Professor Henry FraserArchitecural Historian / Heritage Consultant
Chairman, Sentinel Committee, Barbados National Trust
Writer, TV Presenter, National Orator & Motivational Speaker
Professor Emertius, Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology.
Immediate Past Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences.
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.


Article Index

COMMON SENSE AND EVID. # 193, Cabbages and Kings for 2006, for Sun. Feb 4, 2007

Professor Henry Fraser

The New Year is off to a lively start, with loads of activity on the local and international scene. And so this week’s column touches on some issues that have attracted the press, other writers and just about everyone who’s not sound asleep.

Global Warming

I promised my editor to write about health and the environment. And the big environmental news is that, in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Bush has finally, as the American papers say, “recognized” the challenge of global warning. But unless he has been in a very, very long sleep, I’m quite sure President Bush recognized the challenge of global warning many years ago, and chose to ignore it – who cares if the next generation’s world gets messed up, as long as the oil tycoons get richer? What he did on Tuesday, at this politically important point is to acknowledge it – a big difference!

The evidence of global warming is incontrovertible. The only “minor” debate is whether it’s almost all due to man’s wasteful and destructive treatment of the environment or whether there is a component due to a natural cycle. The responsibility of mankind to do everything in our power to slow it is also incontrovertible, and for President Bush to devote two whole sentences to the problem in six years could be as significant for the world as 9 / 11.

The Errol Barrow Statue and National Heroes Square

On the home front, we all rejoice to see National Hero the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow commanding attention in Independence Square at last. His erection demonstrates the impact of a striking statue and the space needed to create that impact.

And so, of our 10 National Heroes, with Bussa at his roundabout, Sir Grantley at Bay Street, Sir Garfield finding his feet at New Kensington and Clement Payne in Golden Square, there are four up and six to go. But there still remains the conundrum of National Heroes Square / Trafalgar Square.

If Samuel Jackman Prescod alone goes there, deservedly as City MP, the name will have to be changed again – to National Hero Square (singular) – unless Nelson remains. Nelson’s presence is anathema to some, and contradicts the current name of the square, although it’s still the favourite “photo-op of the tourisses”. So what to do?

Some 19 or 20 years ago, when I was a member of the Board of the National Cultural Foundation, our Heritage Sub-Committee proposed that Queen’s Park be made National Heroes Park, as it could comfortably accommodate a dozen heroes (and I hope Sir Frank Worrell and TT Lewis will finally make up that dozen). But that was not to be.

Mr. Leonard St. Hill made a very cogent suggestion some years ago… go with the flow of the re-landscaping of “the square”. He pointed out that the landscape architect’s design literally divides it into two – an area around Nelson, which could remain Trafalgar Square, and it’s about the size of his quarter-deck; and the area around the War Memorial – the larger square, which could now be called Hero’s Square, just big enough to accommodate National Hero the Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod in comfort.

Travel and postal conundrums

When I was a boy at The Lodge School, my mother was a country postmistress for St. John. We were a letter writing family, and she could exchange letters with family in New York and London in eight days – four days each way by plane and eight or nine by boat, I think. In those days the planes had to stop in Bermuda to refuel on the London flights. And it cost 12 cents to post a letter air mail to London, if I recall correctly.

In contrast, while in the UK recently, I ordered a Day Planner refill – about two pounds of packaged paper – on January 31st; to be delivered by courier, at great cost! It reputedly arrived at the UPS office in Barbados on Tuesday January the ninth! In spite of daily phone calls, a lost faxed invoice and daily promises, the package never made it to the QEH until Monday the 15th! AND they had the gall to charge me $23 dollars handling charges at this end and duty of $24 dollars on two pounds of paper!

Compare progress – four day air mail service for 12 cents in 1957 and 16 day courier service for about 1000 times the price! I’m wondering if I should do a controlled trial with the other courier services.

Tribute to the Honourable Oliver Jackman

I returned home on Thursday to hear the sad news of the death of the Honourable Oliver Jackman. Oliver was truly an honourable and marvelous man – liked and respected by all lucky enough to know him, and without any doubt whatsoever the doyen of columnists in Barbados for many years. We join in sending our sincere sympathy to his wife and son and many close friends and family.

Henry Fraser Historic Houses Of Barbados Book CoverHistoric Houses of Barbados
Written by Henry Fraser & Ronnie Huges.
Available at all book leading book stores in Barbados.

Henry Fraser Treasures Of Barbados Book CoverTreasures of Barbados
Written by Sir George Alleyne and edited by Henry Fraser.
Available at the UWI Bookshop the publishers.

Henry Fraser Chattle House Book CoverBarbados Chattel Houses
Written by Henry Fraser and Bob Kiss.
Available at all leading book stores.

Henry Fraser A-Z Barbados Book CoverA-Z of Barbados Heritage
Written by Sean Carrington, Henry Fraser, John Gilmore and Addington Forde.
Available at Days Bookstore Barbados and

More Books...