Authorities in Barbados on Monday removed the 207 year-old statute of Lord Nelson from its capital, Bridgetown as Prime Minister Mia Mottley underscored the importance of emancipation to Barbados and the Caribbean.
The bronze statue had been erected on March, 22, 1813 in the area known as Trafalgar Square, opposite Parliament Buildings.In July, the Barbados government said it would remove the statue of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson from the National Heroes Square in the heart of the capital, with the Minister with responsibility for culture, John King, saying the Cabinet had agreed to its relocation.
Nelson visited Barbados in 1805 and was considered a hero by locals of the day for his battles against the French who controlled some of the other islands in the Caribbean.
King said the decision to remove the statue was made based on substantial consultations carried out about two decades ago by the National Heroes Square and Development Committee as well as the Committee of National Reconciliation.The call for the removal was also galvanised by the global movement to remove statues of persons many people had considered to be slave owners, human rights violators and symbols of colonialism.
PM Mottley said that her administration would not sit idly by and allow various aspects of the country’s nationalism and identity, including Hero’s Day, the establishment of Emancipation Day “as a solemn holiday” to be wasted.
“These things could not just happened and then we press pause for two decades and forget about them. I ask us today to recognize that this government has been very clear that national consciousness and identity come at the core of the nation state and if we do not know who we are, if we are not clear what we will fight for then we are doomed to be exploited and to be colonized again, not necessarily in the same way that led the ships coming in, but in the way that will allow the mental space to be dominated by stories and songs and messages that are not our own and are not intended to be able to lift up our people to where we need to go in this world today,” Mottley said.