Two of Barbados’ leading and legendary musicians, Anthony ‘Gabby’ Carter and Emil Straker, and an academic, Professor Eudine Barriteau, led the lists of persons receiving national awards as the island observed its 53rd independence anniversary.
Additionally, honorary awards were bestowed on Barbadian descendent and former US attorney general, Eric Holder, and Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when the island observed the milestone with pomp and ceremonious displays by the military and paramilitary before thousands at Kensington Oval, Saturday.
A total of 26 persons from all walks of Bajan life along with the Ghanaian president were honored during the ceremony that was followed by a parade through the streets of Bridgetown.
Government stated that those awarded spanned a range of persons in the public and private sector in the areas of business and entrepreneurship, public service, sports, education, the trades union movement, entertainment, culture, humanitarian and philanthropic efforts, and community service.
Grenada-born Barriteau was awarded the Order of the Freedom of Barbados for her outstanding contribution to tertiary education and pioneering leadership in the development of gender studies and promotion of gender equality.
Gabby was honored with the Order of the Freedom of Barbados for his seminal work in music, his contribution to the calypso art form, and folk music through an exceptional repertoire of lyrics and melody, and his work with young people in music.
Emil Straker’s citation for the Knight of St. Andrew award stated that his honor is for being the creative force in the establishment and the development of the internationally renowned Merrymen and its unique genre of music.
Holder, the US’ first African American attorney general, has been awarded the Honorary Award of the Order of Freedom of Barbados.
Holder’s parents are from Barbados, and he was awarded for his distinguished and extraordinary service to Barbados, the Caribbean Diaspora and to humanity at large.
Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was granted an honorary Order of the Freedom of Barbados award for his distinguished and extraordinary service to Barbados, the Caribbean Diaspora and to humanity at large.
The Barbados government earlier this year introduced Order of the Freedom of Barbados as an award for outstanding citizens and associated persons. It now stands as the nation’s highest honor equal to the traditional Knight or Dame of St. Andrew award that is more associated with former colonial masters, the United Kingdom.
“We must claim our destiny and we must now establish an equivalent award under the freedom of Barbados so that Barbadians who do not want to be known as Sir or Dame of St. Andrew can still have the highest level award in this country,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said when announcing the award in June.
“There will still be some who want the Knight of Saint Andrew, but there are many, many of us of the independence generation who would not know how to accept that award, those persons in claiming the freedom of Barbados would hereafter be known as The Most Excellent,” she proclaimed.