Barbados’ Minister with responsibility for culture in the Office of the Prime Minister, John King, says that the statue of Lord Nelson, will be removed from its location in National Heroes Square on November 16, that is observed as the International Day of Tolerance.
King, whose office is leading the project, described the decision as “a step towards the healing of the Nation and to remind us all that tolerance is a universal human right”.
“The Government of Barbados has announced its intentions to officially become an independent republic on November 30, 2021, which is our 55th Anniversary of Independence,” Minister King added. “This is indeed an ultimate statement of confidence in who we are as a people and what we are capable of achieving.
“As we amend the Constitution to have a Barbadian Head of State, and as a symbol of the maturity of our democracy, it is imperative that we reexamine notable elements of our colonial past. Cabinet’s decision to remove the statue is part of this process as we seek to promote national identity as part of a modern Barbados.”
He added that the statue, that is more than 200 years old is to be removed and transported to a temporary storage site under the guidance of experts, before being returned to public display on the compound of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society at The Garrison, St Michael.
The removal of the statue will pave the way for the redevelopment of National Heroes Square as part of the overall renewal of Historic Bridgetown, which forms part of the country’s UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
The removal of the statue of Lord Nelson, which has the full support of Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and her Cabinet, is the culmination of decades of discussion and planning, dating back to the Committee on National Reconciliation, chaired by former Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the UWI, Sir Keith Hunte, and the National Heroes Square and Gallery Development Committee, led by the then Clerk of Parliament, George Brancker.
The decision was also influenced in more recent times by wide consultation undertaken by the Ministry of Culture, and as well as the extensive support at home and throughout the Diaspora of the #Nelsonmustgo campaign
The bronze statue of the British naval hero was unveiled on March 22 , 1813 to commemorate the anniversary of the British Royal Navy’s victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.