People's Uprising, not 1937 riots


Added 28 July 2011


IT IS misleading to refer to the social upheaval that took place in this country 74 years ago as the 1937 riots. Pan Africanist and leader of the Clement Payne Movement, David Comissiong, said those events should be referred to as the 1937 People’s Uprising. Comissiong, who has been in the forefront of championing the cause of Clement Payne, who was the catalyst for the civil disturbance that would revolutionize Barbados, said that to call the disturbances riots was a disservice to the efforts of the freedom fighters of the time. “To say riots would be to downgrade them, not to give them the proper place of prominence in our history,” Comissiong said at a ceremony on Tuesday morning at Golden Square in The City, acknowledging the watershed event. Comissiong spoke about the importance and the role of the Barbados Workers’ Union, which evolved out of the struggle and was formed four years after, in 1941. “If we reflect on the road that we have travelled since 1937, we have made significant progress in many ways. Clement Payne, Israel Lovell and Darnley Alleyne will be proud of something called the Barbados “People rose up in 1937 and it led to the passing of a trade union act in 1939 and the establishment of the Barbados Workers’ Union in 1941,” he said. Comissiong said much work still had to be done to realize the vision of 1937. Pan Africanist and social commentator Reverend Gordon Matthews added that Barbados at this time needed a vibrant Government and a liberating trade union. Matthews, 85, said Barbados was in danger of being recolonized. “This country must be awakened to save trouble. There is much to do on behalf of this country that we love.” (MK)  

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