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Barbadians celebrate ‘Father of Independence’

Barbadians celebrate ‘Father of Independence’

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by TREVOR YEARWOOD 26.JAN.07
Barbados Nation

BARBADOS – In a defining moment in history witnessed by thousands, Barbados honoured National Hero and Father of Independence Errol Barrow, former leader of the Democratic Labour Party, by unveiling an imposing 2 000-pound, nine-foot high life-like bronze statue in his former political stomping ground, Independence Square in Barbados Monday.{{more}}

On Barrow’s birthday, Barbadians packed Independence Square, just upgraded at a cost of $5 million, and vantage points around it as Government, Opposition and members of the Barrow family paid glowing tribute to the former Prime Minister and looked on as the cloth cover of ultramarine and gold – the national colours – was finally removed.

Opposition Leader David Thompson, regarded as Barrow’s political heir, described him as “the greatest National Hero of this land” in a brief speech punctuated by applause from hundreds of his party’s supporters.

Prime Minister Owen Arthur, leader of the Barbados Labour Party, told the gathering that included members of Cabinet, other parliamentarians, diplomats and St Lucia’s Prime Minister Sir John Compton, that the attainment of political Independence might well be “the most significant single event” for Barbados, and not having “a permanent physical memorial” to the Father of Independence would represent “a large and ugly void in our national affairs and circumstances”.

In a speech that crossed political boundaries, Arthur said Barrow could “lay claim to be the most complete leader, and the most outstanding citizen Barbados has ever known”. He was also regarded by most people as the “Father of modern Barbados”, Arthur noted.

He described Barrow as a crusader on behalf of the common man who sought to eliminate poverty and wretchedness.

He also called the former Royal Air Force pilot “a great revolutionary”, a “visionary educator”, and a builder of important structures, including the Treasury Building and the first National Insurance Building.

Arthur also pointed to Barrow’s efforts to overturn “the culture of racial discrimination” in the island and to foster Caribbean unity.

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