Barbados: Time to move on

I just read on The Guardian website that Barbados is planning to replace the Queen as head of state with a ceremonial President by 2016 – to coincide with the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence.

I wanted to share this news on here as I think it’s an important step for the island and probably something that is long overdue.

Fifty years of independence is an amazing milestone and I can’t think of any better way to mark that historic event than by symbolically cutting ties with the ‘Empire’ and choosing your own head of state albeit by replacing it with a ceremonial position with no real powers.

Even though the final decision on whether this happens and who the new head of state is, must be determined by the Barbadian people, and not the government, I truly believe that as long as the democratic process is followed and the majority agree this is a necessary development.

Barbados flag

Of course our little gem in the sun will stay part of the Commonwealth and enjoy all of the benefits and security that brings, but really this will send an important message to the world that Caribbean islands are strong, free and separate entities, with the power for self determination and direction.

I’m sure there are many Barbadians in the UK who will have mixed feelings about this development mainly because of the long held love of the ‘mother country’ which in some ways is tied up with the monarchy especially this current Queen, but personally I can only see the positives from moving on.

So I thought I’d share the story on here because although it does not fit into the mission statement for this blog this decision by Barbados demonstrates a turning point in its history and its links with the UK.

‘The Lord has been the people’s guide
For past three hundred years
With him still on the people’s side
We have no doubts or fears
Upward and onward we shall go
Inspired, exulting, free
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity’

(Last verse – Barbados National Anthem)

A Barbadian on the buses

In the 1950s and 1960s London Transport, just like the NHS, began a major recruitment drive in the Caribbean to deal with a chronic shortage of staff after World War Two.

Barbadian Joe Straughn was one of many recruited to work on London’s buses and he came to the UK in 1965 and stayed for 23 years.

Joe spoke to Black Union Jack about his contribution to the UK after working for London Transport for 10 years including three years as a bus conductor.

Further reading:

http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/assets/downloads/Generations.pdf

Stepping stones and milestones

Since November 29th 1978 through to the match against Scotland on November 18th 2014, 76 black players of either African or Caribbean descent have pulled on a white shirt and played for England’s international football side.

Below is a timeline of some of the major football highlights achieved in the UK by players who were either born in the Caribbean or are of Caribbean descent between 1881 and 2013.

1881 – Andrew Watson (born in British Guiana / Guyanese mother) won three international caps for Scotland

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1909Walter Tull (Barbadian father) signed professionally for Tottenham Hotspur for a signing fee of £10 (pictured above)

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1921 – Jack Leslie (Jamaican father) was the only professional black player in England during his time with Plymouth Argyle (pictured above)

1937 – Alfred Charles (born in Trinidad) was the first black player to sign for Southampton but only made one appearance

1948 – Lloyd Lindbergh “Lindy” Delapenha (born in Jamaica) joined Portsmouth

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1951 – Giles Heron (born in Jamaica) became the first Afro-Caribbean player to play first team football for Celtic (pictured above)

1960 – Tony Collins (black father – origin unknown but likely Barbadian) was the first black manager in the English Football League, taking charge at Rochdale A.F.C. from June 1960 until September 1967

1968 – Clyde Best (born in Bermuda) one of the first black players in First Division football and was awarded a MBE in 2006 for services to football and Bermuda

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1971 – Brendon Batson (born in Grenada) was the first black player to play for Arsenal’s first team and was awarded a MBE in 2000 and OBE in 2015 for services to football (pictured above)

1977 – Laurie Cunnigham (Jamaican parents) became one of the first black Caribbean players to play for England at any level when he turned out for the U21s v Scotland

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Nov 29th 1978 – Viv Anderson (Jamaican parents) became the first Black footballer to play as a full international for England and was awarded a MBE in 1999 for services to football (pictured above)

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1981 – Justin Fashanu (Guyanese mother) was the first black footballer to command a £1 million transfer fee with his move from Norwich City to Nottingham Forest (pictured above)

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May 1981 – Garth Crooks (Jamaican parents) became the first Black Caribbean player to score in an FA Cup final (pictured above)

1982 – Luther Blissett (born in Jamaica) was the first black player ever to score a hat-trick for England

1988 – Garth Crooks (Jamaican parents) became the first black chairman of the Professonal Footballers’ Association (picture see above)

1990 – 2010 Dwight York (born in Tobago) jointly holds the record number of participations in different World Cup competitions, including qualifying stages – six in total

1991 – Aslie Pitter (Jamaican parents) founded Britain’s first and most successful gay football club Stonewall FC (in 2010 he was appointed a MBE for his work against homophobia

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June 1993 – Paul Ince (Barbadian parents) became England’s first black captain (pictured above)

1997 – Uriah Rennie (Jamaican parents) became the first Black referee in the Premier League

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May 1998 – Sol Campbell (Jamaican parents) captained England at international level (pictured above)

1998 – Robbie Earle (Jamaican parents) scored Jamaica’s first ever World Cup finals goal in a 3–1 defeat by Croatia

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1998 – John Barnes (born in Jamaica / Trinidadian father / Jamaican mother) was awarded a MBE and in 2006 he was voted by Liverpool fans at number five in their poll of 100 players who shook the Kop (pictured above)

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2000 – Ian Wright (Jamaican parents) who was one of England’s most capped players was awarded a MBE for services to football (pictured above)

2006 – Shaka Hislop (Trinidadian parents) took part in Trinidad’s first ever World Cup finals appearance in 2006

Mar 2008 – Rio Ferdinand (St Lucian father) captained England at international level

June 2008 – Paul Ince (Barbadian parents) became the first black British manager in England’s Premier League

May 2013 – Ashley Cole (Barbadian father) captained England for one night only to mark his 100th England appearance

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2013 – Paul Elliott (Jamaican parents) became the first Black footballer to be awarded a CBE. The honour was for services to equality and diversity in football (pictured above)

An officer and a gentleman

Walter Tull was born in Folkestone in Kent in 1888 – his father was Barbadian and his mother was English. He became an orphan at the age of eight and was brought up at a national Methodist children’s home in Bethnal Green.

Tull became the second mixed race person to play in the top flight Football League when he joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1909. In 1911 he joined Northampton Town where he made over 100 appearances before WWI cut short his promising career.

Tull died on the battlefield in France after a military career that was as distinguished as his time as a footballer. His life is a unique, educational and moving story that is an inspiration to every person of Caribbean descent.

 

References / further reading:

http://www.vasili.co.uk/history-of-black-footballers.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2008/02/20/walter_tull_feature.shtml

http://www.100greatblackbritons.com/bios/walter_tull.html

http://www.centenarynews.com/article?id=3000

A Barbadian teenager in England

Marcia Rollins is from Barbados. She always wanted to be a nurse but opportunities were limited on the island so when the UK needed new recruits she joined thousands of other Caribbean people and left for the ‘mother country’.

Marcia was just 19 when she arrived in England and intended to return to Barbados soon after her training finished. She actually ended up spending 40 years in the NHS making a unique and valuable contribution as a Registered Nurse and gaining a diploma in health care. She retired in 2008 and moved back to Barbados.