happy independence day
54 years strong
In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride is sprung
All Eyes on November 30th!
With the general election over, the nation turned its collectives eyes forward; towards Independence. In the weeks before Wednesday, November 30th, it was on the lips of every Barbadian. There was an abundance of Pride and Industry; even though the motto was still a state’s secret, some details of the plans started to surface.
The war was raging, many miles away in Vietnam. At the same time, special guests were flying into the island to be part of the big day. Bajans, determined not to miss this milestone, flew in from around the globe; merchants stocked up in preparation for the celebrations, and the newly minted government was keeping some of the details close to its chest.
Heavy rains and heavyweights
Heavy rains caused extensive damage in the Scotland District. Along Sedge Pond road there was quarter-mile stip with several slips, with sixty to seventy acres of land affected. There was also damage in Mellows and Lower Parks, St Joseph; as well as Seniors and Bruce Vale in St Andrew.
Muhammad Ali retained the world heavyweight championship with a technical knock-out of Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams, one minute and fifty-one seconds into the third round of their title match.
The Father of Independence
With fourteen days to go, a new tune started to circulate. The National Anthem was now public. Van Roland Edwards of Road View, Speightstown, St Peter, and Irving Burgie of New York became the toast of the island. For the next two weeks, after every news bulletin on CBC and Barbados Rediffusion, the anthem was played to help Barbadians become familiar with the tune.
On Friday, November 18th, Mr Errol Walton Barrow was sworn in as the island’s first Prime Minister.
There was disagreement on the details of the spending, but a unified parliament agreed that the budget for the big day would be $1 008 000.00; approximately $8 000 000.00, 2020 dollars.
High Honour for a Bajan Soldier
The Merrymen released their new LP album, titled “You Sweeten Me”. It included songs like Conrad, Ring Ting Ting and one song that would become a staple at Independence for decades to come; God Bless Bim.
In the first moments of Barbados’ birth as a new nation on Wednesday, all eyes will focus on our ultra-marine and gold flag with its prominent black trident and the lone soldier of the Barbados Regiment who will have the honour of hoisting it.
That soldier is 28 year-old Lieutenant Hartley Hylvester Alleyne Dottin.
We all thank him for his service.