With the attraction of a headline “The Nelson Factor” next to a picture of columnist Peter Wickham, I relaxed and expectantly awaited some additional informed reasoning as to why the statue of Lord Nelson should be removed.
Having already read and seen several plausible reasons advanced by a number of historians, journalists, columnists and letter-writers who were more than convinced that there are places other than Heroes Square where the statue of Lord Nelson can rest peacefully without further urgings, promptings, debates or arguments, I became more than excited.
Rather than present other equally compelling reasons why Nelson should be removed, Peter Wickham served up issues that are irrelevant and unrelated to the statue and its long overdue removal.
Every Barbadian should know that the 11-Plus examination has nothing whatsoever to do with Lord Nelson, other than the fact that Lord Nelson and the examination are characteristically British.
Wickham simply wishes the examination to disappear as much as he wishes the statue of Lord Nelson to disappear from Heroes Square, but their disappearance from the Barbadian landscape will have to be based on different sets of criteria. He, therefore, has to seek and state other convincing reasons that would stimulate the “powers-that-be” into action.
If I may digress just a bit, readers, as well as Wickham, must understand that the British 11-Plus examination was modelled way back in the 1940s after the tripartite system of structured secondary education with three types of secondary education, namely the grammar school, the secondary technical school and the secondary modern school.
Unfortunately, the authorities in Barbados implemented the 11-Plus minus the requisite resources and infrastructure being put in place, therefore nullifying its effectiveness.
I will speak further to the 11-Plus examination on another occasion.
Additionally, Wickham wants to see the cat o’ nine tails along with the statue preserved in the Museum.
Based on Wickham’s profession, he is more informed than most others and should know that there is already an exhibit of the cat o’ nine tails at the Museum.
Futhermore, he should also be aware that in Hobbs and Mitchell (1991) the Barbados Court of Appeal came to the conclusion that whipping with the cat o’ nine tails was degrading and inhumane punishment and therefore unconstitutional.
There is on record a very convincing event that can support the removal of Lord Nelson’s statue.
When the authorities recognised the location of the statue of Sir Garfield Sobers at the Wildey-Sargeant Village roundabout was inappropriate, they wasted no time in relocating it to the precints of the headquarters of cricket at Kensington Oval.
There is no shortage of space that inhibits the relocation of Lord Nelson’s statue.
Several locations have been suggested by various individuals, and some of these include Queen’s Park, the Pierhead, the Museum and Holetown.
– MICHAEL RAY