By: Spokesman Newsroom

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (JANUARY 2018)- Well- known educator Glenroy Blanchette  has made a call for the Buckley’s Uprising of January 1935 to attain a national holiday status here in the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis.

He shared such sentiments while speaking at the annual tribute event organised by the Rastafari Nyabinghi Theocracy Order which was held on Sunday 28th January in the Buckley’s community on the 82nd anniversary.

Among those in attendance were Minister of Labour Vance Amory; Director of Culture Troy ‘Biff’ Mills; Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Three Konris Maynard (of the Opposition) and community activist Dr. Terrance Drew.

In his opening remarks, Blanchette spoke about the wide scale patriotic attention that the historic event deserves.

“I’m having mixed feelings this afternoon. In one instance, I’m happy to be here and in another instance, my heart is sad; sad because for me, this event should be a grand occasion, huge celebration where we see thousands of school children assembling this precinct where we have music and dance and poetry, where we are able to reenact the events that unfolded that day in January 28th 1935 and the following day.”

He added: “And so my heart is sad because we have missed the mark somewhere along the line why our people do not see the importance of this event and so we have to rethink how we do business here in this country of ours in order to celebrate the persons who shed their blood, who lost their lives for us to enjoy the fruits of their labour.”

Blanchette called for the tribute event to be a national holiday as he echoed the view of well-known historian Earl Clarke.

“… It is important for me that we redouble our efforts  to get the powers that be  to recognise that  things must be done differently and I fervently believe that January 28th should be a national holiday in St.Kitts and Nevis and so I call on the powers to look at this event, nationalise this day and it would be the most fitting tribute as Earl Clarke has said-the most fitting tribute  to our forefathers and foremothers for the role that they have played in order to help us enjoy  the freedoms that we enjoy today.”

President of the St.Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union Joseph O’Flaherty Jr. touched on the historical background of the Buckley’s Uprising.

“As we stand here today, we remember the lives lost in the Buckley’s Uprising, stemming from the simple and just cause of requesting that wages be returned to the previous level for the cutting of the sugar cane fields. We remember the lives of James Archibald, John Allen and Joseph Samuel, who died when Police fired upon the crowd. We remember also those who were injured in that notorious incident.”

He went on to say: “It must be noted that in 1935, living conditions on St. Kitts, and indeed on many of the British colonies in the Caribbean, was near deplorable, with much suffering occurring among the workers.

O’Flaherty also pointed out that “workers here in St. Kitts took a stand against exploitation and bad social conditions is worthy of note, and history reveals that from the uprising here, it was the spark that led to other uprisings in other islands of the Caribbean – from Barbados and Trinidad in the south to Jamaica and Belize in the northwestern Caribbean.”

He continued: “We recall, too, that this uprising had popular support around the entire island, not just on the Buckley’s estate, and it was perhaps, one of the first illustrations of a united front on a large scale among workers in this country. We note also that the uprising was essentially about our people trying to have a better life for their families. And in the face of intransigence of the planter’s manager and his threats, workers stuck to their demands, even after the militia was called out.”

More event coverage to be provided in next week’s publication