Minister Farrakhan's impact on BarbadosBy A. Akbar Muhammad | Last updated: Dec 18, 2012 - 6:06:44 PM
He along with his wife—who was renamed Halimah—and their children repatriated to Barbados from London, England after heeding the call of Minister Farrakhan for descendents of Africa and the Caribbean to leave European capitals and return to their countries of origin. In earlier talks, the 79-year-old leader warned about preparing for a day when Europe would be engulfed in total war. Several Brothers and Sisters have relocated to the Caribbean with others desiring to do so from the United States and Canada. The Minister has advised descendants of the Caribbean to get ready for active roles in the way of nation building for future of the region.
The Minister hit the ground running with a press conference facilitated by lawyer and Pan-African activist David Commisong, where local journalists were given the opportunity to speak with him. His press interviews in Barbados were in depth and the Barbadian people seemed to be more aware of Minister Farrakhan than in a few other islands.
There was well attended sessions with both the conscious and business communities. In the business meeting, Minister Farrakhan had an excellent and personal exchange with his audience. Viable economic opportunity, trade and commerce are critical to any stable, free and justified society. Although there were discussions about specific areas of business, Minister Farrakhan’s emphasis to the audience centered on the acquisition, ownership, and protection of land. Barbados was once strong in agribusiness and provided food to the rest of the Caribbean. However it lost that distinction in more recent years, which Minister Farrakhan spoke into with every lecture there. Giving keys for the survival of the Caribbean, he strongly urged the people to hold on to their land, produce food to feed themselves and educate their children.
“We are finding that foreigners own some of the best land in the West Indies, because they buy up what we once had,” Minister Farrakhan told Gercine Carter of Barbados’ Nation newspaper.
“Why is that? Yes, they are helping us to build airports and seaports, and establish electricity in needed places, but the burden of debt sometimes is so great from our entering into contractual business arrangements with them.” The inequitable relationship with foreign powers hurts smaller nations like Barbados and now “we are losing,” he warned.
“The problem is many times when we sit across the table from wise businesspeople that have money, we are not their equal. So if we are not skillful enough to look at the details of contractual arrangement, the smart crooked deceiver can run away with the wealth of our nations,” he said.
Since its independence in 1966, Barbados enjoyed a reputation as a beacon in the Caribbean. Even though its population is reasonably small with only 280,000 people, it has been very progressive. Its stature was largely credited to the visionary leadership of its first Prime Minister Errol Barrow, who guided Barbados out of the clutches of British colonialism into independence.
Prime Minister Barrow made education compulsory and free regardless of someone’s economic and social status. He also introduced National Insurance, improved health services, accelerated industrial development and expanded the tourist industry.
“So our message to the Caribbean is Barbados is beautiful, but she can’t stand alone. St. Kitts & Nevis is beautiful, but with only 50,000 people, you can’t stand alone,” said the Minister.
Personally Barbados has a special meaning to Minister Farrakhan because it is the home of his stepfather and many members and leaders of St. Cyprian Episcopal Church he attended growing up in Boston Mass. The Minister said these experiences made the Caribbean have a special place in his heart.
On the streets of Barbados there was love for the Minister who has been serving Black people for 57 years. As we distributed flyers to the Barbadian people informing them of Minister Farrakhan’s presence in the country; one woman turned and looked at me with a firm face and said, “You must be kidding me. How is it that Minister Farrakhan is in Barbados and I not know it?” I said to her the TV and radio stations had been announcing the event. She retorted, “I get my information from the Internet; I will be there to see my brother.”
In the radio and television interviews Minister Farrakhan also addressed moral questions. He was asked about misconstrued remarks attributed to him concerning the popular Barbados native and singer Rihanna, over her provocative dress and stage image.
Minister Farrakhan met with current Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who extended an official invitation for the Minister to participate in Barbados 46th Anniversary of Independence celebrations. He also met with Barbados opposition leader and former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who was the longest serving leader of the country where their discussions were about the future of the Caribbean.
Minister Farrakhan has expressed that now is the time for the unity of the whole Caribbean.
“Not just the nations of the Caribbean, but a political union where instead of this (Barbados) being a ‘nation,’ it becomes a state in a federated union of all of the Caribbean,” Minister Farrakhan consistently advised.
After a productive trip to Barbados Minister Farrakhan departed the island for St. Thomas, stopping briefly in Antigua, where Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer surprised the Minister by graciously meeting, welcoming and sharing words of solidarity with him at the airport. It was a beautiful gesture that touched and overwhelmed the Minister’s heart as he spoke very fondly of the late and great Prime Minister Barrow of Barbados.
In St. Thomas, at the instance of his doctors, family and staff, the Minister postponed the remainder of his trip through the region which will resume sometime in the future.
(Any questions or comments can sent to A. Akbar Muhammad at aakbar314@ yahoo.com.)
Caribbean welcomes Minister Farrakhan (FCN, 12-11-2012)