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STREET BEAT: Reflecting on Barrow

Carlos Atwell

STREET BEAT: Reflecting on Barrow

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Every year, Barbados celebrates the life of the National Hero, late Prime Minister and father of Independence, but is it just a day off for Barbadians?

Chetwyn Ryce said he for one was appreciative of the sacrifices made by Barrow but he was unhappy with how his memory was being preserved. He was sitting in Independence Square, where the statue of Barrow is situated.

“Being a politician is a very giving type of profession, so for him to give of himself in that way is commendable. You do not hear of his personal sacrifices but he was a visionary and we need those types of young people coming into politics.

“However, I’m fairly frustrated because of the situation where you have his birthplace and his home in disrepair. We talk about him, we have the statue but his home should be renovated and allow people to tour. It is a travesty to claim we appreciate what he’s done and yet struggle to maintain his places of significance,” he said.

Ryce said he intended to relax and reflect for the day.

Kim Edghill was also in the square with her daughter Ashley Rover. She said Barrow was a man for the people.

“He was a people person, he loved people and I wish he was still alive and still the Prime Minister because Barbados needs a leader like him,” she said.

Edghill said she planned to cook and “chill” at home, watching television about Barrow before attending a beach lime later with family.

For her part, Rover said Barrow paved the way for modern Barbados.

“When you go back in history, you see Barrow has done a lot for Barbados where black people can go to certain schools and own their own homes. Barbadians should be thankful because freedom is very important,” she said.

At the University of the West Indies, across from the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, Omowale Stewart said Barrow was a shepherd and a guide.

“Errol Barrow Day is very significant to me as he shepherded us out of colonialism and into nationhood and his fatherlike figure will always remain as our guide as we go forward into modern times,” he said.

Stewart said Barrow served as his representative so he always saw Barrow as a leader. As for how he planned to spend the day, Stewart said every year at this time he usually found himself engaged in a sporting or cultural activity which Barrow had once either promoted or supported.

Jalisa Taylor said it was unfortunate free education no longer stretched to the tertiary level, what with an institution named after Barrow, but she still appreciated the fact people who were less fortunate could still send their children to primary or secondary school for free to get an education instead of going on the block.

Gabriel Medford said he always thought of one of Barrow’s most famous quotes when reflecting on the life of the late National Hero – “friends of all but satellites of none”.

“He was a man who bridged the social classes, he didn’t fear the masses and he had a mission to accomplish. He was a leader, a captain and I think his time in the air force helped him with that,” he said.

However, Medford said he was disheartened by the current administration which he said had strayed from Barrow’s “still relevant” fundamentals.

Medford said he had to work on the day but had plans to attend an evening lime with others born in the 60s, the first ones to benefit from free education.

Sophia Greenidge and her daughter Nala were in the Errol Barrow Memorial Park. She said Errol Barrow Day was one of peace where people could reflect on patriotism and the life of a man who helped Barbados achieve one of its greatest acts – Independence.

Greenidge said she wanted to teach her daughter to remember the greats that have passed on and celebrate her freedom as well as to respect tradition. She said she would spend the day with family and relaxing.

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