I don’t want to get into a perpetual back and forth with your Richard Hoad about Nelson, but I choose to respond just this once. He can have the last word if he wants. I am told by someone who knows him personally that you never win an argument with “RH”, as he now refers to himself.
So my letter, apart from the question at the end, is really intended for his readers.
Mr Hoad is so good at obfuscation that he could do an excellent job as a spokesperson for Donald Trump. One might say of him that he is too clever by half.
His response to my comments on his Nelson piece is a case in point. He purports to believe that the presence of black Bajans in Trafalgar Square at the celebration of the centenary of the battle of Trafalgar is proof that they were supporters of Lord Nelson. This event took place early last century while this island was still in the grip of colonial dominance.
Mr Hoad does not understand the significance of this fact, nor how the black population responded to their circumstances. Most people simply did not let their feelings be known to their masters for good reason. For example, some 50 years later when they were able to vote, they would brag how they “drank up the white man’s rum and voted for labour”.
We still keep things close to our chests. We are all creatures of history and perhaps that is why Mr Hoad does not understand us. That same history makes us understand him, though.
I would like to comment on some other points in his response. I am sorry that he felt the need to deny his English ancestry. I don’t doubt that he can trace a pair of ancestors to France, but of course that did not necessarily make them French. His English name is a giveaway on that score. Hoad or Hoath is an English name meaning a person born on the heath. Of course it could also be a deliberate variation of Hood, which is actually nearer to how the French would have pronounced Hoad, “Monsieur Hood”.
Mr Hoad also put a nice little spin on my point about slaves not caring whether their owners were French or English. He claims we are better off now because the island remained British. Well, that is debatable, but my point was about the slaves then, not about us now.
I end with a question which goes to the heart of this matter. Perhaps Mr Hoad might like to answer this: Why should any people want to honour a man who, given the chance, would have kept them in perpetual slavery?
– JOHN WELLINGTON