Barbados 25–26 May 2007
The Deputy Prime Minister visited Barbados at the invitation of the Prime
Minister, Owen Arthur, where he continued his ongoing work to mark the
200th Anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. Accompanied by the
Reverend Joseph Atherley, Minister of State of the Prime Minister's
Office, the Deputy Prime Minister toured the Barbados National Museum,
where he viewed some of the artefacts held in its collection.
He then met the Honourable Reginald Farley, Minister of Housing and Land,
before paying a visit to the Barbados Parliament, where he participated in
a joint session with a cross section of MPs and Senators in the Senate Chamber to
discuss the abolition of the slave trade and related issues.
Along with the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office, the
Deputy Prime Minister visited St. Nicholas Abbey, a unique historical and
cultural site of international significance set on the site of a former
plantation, the factory of which has just been renovated to enable the
production of rum to be reinstated on the island. The official visit also
took in a tour of HMS
Ocean and concluded at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, where
the Deputy Prime Minister met the Pro Vice Chancellor of the Cave Hill
campus, a leading advisor to the Barbados Prime Minister, to take forward
ideas presented by Owen Arthur MP at the Wilberforce Lecture in Hull in
March this year – ideas just endorsed by Caricon ministers and which will
be put to Heads of Government in July.
The Deputy Prime Minister said:
‘This has been a very important visit commemorating the passing of the
legislation that led to the abolition of the slave trade. Earlier this
year I visited Sierra Leone and Ghana and have this week visited Jamaica
at the request of their government and Barbados at the express invitation
of their Prime Minister. As well as reflecting on the history of this
vile trade, I have been discussing how we can tackle modern forms of
slavery, specifically considering legacy issues with these countries.
There is a debate for young people in the autumn in the Houses of
Parliament, chaired by Mr Speaker. At this event, children from Western
Africa and the Caribbean, as well as school children from the UK, will debate these important issues.
Following on from this visit, I am developing proposals on how we take
forward legacy issues, and will raise this with the Prime Minister and