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Church must lead in restoring family


Church must lead in restoring family

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THE ANGLICAN CHURCH Diocese of Barbados held a national consultation on October 12 with the theme Restoring Our Barbadian Family. The church did not clarify what is meant by “our Barbadian family”.

The term “our Barbadian family” implies that there is one homogeneous Barbadian family. The reality is that there are different ethnic racial and cultural groups, so when the theme Restoring Our Barbadian Family is used, the word “restoring” suggests that there is a fracture within the Barbadian family.

The negative issues relating to the block culture, gangs, gun violence, crime, the high prison population and mental health problems in Barbados are almost exclusively related to the African black family, which is fractured and in desperate need of repair.

This leads to another question: was there a period in Barbados’ history when the Barbadian family was not fractured? If we are to restore the family, must it not be to a situation or period in time before the fracture? At what point should the restoration be located?

The historic fracture in the African (black) Barbadian family is a direct consequence of the enslavement of Africans from 1627 to 1838 and the subsequent legacy of colonialism and neo-colonialism.

The church was partly responsible for the fracture in the African black family and must now find ways to do what the Prime Minister has urged it to do – “meet people where they are”.

The majority of Barbadians are not aware of the island’s history and therefore can’t appreciate the damage that has been done to our families.

The United Nations recognised the damage done and has designated a decade for people of African descent for recognition, justice and development starting from 2015.

The church owes it to the African Barbadian family to use the remaining eight years to help educate Barbadians about their true history, which would go a long way in “restoring our Barbadian family”.