What king of place is this?
Modern Slave Stories…
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
“The story has its origins, however, in around 1650, when traveller Richard Ligon met a female Amerindian slave in Barbados and returned to England to write A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados, telling of “poor Yarico” who “for her love, lost her liberty”.
It’s a musical. Don’t know what to think about it because I haven’t seen it, but I lost my liberty for love one time. Lost a house too.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s what they are talking about in Yarico.
Jodie’s quotes in the Guardian are interesting because they totally ignore the issue of white historical privilege in Barbados.
Yes… we’re free, but the old boys still control the money and the economy… and where they don’t, the new black political elites are gaining fast. The ordinary man, especially the light skinned mixed-race man, has not progressed in Bim since about 1960. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
“When I was at school in Barbados I did learn about the history of the island, but there was not much sense of a racial problem when I was growing up because it is such a modern island and has people from all over the world coming in and out all the time,” she said. “More than any other of the islands in the Caribbean, it has always been super popular. So when it came to racial conflict, I didn’t really get to see any one incident of it as I grew up.”
Jodie Kidd quoted in the Guardian article, Jodie Kidd brings story of love and slavery to the London stage
There was a time on this rock when governments, both colonial and post-independence, did everything they could to erase every vestige of our origins. It was almost as if some people thought we could progress only if we forgot about the past. What foolishness!
Our government left gorgeous plantation houses and noble public buildings to rot – forgetting (or maybe not forgetting) just who built these structures: slaves and the children of slaves. Not satisfied with destroying historical buildings, they also let the humidity, salt air and rot take care of books, letters and historical objects. The destruction was so long term and widespread that it simply must have been deliberate.
It is true to say that much of Barbados history has faded away irrecoverably – gone forever.
So it is that when I see a tangible bit of Bajan history I get excited, because I know that with a little bit of work on the internet I will discover so much more about this piece of soil where my navel string is buried.
Today’s discovery is offered by Scotia Philately – a letter to Medical Doctor W. W. Somerville of the 69th Regiment in Barbados, West Indies postmarked September 2, 1855 at Plymouth and stamped received in Barbados on September 21, 1855. That’s nineteen days from England to Barbados, a distance of 3504 nautical miles for an average speed of 7.5 knots postal stamp to postal stamp. Meaning that the Royal Mail sailing vessel probably averaged over 10 knots on the journey. Clippers (fast sailing vessels on the mail and opium runs) could easily make 13 or 14 knots and maintain that speed in all but the worst weather.
Who was Doctor Somerville and why was the 69th Regiment of Foot in Barbados? (or “Barbadoes” as it was then called.)
Slavery Reparations have never interested me because I know that whatever we receive will never be enough for the victims class, and that anything we do receive will be stolen by the political class. No reparations will ever touch my hand. No amount of reparations will provide a steady flow of clean water from my pipes or establish a modern sustainable economy.
Britain could pay us 10 billion pounds and not one new hospital bed or surgery will appear at that slum we call the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – or anywhere else. A trillion pounds will not erase the arrogance of government employees towards citizens, nor will it cure the ‘Island Time’ syndrome that makes foreign business investors run like mad from the Caribbean once they get over the rum, sun and sand.
Barbados is incapable of receiving and delivering reparations honestly and effectively for the general good.
Whose fault is that? I’m not sure, but I do know that at one time Barbados was the driving economic force and secure military base that built and maintained the British Empire.
Whatever Tristram Hunt has written in his new book Ten Cities that Made an Empire, he’s probably 50% correct and 50% nonsense. After all this time, who can say?
But I look forward to the read.
Ten Cities that Made an Empire by Tristram Hunt, review: ‘enthralling and compelling’
A fascinating account of 10 cities that were shaped by, and helped shape, British rule
Bridgetown, Barbados has always held a particular appeal for the British. The legacy of empire is all too apparent, and is, indeed, exploited for tourists. The series of historical attractions based on Plantation House present, as Tristram Hunt writes, “a sepia version of the colonial past”. Nostalgia for cricket, rum cocktails and the old plantation lifestyle trumps the blood-drenched history of slavery on the island. Bridgetown is a modern city, but the colonial memory continues to reverberate. Continue reading
Qatar is a slave-nation in the 21st Century
Qatar, of course, is dependent upon slave labour to keep its economy and building boom rolling along. The Qatar slavery horror stories are legion. There is no question, no argument against, no misunderstanding. Qatar is a slave state in the 21st Century. (However, being a Muslim nation, Qatar knows that contemporary slavery is both sanctioned and ordered by the Koran, along with abductions and forced-conversions to Islam.)
