WATCH: Barbadians urged to take a stand for the country
The local Pan African community celebrated Emancipation Day on August 1 with Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong challenging Barbadians to take a stand for good governance and transparency.
He made the call during a speech at the site of the Bussa statue this morning as he announced plans for the launch of a new grass roots community group.
“In a few weeks time, we embark on national consultations under the Thorne Commission of government on putting in place a new community based system of people-participatory governance of this country.
We are going to be engaging in a national conversation as to the legitimate grass roots empowerment of the people of Barbados, to hold their government accountable to have a say in the national decision-making and to take greater control of their local communities.”
Comissiong said it was time for Barbadians to “take full ownership of our country” as the enslaved Africans did when they launched the 1816 revolt, adding “if we don’t we do a disservice to the blood sacrifice to the Bussa’s and to all freedom fighters who came before”.
Comissiong, in detailing the importance of the Bussa rebellion, said the tradition of resistance had always been part of the Barbadian ancestry and citizens must continue to advocate for change.
“We have always fought and we have always resisted. There were several modalities of resistance. It was not always possible but when the circumstances came together and the right leadership was there, they carried out outright rebellion, as they did in 1816.”
“Let us have no doubt, that by far, the primary factor that led to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire was the unrelenting rebellion of our people. Let us understand that and not just the rebellion in Barbados but collective rebellion right across this Caribbean. Every step that we have made forward has been purchased by our people’s resistance.”
Attendees at the Emancipation Day gathering were treated to a number of performances from singer Rhesa Garnes and poet Winston Farrell. The proceedings ended with the laying of wreaths at the foot of the statue.