Preserve Bajan culture
THE IMPORTANCE of chronicling and preserving Barbados’ history and cultural heritage was underscored Thursday night by Acting Chief Information Officer (CIO), Sharon Lynch, during a special screening of the award-winning documentary Diggers.
Lynch told her audience, including Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) recognised the significance of the historic occasion when 100 000 West Indian labourers worked on the construction of the Panama Canal.
“We, therefore, see this first public screening in Barbados, which the BGIS is responsible for, as our contribution to the Panama Canal’s centennial celebrations, as Barbadians reconnect with their past and open new lines of communication with regard to their ancestry,” she stated.
The acting CIO pointed out that the centennial celebrations of the canal’s construction had sparked a renewed interest in Barbadians to trace their roots.
Diggers chronicles the political, social and technological history of the forgotten 100 000 black labourers, including Barbadians and other Caribbean migrants, who worked on the construction of the Panama Canal from 1881 to 1914.
The labourers faced tremendous challenges during construction, including disease, discrimination, racism and horrendous working conditions.
The fruits of their labour changed the face of travel and trade in the modern world, allowing vessels to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Diggers will premiere on Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBC TV 8. (PR)