Today’s Nation newspaper in what history may record as a tipping point in the national conversation on race relations in Barbados published a story titled, Hindus want to spread the word. The opening paragraph of the article summarized the gist of the message; HINDUS IN BARBADOS want to spread their religion and customs throughout the country to the point of convincing Government to grant national holidays for the observance of Hindu festivals. BU would have warned Barbadians for the past three years that this day would come. To quote BU family member Jay, I want to say emphatically that this “Guyana society” must be absolutely nuts to try something like this.If you want your “observance” why not go where it is already recognized……in Guyana.It makes me wonder if this is being done on purpose to hurt the image of Barbados & to have a more conciliatory Government.Just like what has happen currently in Australia.They can already observe the day,why is a “national holiday required” ?
In recent days we have seen an escalation in the immigration rhetoric from David Commisiong and Norman Faria. Now we have this article published by the Nation which touches the prevailing sensitivity linked to the immigration Indo Guyanese issue. It is no secret that there is a group who has tag teamed to lobby the interest of others at the expense of what the majority of Barbadians want. Does it matter that Barbados has a Black host population of over 80% which has been exemplary in charting the course of this country in our post independence period? We survey other countries blessed with more resources than us but who continue to be mired in economic, political and religious strife.
It is eerie the path which Barbados is beginning to embark. It seems like only yesterday when a similar conversation started in Trinidad. If we were to scan Trinidad’s Public Holidays for 2010 we note there is a Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Indian Arrival Day, Corpus Christi, Id al Fitr (End of Ramadan), Divali (Hindu Festival of Light), Christmas Day and Christmas Day. The Trinidad and Tobago population mix is weighted more towards 50:50 Blacks and others. To this day T&T continues to be challenged by the multi-racial composition of its population. Barbados has the opportunity to define the type of society it wants based on the experience of others. Why should we rush knowingly into a situation when the evidence is available to provide a heads-up?
Hindus make up an infinitesimal percentage of the Barbados population. Yes the constitution of Barbados allows all religions to practice their faith secure in recourse to the law courts. However, let there be no doubt that Barbados has built its success on a traditional value set which has worked well for us. We are yet to know of other similar societies which can boast of the economic and political stability that Barbados has enjoyed. The statement attributed to the priest of the temple of the Guyana Hindu Society in Barbados at the Hindu Temple Thakoor Prashad suggested that, In future, if Barbadians learn about this culture how it can bring about peace, unity and prosperity in this country, I would be very happy as a priest to join with all the people in Barbados to celebrate this festival with love. BU finds the statement an insensitive one for what it implies.
Tonight we learned of the appointment of former Barbados Employers Confederation head and current talk show host Harry Husbands to the Senate and as Parliamentary Secretary responsible for immigration. We all wait to see what influence Husbands will bring to the mess at the Immigration Department.