Hundreds of Barbadians and visitors alike took up any vantage point available to witness a showcase of pride and love for country, as Barbados’ seven Prime Ministers received a fitting tribute in National Heroes Square on Thursday evening.
Entitled: Tribute to Our Prime Ministers, the celebration was attended by several dignitaries, including Prime Minister Freundel Stuart; former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur and his family; the family of the late Errol Walton Barrow; the wife of the late Sir Harold St. John, Stella Lady St. John; wife of the late Grantley Adams, Genevieve Adams; and National Hero, the Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers.
Beginning promptly at 6:00 p.m., following the arrival of Governor General, Sir Elliott Belgrave and Lady Belgrave, the ceremony was immediately set at a high standard with a stirring rendition of the Barbados National Anthem, sung by Amanda Fields, and backed by the Royal Barbados Police Force Band.
Some of the island’s top vocalists also graced the stage with superb displays of musical talent which were all well received by the audience. Performances included musical presentations by the Barbados National Youth Symphony Orchestra; solos by Anthony “Coco” Bernard, Gaye Gajadhar and Shantal Martin; and a rendition of the 50th Anniversary Song by James Leacock, Paula Hinds, Kareen Clarke and young Trinity Clarke.
The works of legendary Barbadian writers Kamau, Austin Clarke, Jeanette Layne-Clarke, George Lamming and Margaret Gill, were well represented in five dramatic performances by Janine White, Rickardo Reid, Alison Sealy-Smith, Adrian Greene and Winston Farrell.
The presentation of gifts by various organisations to honour the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence was a significant part of the evening. A framed map labelled 50: The Barbados Legacy, was donated by the Nation Publishing Company Limited; a photo entitled Almost Paradise was donated by photographer Chris Alleyne; and a book titled Rihanna; Barbados World-Gurl in Global Popular Culture, was the contribution of the University of the West Indies.
The unveiling of a portrait of the late Right Excellent Errol Barrow, which was painted by artist Wayne Branch, was also a highlight of the evening.