Not So Fast Freundel | It Was Dr. Richie Haynes Who Engineered Pardons for the MARTYRS of 1937

David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados, Prsident, Clement Payne Movement

I have been informed that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart declared in the House of Assembly today (Friday the 16th of February 2018) that his Government has just instituted a measure to pardon all those Barbadian martyrs who were convicted of criminal offences in the People’s Uprising of July 1937.

Well I have news for Mr Stuart — he is approximately twenty-two (22) years too late!

You see, way back in the mid 1990’s the late Dr. Richie Haynes MP— political leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP) — laid a Resolution before the House of Assembly that called upon the Government of Barbados to “pronounce an official pardon of all of those patriots who were convicted of criminal offences arising out of the riots of 1937 and expunge these criminal convictions from the official records”, and not only was the Resolution passed by the House, but the Cabinet of the then ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) effected the authorized pardons.

And so, not only must the credit of engineering the pardons of the martyrs of 1937 go to Dr Haynes and the NDP, but it should also be noted that Dr. Haynes— speaking on behalf of the NDP—  also called for Clement Payne to be designated a national hero and for the establishment of “an appropriate public monument to commemorate the sacrifices made by the many Barbadians who gave their lives or were wounded or imprisoned or victimized in the 1937 riots” — two demands that came to fruition between 1996 and 1999 with the designation of the ten national heroes of Barbados and the construction of the “monument to the martyrs” in Golden Square in Bridgetown.

Indeed, I remember all of this quite well, because, as a then member of the NDP, I partnered with Dr Haynes in crafting these demands.

But this is not the first time that this Democratic Labour Party government has played the trick of repeating (and claiming credit for) something that had already be accomplished before. Why, just last month– in January 2018– Mr Stuart’s Administration made a big song and dance about appointing Anthony “Mighty Gabby” Carter a Cultural Ambassador of Barbados– something that had already been done as long ago as the year 2004 by  Mr Owen Arthur’s Barbados Labour Party administration.

This DLP administration seems to have bought in to the notion that “Barbadians have short memories”. That might be true of some of us, but I can assure Messers Stuart and company that it is not true of all of us.

The Twelve Bajan Principles

Submitted by the Clement Payne Movement, our  objective  is  to transform  BARBADOS  into :–

David Comissiong, Clement Payne Movement

(1) a conscious, self-aware society that is possessed of a deep and profound knowledge of its History ;

(2) a nation that — in light of its history of enslavement and colonialism– consciously regards itself as a Champion of  the dignity of Black or African people and of the interconnected principles and causes of human liberty and national sovereignty, and that exerts itself to promote, defend and foster these values all over the world;

(3) a society that is consciously organized to produce the most educationally and culturally advanced national population on this earth;

(4) a country whose national education system is designed not merely to nurture academic ability, but also to develop the capabilities of the people to feed themselves, clothe themselves, construct and maintain their own homes, engage in preventative health care, express and generate their own national culture, and to exhibit self-confidence and self-reliance in both thought and deed;

(5) a society in which the nation’s financial and capital resources are focused on the establishment and maintenance of institutions and programmes of educational, scientific, artistic, sports-based, and other forms of cultural and human development (inclusive of the provision of comprehensive health, housing and nutrition facilities and mechanisms) for the mass of the population rather than on individual conspicuous consumption, and  also on supporting and financing the entrepreneurial initiatives of the people;

(6) a highly productive society that strives to make the act of work so creative, meaningful and rewarding that productive work comes to be conceived of as the Citizen’s highest activity, and the productive worker comes to be regarded as the pre-eminent social hero and national “celebrity”;

(7) a country in which the fundamental national developmental policy is centred upon the notion of Barbadians assuming the primary responsibility for establishing, owning and running the productive enterprises of their own country, and basing such productive enterprises squarely upon the advanced educational, cultural and human development that the people of Barbados attain as a national population;

(8) a society in which the fundamental parameters and principles of national and governmental policy are set, maintained, policed and enforced by a politically conscious, aware and activist mass population (that truly understands and accepts the sacred Mission that their history has bequeathed to them), and that conceives of governmental administrations as mere temporary and limited trustees of the sovereign power of the people;

(9) a nation in which the eradication and avoidance of corruption and unearned privileged treatment in both the public and private spheres are regarded as  fundamental civic duties;

(10) a society that protects and fosters all positive facets of its unique national culture, with the understanding that by so doing it is creating a source of and a foundation for national self-respect, self-confidence, self-reliance, and unity;

(11) a country that subscribes to the concept of the “Permanent Revolution”, in that the people come to conceive of “development” as  autonomous or self-driven movement, inclusive of the autonomous confronting and overcoming of obstacles, contradictions or problems by themselves, for themselves, and in their own unique manner; and

(12) a society in which the people understand that nothing will be given to them on a platter, and that in order to achieve the foregoing objectives they will have to exhibit self-belief and initiative, and engage in struggle and effort —  constantly sustained by a “spiritual” faith and optimism in an ultimate destiny that will see the triumph and reign of truth , justice , brotherhood, and beauty.