IT’S BUT A few people who get to relive their favourite memories and 85-year-old Maurice Foster, the brains behind the patriotic 1979 human chain link, will get to do that in a big way on Monday.
Foster, one of the founders of the Barbados Aquatic Centre, said that he was really excited to be a part of the union once again but was a little worried about the rains throwing a damper on the event.
He was speaking during a media briefing at his Rockley New Road, Christ Church home about Monday’s restaging of the hand-holding across Barbados.
Foster, a father of four and grandfather of ten, explained that the idea was really birthed out of fear of disunity in Barbados during a time of political fears arising from revolutionary Grenada.
“My reason for getting involved was because at that time Grenada was going communist and I figured that this was an ideal opportunity for Barbadians to join hands, you know – to say that this is our country and we are going to keep it this way,” he said.
Foster explained that another brain behind the project was Rotarian Paul Hadchity who did it more so as a philanthropic venture for the children of Barbados.
He said that he still hears the song Let’s Join Hands ringing in his head from 27 years ago.
“The words to that . . . man when everybody heard that song from the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation [CBC], everybody then joined hands and sang – Let’s Join Hands,” he recalled.
A section of Barbados’ human chain link of 1979. (File Picture)
Foster said that lack of publicity for the November 30, 1979 event became an issue as there were gaps in the chain link.
“It was done on a bank holiday but in this case you can mobilise the children [and] because it is a school day the ministry can tell them where they are going so there will be no question,” he said about the numbers for the chain link this year.
“We didn’t have that, we had to motivate each school child to go home and tell their parents to take part, so publicity was pivotal to getting them out,” he added.
Foster, a lover of things Barbadian, grew up a fan of cricket and blended it with one of his pastimes, sculpting. He started honing his craft using soap and progressed to wood and chalk, carving out famous cricketers like [Sir] Everton Weekes and later a cut-out of Sir Garfield Sobers.
Cricket, he said, was one of those binding factors that united the people of many nations.
“I feel very strongly about cricket and I felt like a statue of Garry was long overdue because I suggested this in the 1970s,” he said, adding it was met with complaints about bringing such an idea to reality.
“Eventually I was glad though when people came to their senses and realised that there is nothing we can do much more for [Sir] Garfield Sobers and I’m glad that they used the stroke that I chose in my original piece.”
Foster regards it as a wonderful gift to be Barbadian and looks towards the “future”.
“Our National Anthem finishes with ... firm craftsmen of our fate and that means you should look forward. I don’t believe in history, it causes too many problems and it is written through somebody’s eyes – it just tells too many lies,” he said passionately.
Of all his accomplishments, the owner of the popular Foster’s Bakery said he counts the establishment of the Aquatic Centre his greatest feat.
“I was involved in the raising of the money to build it – cash price, so for me that was one of my fondest memories,” the swimmer said.
However, to take part in the special occasion of a human chain link once again remains dear to his heart, Foster said. (MR)