Rock Hall move angers activists
Not everyone will be celebrating the opening of the Rock Hall Freedom Park today.
And some activists are calling on Government to issue an apology for breaking their promise to remove the Lord Nelson statue in Heroes Square by the end of the season of Emancipation.
General secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, David Denny; president of the Coalition of Pan African Organisations, Onkphra Wells; the reverend Buddy Larrier; attorney at law Lalu Hanuman; and others who protested in the City yesterday made that request.
They were responding to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture John King who confirmed on Friday in a release from the Barbados Government Information Service that the statue would not be removed by the end of the season of Emancipation as previously announced last month.
Wells, who is also a sculptor, questioned Government’s decision to choose the Freedom Park, when Pelican Craft Village was suffering.
“You cannot say you want to full bellies at Rock Hall as an excuse when you have a whole centre in Pelican Village dying of the same cause. The boat is sinking, so why you are going to put another boat in the water,” Wells asked.
He stressed that Government going back on their decision put people in a bad position.
“It is said that the people of Rock Hall stood between Bussa, his militia, his comrades from the north and making the revolution an effective one. The Government is refusing to honour their pledge by betraying the trust of the people,” he added.
Denny, who said he would not be attending the opening, described the change in plans as an insult.
“I was invited to the activity that will take place tomorrow in Rock Hall, but based on principle I cannot attend that activity and I am not because I am protesting [the minister’s announcement that] Nelson will not be removed.
“I feel insulted because you promised me in 1998 that you would remove Lord Nelson, you promised me this year that you would remove it during the season of Emancipation and now you have an excuse,” Denny said.
King said due to the “diversion of resources as a result of unplanned circumstances” the long-delayed Freedom Park in St Thomas would take precedence.
“Once we have completed all the critical matters in relation to Rock Hall, we will be in a position again to turn our attention to removing Nelson from Heroes Square,” he said. (TG)