So let there be no misunderstanding about this either: The descendants of Bajan slaves are happy to do business with modern day slavers.
Money trumps human rights on this rock, and we’ll do anything to get more.
Slavery reparations for Bajans? What a joke. Will Qatar slaves come after Barbados some day for reparations? As we’ve said here from the beginning: Spend any reparations payments to free current slaves.
There are more slaves today than at any other time in history; yet Barbados is about to shake hands with Qatar slave owners.
“Qatar is a slave state in the 21st Century…”
“I am trapped here. The main office will not give me back my passport…”
“How many people are going to have to die so that this World Cup can take place?”
The Guardian: Qatar’s World Cup Slaves
“The evidence uncovered by the Guardian is clear proof of the use of systematic forced labour in Qatar. In fact, these working conditions and the astonishing number of deaths of vulnerable workers go beyond forced labour to the slavery of old where human beings were treated as objects.
There is no longer a risk that the World Cup might be built on forced labour. It is already happening.”
Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International
It is truly disturbing to think that Bajan mothers murdered their own newborns as an act of rebellion to deny human slave assets to their captors and owners.
We know that as the Atlantic slave trade and supplies of new slaves dried up due to the efforts of abolitionists, plantation owners in the Caribbean and USA placed the emphasis on breeding new stock. The record is clear that some plantation owners thought it their right to impregnate their slaves with white blood for ‘better product’.
It is difficult to think that captive human beings were treated as property to this extent, but that was the reality of the day. The master had all rights, the female slave had none.
As you read the following article, just remember this…
There are more slaves held in captivity today than at any other time in history.
The obvious response to slave infanticide is to conceptualize it as an act of desperation, a sad act, or an act of altruism, in the sense that it was intended to save enslaved children from a life of hard labor, degradation, and physical, sexual, and mental abuse.
But what if slave infanticide, in all its horror, was an expression of resistance? To conceptualize it this way places agency back in the hands of the slave women who killed their children, because it assumes that their decision was actively, discursively antagonistic and insurrectionary.
Homosexuals executed in Iran, Blacks lynched in USA
Human Rights are Human Rights: whether denied upon skin colour or sexual orientation
by Sean Macleish
Caribbean Alliance for Equality
Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, the current chair of CARICOM (Caribbean Community Secretariat) along with other Caribbean leaders who are continuing to cultivate and place a high discount rate on the lives of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens are helping to mortgage the region’s future with atrophy, by retarding the growth of their nations in exchange for power by majority rule. Social inclusion, equality and open diversity foster environments where everyone can bring their best to the table and feel valued without incurring the costs associated with repression.
In 2014, 12 of the 15 CARICOM member states still criminalize homosexuality.
Suriname is one of the remaining member states that has legalized homosexuality since 1869. Social economics has many costs and the archaic philosophy of legalized oppression is counterproductive to investing in a nation’s greatest asset; it’s people. In February, referring to the costs of homophobia, President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim stated, “Institutionalized discrimination is bad for people and societies. Widespread discrimination is also bad for economies. There is clear evidence that when societies enact laws that prevent productive people from fully participating in the workforce, economies suffer.” Continue reading
“Mr. Maverick was desirous to have a breed of Negroes, and therefore seeing she would not yield by perswasions to company with a Negro young man he had in his house…”
… from John Josselyn as recounted in Two Voyages to New England, published 1674
One story of millions
by West Side Davie
“Cumba” was her name. She died a slave in Romford, England in April, 1668 – the property of John Burch and his wife Margaret of Hogsty Plantation. (I’m not sure whether Captain John Burch of Barbados is also referred to and is the same as Colonel John Burch of Barbados, but this family history and other websites seem to say it is the same man. I remain open for correction!)
