PEP COLUMN: Let’s be done with the OBEs
As the world sinks deeper and deeper into a civilizational crisis, sensible and forward-looking Barbadians are earnestly trying to find within our Barbadian society and polity tangible evidence of an authentic sovereign national culture and spirit upon which we can construct a strong and credible response to the encircling gloom.
And it is because the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) is so profoundly invested in this national mission that we cannot help but publicly deplore the fact that outstanding citizens of our country are still receiving such honours as Order Of The British Empire (OBE), or knighthoods that are dished out as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
What kind of psychological foundation are we setting for our nation when we do our most outstanding citizens the disservice of making them “members” and “commanders” of the abomination that was known to history as “the British Empire”?
Any historian worth his salt will tell you that the British Empire was arguably the greatest exploitative enterprise in history. Its beginnings can be traced back to the Third Crusade of 1188, when King Richard I of England led a mercenary army to the Middle East and captured and pillaged Cyprus and the town of Jaffa.
But perhaps a more poignant starting place for us black folks would be the year 1564 – the year in which Queen Elizabeth I provided John Hawkins with a 700-ton ship and sent him to the West Coast of Africa to burn and destroy the towns and to capture black men and women and reduce them to slavery.
Indeed, the trade in African human beings provided the British kleptocracy (headed by its various kings and queens) with a springboard to launch its piratical activities into the rest of the African continent, the Caribbean, North America, Australia, India, China, New Zealand, the Middle East, the islands of the Pacific, and the list goes on.
This thing called the British Empire was a transnational racket based on organized theft, racism, murder, genocide, mass kidnappings, forced labour, and virtually every other criminal abuse known to mankind.
How can we therefore build the new national society – the new Barbados – if we continue to psychologically anchor our nation to institutions that are so anachronistic and alien to our best interests as the British Monarch and her Empire?
The critical point here is that stalwart and heroic Barbadians are too worthy to be associated with something as tawdry as the British Empire and the Barbados government should therefore find a more appropriate way to honour them.
Clearly, they, and the nativist virtues that they personify will have to be critical to any effort to take our nation to a higher plane.
The PEP says that the time has come for Barbados to do away with OBEs, CBEs and with the British monarchy. The time has come for us to self-confidently build our own Caribbean civilization and forge our own future.
• The PEP column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party.