When people hear of Errol Barrow their free reign of thought usually flows directly to education, unless they were fortunate enough to remember some of the political jokes he left behind. Remember when he referred to then president of America, Ronald Regan, as “that cow boy in the White House”? Or when he told the world that Barbados is a friend to many but a satellite of none? But it is true that because of him Bajans have enjoyed a sweet life in terms of education. Good education by some standards is hard to come by in this world, further more free education. But because of Barrow we have always had education at a “free” rate. But what has it taught us and what have we learned? It is not my role here to criticize or publicize what I feel in my opinion we as Bajans or West Indians as a whole are lacking. Instead, I have just a few points that I want us to note. God made us to be rational beings, so pick sense out of my nonsense and what you weren’t taught seek and you will find.
We come along knowing free education but what do we know about our struggle, the struggle of others and the struggle that has made us who we are today? Remember Inkle and Yarico or that one went over your head? Let me come more recent. In Haiti for example, even public schools come at a price. Wunna thought that only private schools make you pay? Look how our brothers and sisters have been struggling for decades, study it. What has your free education taught you in terms of how to help others? Stop taking what we have for granted and realize that their struggle could have very well been yours.
When the idea came about to pen my thoughts on Errol Barrow day one song came to mind. Red Plastic Bag’s “Issues of the Day” I couldn’t remember the verses but for days I sang this part of the chorus “…we must know who our heroes are, and we must hail them from near and from far. We must know famous from notorious. That is a must here in Barbados. This nation was not built by our leaders alone, so many heroes but they are unknown…” We go through the motions of life almost in robotic simulation. We celebrate days on the calendar with no deeper understanding of the significance or lack thereof in regards to why we should be celebrating. We need to remember how Barbados became what it is today. So while wunna on de excursions picnicking and eating and drinking, reflect on how the West Indies came to be and how some of our brothers and sisters are still in the midst of their own struggles. Yarico still getting fool by Inkle. Remember de “small” people who never got a day, but made significant contributions to the state of the country. We should be striving to learn from the struggles many of these unsung heroes fought and continue to fight today to fix. Maybe we can become better countries or maybe even a WHOLE.
The circle of life for many of us has a beginning and end. No middle because we have learned little and taught even less.