become a nurse

Black Caribbean nurses made a huge difference in England’s National Health Service

Marcia Rollins is from Barbados. She always wanted to be a nurse but opportunities were limited on the island so when the UK needed new recruits she joined thousands of other Caribbean people and left for the ‘mother country’.

“It was always my dream to be a nurse. England was seen as the mother country and there were opportunities in England moreso than here in Barbados to do nursing.

I was terrified but full of hope for the future…

My plans were to go there and study nursing and get back to Barbados as fast as I could.”

Marcia was just 19 when she arrived in England and intended to return to Barbados soon after her training finished. She actually ended up spending 40 years in the NHS making a unique and valuable contribution as a Registered Nurse and gaining a diploma in health care. She retired in 2008 and moved back to Barbados.

“It was always my dream to be a nurse. England was seen as the mother country and there were opportunities in England moreso than here in Barbados to do nursing.

I was terrified by full of hope for the future…

My plans were to go there and study nursing and get back to Barbados as fast as I could.

You had things that weren’t very nice – Get back to the Jungle. Take your black hands off me. Things like that were said to you. To be quite honest, I didn’t let things like that bother me…”

Then I had a family… two small children and going back to Barbados was a far dream. I have no regrets. I consider England to be a University of Life.”

Read the entire story at Black Union Jack

Also from the same era, see BFP’s Bajan Ralph Straker passes in the UK – One of thousands recruited from the Caribbean by London Transport in the 1950s

 

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Immigration, Race

Sheri Veronica – As school children in Barbados we were taught to hate Jamaicans

Sheri Veronica Barbados

“Respect Jamaicans”

by Sheri Veronica

THE TRUTH IS, we were taught to hate JAMAICANS.  As a little girl in primary school, our teacher taught us that Barbados was the jewel of the Caribbean.  We were taught that any mad/crazy slave or any slave who could not take instructions, were shipped off to Jamaica.  This was the mandate, I supposed in my little head (or was that taught to me also), of every Caribbean island.  Send the mad and **aggressive slaves to Jamaica.  Then as time passed and you start to see clearer, meet people and question things, you soon realize that the insurgent slaves were the brave ones.  They were the men and women who could not be broken…

… continue with a good read at Sheri Veronica’s blog

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Jamaica, Race, Slavery, Sugar

Reader asks for assistance in planning a Barbados Red Legs tour

Barbados Red Legs

Dear Barbados Free Press

I will be coming to Barbados in February, 2015. I’ve always wanted to visit as I have an interest in the Red Leg people and the history of the Irish who were sent to Barbados by Oliver Cromwell.  I hope to take back a tour group with me in 2016 to show them the island with particular emphasis on its Irish history. I’m wondering if there are any locations that I could visit that might have some connection with this history and with the descendants of the Red Legs.

(Name withheld by editor)

AN ESTIMATED 50,000 “white slaves” were transported from Ireland to Barbados between 1652 and 1657. Having succeeded in recruiting Irish men to die in the services of France, Spain, Poland and Italy, Cromwell turned his attention to others – men and women press-ganged by soldiers, taken to Cork and shipped to Bristol where they were sold as slaves and transported to Barbados.

… see BFP’s article Irish Times: Most Barbados Red Legs have bad or no teeth.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, History, Slavery

Independence Day: Emera wants 100% of Barbados Light & Power

BFP:

Four years after Emera Incorporated bought majority interest in Barbados Light and Power, we look back to our 2010 Independence Day article where we asked…

“Should we sell Barbados Light & Power to the Canadians?

Good for Barbados, or selling the family silver?”

All these years later… what do you think folks? Did we do the right thing selling BL&P to the Canadians?

Originally posted on Barbados Free Press:

Should we sell Barbados Light & Power to the Canadians?

Good for Barbados, or selling the family silver?

by West Side Davie with Cliverton

Independence Day is a fitting time for Bajans to consider the difference between dreams and goals, and the difference between blind celebration and a grounded perspective on reality. For too long we have celebrated November 30th with much flag waving and remembrance of the heady days of the 1960’s – but little serious consideration given to where the good ship Barbados is sailing now and how the machinery is holding up.

We dance and sing about how we love the ship and what a good ship it is (and it is too!) – but I fear we’ve been putting off some needed maintenance and refitting because it’s easier and cheaper to slap on a coat of paint and say “It still looks good!”

Indeed, it could…

View original 609 more words

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Looking ahead to Barbados 50th Independence Celebration

barbados wave flag

In plenty and in time of need…

For all our current economic problems and the failures of a corrupt political class to provide principled, unselfish leadership over the decades, Barbados on our 48th National Independence Day is still a country and a society to be envied.

Millions of people from countries around the world would get down on their knees and thank God if they were blessed enough to have had their navel string buried in Bajan soil. Stand still anywhere on this island for ten minutes and take it all in: even inner B’town’s worst is only a short walk from the salt water and beauty.

And isn’t that the truth? No matter where you are in Barbados you are only a minute or two from beauty the likes of which people from other countries spend thousands of dollars to see and experience for a few days.

The beauty of these fields and hills though, is nothing compared with the beauty of our people, our children and the ordinary folk who give Bim its character and reality.

It is true that we should be worried about the excesses of celebration for lowered achievements and about some of the youth whose activities could not be more ‘un-Bajan’ – but despite these things, can you not ask for assistance from a stranger on this island and still receive a helping hand? Of course you can!

Try that in New Jersey, or Soho. Been there, “have the t-shirt” as they say.

We naturally focus upon the decades, and our 48th anniversary is an uninspiring number compared to our 45th or our 40th. Remember our 30th? Remember the rains and no one cared? Soaked or not the party went on for three days. A bit different from these last two days, yes?

Admittedly things back then looked a bit brighter economically, but it was more than that: the mood was about us as a nation, about our wonderfully rosy future. About us as a people.

A short two years from now and we will be facing our 50th year as an independent, fully sovereign nation.

The question we should be asking ourselves now is not “How shall we celebrate our 50th?”, but “What do we want Barbados to be on our 50th, and what should we do to reach that goal?”

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Filed under Barbados, History

Trinidad Islamic Coup – July 27, 1990

Nothing has changed.

Strike that.

The 2014 Muslim Jihad is much, much worse around the world.

But the 1990 Trinidad Jihad was a warning.

 

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Filed under History, Human Rights, Religion