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Of National Heroes and National Honours


Fri, Dec 2. 2011

Editor: We have criteria for selecting national heroes, and we have a national hero. The urgent need – a need that should have been fulfilled at Independence – is a mechanism for honoring those who have served the nation in an exemplary manner.{{more}} Every year when we celebrate Independence, we should be presenting insignia and designations to Vincentians who meet appropriate criteria.

Our rise to nationhood in the 20th century was not tortuous, so it did not absorb all our energies. Far from having to fight for it, it was choreographed in London, where they were no doubt clapping us as we learned the steps. Apart from the short period 1972-74 when James Mitchell was Premier, R Milton Cato moved from being Chief Minister in the period prior to Associate Statehood to becoming Premier in 1969, when we became an Associate State, and was later to oust Mitchell to take the country into Independence in 1979. He should have been the architect of our system of national honors. Jamaica and Trinidad, independent since 1962, had their honors system in operation from 1969. Barbados published theirs in 1980 after a long period of gestation, and Antigua issued its first awards in 1981, the year it became independent. Antigua and Barbados are unique in awarding knighthoods to its citizens – Sir Viv Richards has an Antiguan knighthood, and Dame Neita Barrow, a Barbadian one.

Another Way to Remember our Past

This is really a suggestion for our artists. Why don’t they create busts or statuettes of past illustrious Vincentians? I am sure a market exists for busts of Hugh Mulzac, George McIntosh, E T Joshua, Chatoyer, Earle Kirby, Frankie and Syl McIntosh (complete with saxophone), Pamenos Ballantyne, and others. To this I would add the Iron Man. Some persons have just been giants among us. They could also do a series on the Prime Ministers of SVG from Cato to Ralph. Some publisher could put laminated brochures on the market describing their lives and contributions. These would have more appeal to me than the sculptures one sees on the streets and which look no different from those one sees in other islands.

Cedric B Harold
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