By: Spokesman Newsroom

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Tuesday 8th August 2023) – History enthusiast Ras Iyah of the Nyabinghi Theocracy Order has underlined the importance of the history of St.Kitts-Nevis being part of school’s curriculum “so that we can see that the youths can have a sense of urgency on what this initiative really stands for.”

He made the appeal while appearing on a weekly episode of ‘Conversations Reflections & the Way Forward’ Independence 40 Panel Discussion series held on Thursday 3rd August 2023 with interviewer Ian Richards on topic of the historical accounts of 1935 Buckley’s Uprising.

Government minister, Parliamentary Representative For West Basseterre (Constituency Three) Konris Maynard, who appeared on the panel discussion also, expressed that cabinet is committed to the topic of the local history curriculum in schools.

Photo: Government minister, Parliamentary Representative For West Basseterre (Constituency Three) Konris Maynard (Spokesman Screenshot)

According to Ras Iyah: “These history [details] need to curtail and put forward in the curriculum for our youths to have a sense of who and what they really coming from and where they going.”

“It’s a very shame to see our own history can’t be taught to our youths in the curriculum but the things that we enhance are coming from the same people under the European colonialism. I went through it. That’s why I could talk about it basically because when you look at it I didn’t know anything about the Buckley’s Uprising while in school. I know it while I reached out as a Rasta and I take in depths study in what this meant to us as being a historical record to our people to be significantly standing here today to say thank you for what they have done,” he said further.

Asked about the importance of having such topics being integrated into the curriculum in schools, Maynard replied: “This is something that I know that the cabinet is committed to; finding ways in how we will make this compulsory for persons to learn our history.”

He continued: “I understand now that history is optional in [secondary] school. When I was in school, it was not optional. That’s something that we need to look and even if it’s optional at that level in terms of our own local history, we should make sure  that it is part of the curriculum just as it is in some other countries where it’s a rite of passage; you have to pass through that history in order to be deemed fully a citizen, and we have such an extraordinary book of history  that we have to tell the story, and so the Cabinet is committed to that and out of the committee we’ve formed and the plans that we have , we have a number of key historical events that we’re going to insist and ensure that our children are keenly aware of what transpired many many years ago.”

Maynard shared his view that the Buckley’s Uprising led to the growth of democracy in the English- speaking Caribbean.

“It is because of that particular event that led to a number of inquisitions. It allowed for Labour unions to become legal which then led to the working class having more to say. It then led to adult suffrage in a number of these countries [Trinidad, Jamaica, Belize, and Honduras] including in St.Kitts and Nevis. So, it led to political victory of the people in these countries which led to democracy so I consider the uprising to be the birthplace of democracy and I think the people of St.Kitts and Nevis should really register this as something significant that St.Kitts and Nevis had a role to play in the development of democracy in the Caribbean.”

In giving an overall synopsis of the 1935 Buckley’s Uprising, Maynard highlighted: “Back in the 1930s the working conditions in St.Kitts and Nevis had deteriorated and over the workers were asked to do more work for less pay. In December 1934 or thereabout, there were some estates which offered a little bonus for work done but the estate in Buckley’s refused to give that little bonus although their pay was significantly small, the bonus was also  significantly small, they did not get it , and the workers felt aggrieved by that and they went to their estate  manager which was Dorbridge at the time… seeking some assistance to help them in their impoverish state really and he refused and so a group of those workers started marching around St.Kitts to other estates to garner support and then they came back around to Buckley’s Estate. This was around January 28th or thereabout in 1935. Dorbridge was still unmoved and resisted and I think he-if my history is correct-fired some shots and what ensued was an altercation between the workers and the estate manager. Stones were pelted and so on, and a riot broke out… It became a big riot such that…defense force at the time could not contain the crowd. Three persons lost their lives [Joseph Samuel, John Allen and James Archibald] throughout that episode, nine persons were injured and this caused obviously a great alarm in the country and this is what is termed the Buckley’s Uprising when the workers decided that they were standing up for their rights…”