Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Trafalgar Heroes Parliament Square...wait...what was I saying?

Will somebody tell me what in rainbow tarnation is going on in Barbados? In response to the sustained controversy regarding whether the statue of Lord Nelson should be relocated or remain in Heroes Square, Minister of Community Development and Culture Steve Blackett has taken the genius decision that:

[T]he much-debated Nelson Statute will not be physically moved, but it will be repositioned in the design to be part of The City called The Cage, which will be between Parliament Square "and somewhat closer to what has been recently renamed the Slave Gate".

Pardon? So not only is the statue of the anti-abolitionist going to remain, but now we're naming places in the capital city The Cage and Slave Gate? We should just rename Spry Street The Middle Passage and complete the 21st century oppression experience. I'm a proponent of acknowledging our history of slavery, but there could be no clearer example of how not to do it than this jaw-dropping mess right here.

And in more turned around, inside-out confusion, what was once Trafalgar Square and was renamed Heroes' Square will now be called Parliament Square.

[W]hat will be happening is that Heroes Square would become Heroes Park and it will be a distinct and different location.

"We are looking at an area outside of Bridgetown which I will not reveal at this time but I can say it is a large, well-appointed place.

No. What will be happening is that no one will ever go to or care about Heroes Park, which will no doubt be on the fringes of some gully that's not even on a bus route. Because we don't need to be reminded who our national heroes are, but we do apparently need to be reminded where the Parliament buildings are, even as we pass right by them.

And Blackett also offered this brilliant analogy:

"This is purely because I am not one for tinkering with history but some of the anti-Nelson people have been asking for the removal of Nelson from there.

"But 100 years from now, if we are to set a dangerous precedent like that, the generation of that era might call for the removal of Errol Barrow from Independence Square, Sir Frank Walcott from his place at the front of the National Insurance Building, or any of the other statues that are placed around Barbados," he said.

Really, you're comparing the relevance of a man nicknamed the Father of Independence with that of a white, 19th century British admiral? I suppose a statue is a statue, and Blackett is protecting the rights and sensibilities of all statues across the island. I imagine that's easier than protecting the sensibilities of its actual, live people.

And where is the money coming from for this renaming, relocating extravaganza? The budget address is this coming Monday. I'm going to need a number on this one, Steve. I'm going to need a really convincing justification for how the government, in the midst of a global recession with the accompanying job losses and decline in development aid, can manage to get their feng shui on all over the place.


  1. Totally agree with you on this one. thot I was alone in the world.

  2. I knew you would not let such stupidity pass. Couldn't agree more with everything said! I could of course say well that is what you get with the Dems in power but the Bees where no better at deciding what to do with Nelson statue either!! To think, these ministers purport to be intelligent, learned people able to run a country, *stupse*. Just give me someone with a bit of common sense!

  3. @Bajanhut: So there is no backlash against this? And did they announce these plans beforehand or Steve Blackett just wake up one day and decide to do some rearranging? I am so puzzled. I did not realize Bajans had consented to Bridgetown being turned into a slavery theme park.

    @Camel: The Nelson part I think was a political decision based on who they would rather offend least.

    I am so embarrassed.


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