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Barbados Independence


The Right Honourable Errol Walton Barrow's statue stands, as a monument to the first Prime Minister and Father of Independence, in the newly refurbished Independence Square where Diana Ross and the Supremes sang in celebration to Barbados on its second night of self-government.

The move towards Independence began in the 1930's with a struggle by the descendants of liberated slaves to overcome high income restrictions on voting and hence, political domination by merchants of British descent. This resulted in the formation of trade unions from which leaders emerged.

Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Progressive League (now the BLP or Barbados Labour Party) in 1938 and in 1942, the income qualification for voting was lowered. Adams was elected the Premier of Barbados in 1958.

Due to Adams's monarchistic views, Errol Walton Barrow, would soon be recognised by the Barbadian people as a fervent social reformer who had their interests at heart, and eventually replace Sir Grantley Adams in 1961 as Premier when his own party, the DLP (Democratic Labour Party), a liberal alternative to the conservative BLP, gained power.

Barbados' ability to function autonomously through peaceful democratic process resulted in the negotiation of its independence at a constitutional conference with the United Kingdom in June, 1966.

The 30th of November is now a national holiday in Barbados culminating celebrations that run throughout the month, with a parade and ceremony at the Garrison Savannah on Independence Day. The Sagicor Life Lighting Ceremony and Bajan Folk Brew, during which decorative lights throughout the capital, Bridgetown, are lit, start off the celebrations.

The roundabouts on the highways are also magnificently decorated with lights. There are sports competitions: the Independence pro-surfing championships and Banks pro-long board classic at the Soup Bowl, the Sir Fred Rumsey Cricket Festival, National Fun Walk, Barbados Cycling Classic International and Barbados Open championship golf, are just a few. The Spirit of Independence Tour and the Spirit of the Nation Show help celebrate independence through community activities that are parochial in origin.

The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA), a festival which encourages Barbadians of all ages to showcase their talents in a variety of artistic genres, culminates in a gala and brings to fruition an idea expressed by the Right Honourable Errol Walton Barrow on a political platform where his statue now stands.

It faces northward to Heroes Square and Parliament which holds high the Barbadian flag as it proudly waves Neptune's broken Trident, just as it did in the centre of the blue and gold flag (symbolic of the island's sea, sand and sky) when it first replaced the Union Jack at the Garrison Savannah, at the stroke of a rainy midnight on the 29th of November, 1966 to the first airing of the National Anthem.

The Trident had appeared for almost 300 years intact in the Seal (the first English settlement at Holetown dates back to 1627) when the island was still a colony of Britain - now broken; it continues to be representative of the split with ties as a former colony and of increasing nationalistic pride.

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