Today, Cumba is remembered as Havering’s first black resident in an excellent article by Professor Ged Martin just published in the Romford Recorder:
It was 350 years ago this year that a fabulously rich couple, John and Margaret Burch, arrived in Romford.
They’d made their money in Barbados, exploiting slave labour to produce the bonanza crop: sugar.
In 1664, they retired to England, buying Romford’s biggest estate, Gidea Hall, then usually called Giddy Hall. The mansion, demolished in 1930, stood just east of Raphael Park.
Madam Burch, as she was fawningly called, brought her personal maidservant from Barbados, the ultimate status symbol.
Cumba was Havering’s first black resident. A slave, a piece of property, Cumba survived the English climate just four years.
But when she died, in April 1668, somebody had the humanity to record her name in the register of Romford’s St Edward’s church. “Cumber, a ffemale Blackamore servant from Guyddy Hall, buried.”
Today, “blackamore” is an offensive term. But in 1668, when “black” was used to describe complexion, it was an attempt to identify Cumba with some dignity. The double “ff” indicated a capital letter.
… read the entire article Cumba: Havering’s first black resident remembered on the 350th anniversary of her arrival.
We know very little about Cumba, but we still know far more about her than we do about millions of other people who were enslaved with her and since. We know about the times in which she lived, and we also know a little about the socially-condoned cruelty of slave owners. I believe that much of history has been ‘cleansed’, but not all of it. What passed for ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ when Cumba lived gives us some idea of her personal circumstances, what she probably saw even if she was not herself subject to all of the abuses. We simply don’t know the details of her life, but we know the times.
So to learn more about Cumba, we will talk of the people around her: the powerful elites of society at the time… Continue reading
Queen Elizabeth’s cousin sells 12 bottles from secret stash for US$127,555.65
In 1780 on the island of Barbados, unknown slaves without names distilled and barreled rum for their master: Edward Lascelles, the first Earl of Harewood. The rum was shipped to jolly old England in barrels where it was bottled and tucked away in a cellar at the family mansion… where it sat for 231 years before being discovered. Wuhloss! It wouldn’t have lasted a week ’bout my home!
Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, the Earl (later promoted to Viscount Lascelles) owned some 22 plantations and 2,947 slaves in the Caribbean – including Lascelles House near Holetown.
All these years later his descendant, David Lascelles, 8th Earl of Harewood, is the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and great-grandson of King George V.
Mount Gay Rum owns the Barbados estate.
What did the 8th Earl of Harewood do with all that money from the sale of slave rum? Good for him… he gave the money back to the Caribbean people – to the Geraldine Connor Foundation.
Good for the Queen’s cousin!
But he only gave back the money from 12 bottles of rum.
We still waiting for the money from the sale of the family mansion: bought an paid for with the blood and tears of thousands of slaves.
Further Information about this event:
(click photo for large)
1 – Black skin. Tall 172 sm. Weight 60 kilos.
2 – Castrated (excellent for working with a family) you can check him with a doctor our yourself if you have experience in the matter.
3 – [His] health is quite undamaged and has no imperfections.
4 – Age 26 years.
5 – Religion muslim and [he is] obedient and will not disobey you except in what displeases God. Please, the matter is very serious and is not a joke.
The trans-Atlantic slave trade ended a few years back. The Muslim slave trade continues because it is authorised and instructed in the Koran.
A few wonderful pieces from our old friend Ian Bourne at The Bajan Reporter.
That man has a nose for news and a belly for a story. A pity he’s not in charge of CBC’s news department…
“Your Condo does not impress me much!”
Money dictates the quality of life that you live, and without money you cannot survive: that in itself is a true statement. Unfortunately, a lot of times we make less money -even though we might do the same quality, and quantity of work as a man in the workplace.
This then leads you to perhaps marry for stability, to ensure that you will live comfortably. Money does not make you happy, so don’t ever throw in the towel and settle with a man just because he is financially stable. Great if you find, and love someone who is wealthy and you two have decided to make a life together. However, succumbing to fear and marrying for money while you stare at your dwindling bank account is not the answer.
Read the entire article at The Bajan Reporter: “Your Condo does not impress me much!“
Belle – Illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral
Based on a true story, Belle follows the story of an Dido Elizebeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Royal Navy Admiral Sir John Lindsay and a Jamaican slave woman known only as Belle. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing.
“Dido Elizabeth Belle was born around 1761. She was baptised in 1766 at St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury. Her father, John Lindsay, nephew of the Earl of Mansfield, was at the time a Royal Navy captain on HMS Trent, a warship based in the West Indies that took part in the capture of Havana from the Spanish in 1762. It has previously been suggested that her mother was an enslaved African on board one of the Spanish ships captured during this battle, but the dates are inconsistent and there is no reason why any of the Spanish ships (which were immobilised in the inner habour) would have had women on board when they were delivered up on the formal surrender of the fortress. Dido’s baptism record, however, shows that she was born while Lindsay was in the West Indies and that her mother’s name was Maria Belle.”
Thanks to Ian Bourne for pointing us to a new movie about this fascinating bit of Caribbean history.
Why yes, of course.
No doubt about it.
Just so long as we don’t mention that China has the world’s largest organisation of slave camps.
Shhhhh! Nevermind that awful news if they are going to give us money and gifts!
“Even more gruesome and largely ignored are the mobile execution vans that harvest prisoners organs on the way to planes to be shipped and sold on the black market to the highest bidder.”
Ambassador Xu Hong Meets with Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force
(From Chinese Embassy in Barbados）
On August 14, Chinese Ambassador Xu Hong met with Colonel Quintyne, Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF). They exchanged views on how to deepen bilateral relations with a focus on cooperation between Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Barbados Defence Force.
Colonel Quintyne extended his gratitude to the Chinese side for the technical support and personnel training provided to the BDF. He pointed out that in recent years, the military cooperation between Barbados and China developed smoothly with fruitful progress. He hoped to strengthen the cooperation and exchange between the two militaries thus deepening the friendship between Barbados and China.
Ambassador Xu spoke highly of the effort made by the BDF to promote bilateral military cooperation. He expressed the willingness to work together with Barbadian side to further widening the scope of military cooperation with the aim of raising bilateral relations to a new level.
And now for the counter story…
Is this really about Slavery Reparations?
I really haven’t figured out why the bankrupt European Union keeps giving Barbados hundreds of millions of dollars in grants, forgivable loans and other free money. It’s so frequent that the EU has a standard press release wording that they just drop the amount and the reasons into – complete with the standard quote from the Charge d’Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean: “This clearly demonstrates the continued commitment by the European Union to supporting Barbados, especially in these difficult times of a sustained global financial and economic crisis…”
Go ahead, Google that phrase and you’ll see what I mean!
Nor have I figured out what our leaders do with all that free money. Remember when former Prime Minister Owen Arthur balked when the European Union wanted proof of what we did with the sugar money from the EU?
Why does the EU keep giving us money, and why won’t our leaders account for what they do with the money to either the EU or the citizens?
As Father Dubin used to say, “It’s a mystery my son.”
Should Barbados look to Germany and the Holocaust camps for guidance?
by John Slapp
I have visited Barbados many times over the past years and each visit is preceded by excitement at the prospect of reacquainting myself with friends made in previous years and the beauty of the island.
This excitement is, however, tempered by the knowledge that Barbados has denied and neglected its history, both architectural and human, in favour of the “Luxury Dollar”.
Walking around Bridgetown one is struck by the number of neglected historical buildings left to rot and decay. Just one example of many is the Eye Hospital. There are many more. They are treated no better than the eyesores of empty hotels along the Boardwalk.
The Garrison area is one shining light, however Needhams Point, with its guns rusting in the sea, is now a part of the Hilton, for goodness sake! An example of the Dollar being more important than Heritage. It also seems that the Gun Collection in St Ann’s Fort is a national secret if direction signs are anything to go by.
Driving around the island one comes across many old sugar mills and boiling houses. Maybe I am at fault but I have yet to see one restored to give visitors an idea of what they were like. A few days of cane crushing at Morgan Lewis is commendable but hardly inspiring.
I could go on and on, but I think that you get the point.
Barbados has a history. Much as we all wish it had been otherwise the fact remains that slavery, both white and black, is a major part of this history. Continue reading