By: Precious Mills
BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 1st February 2019)- For yet another year, the Rastafari Nyabinghi Theocracy paid tribute to the 1935 Buckley’s Uprising, and as usual the event was used to echo calls-including debatable sentiments- to have a monument erected in honour of the significant historical event now in its 84th annual tribute.
A ceremony held on Monday 28th January (the actual commemorative day) at Buckley’s Estate was observed under the theme: ‘The Martyrs Ultimate Sacrifice Of the Buckley’s Uprising Should Never Go Untold.’
Special gifts compliments of TDC and commemorative plaques from the Rastafari group were presented to 86- year- old Viola Warner, daughter of John Allen who is one of the recognised figures of the Buckley’s Uprising who lost his life that day as well as to Lady Rosamund Inniss, widow of Sir Probyn Inniss who was former Governor of St.Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla and also a well-known historian.
Notably, that day was Warner’s birthday. She lost her dad at the age of two.
Chairperson of the Organisation of Rastafari In Unity (ORU) Ras Iroy from the sister of Nevis, applauded the yearly tribute efforts saying in part: “Big up the Nyabinghi Theocracy Order for standing firm in being a leading example in this country in what it means for I and I to defend I and I rights, what it means to stand up for your rights. Nyabinghi Theocracy Order and the Rastafari community has done that job…”
Chairperson of the Buckley’s Uprising Committee Akilah Byron-Nisbett who is also Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly said the committee has been formed by the government “to put into motion the plan for the memorialisation of the event of January 28th 1935.”
She continued: “I have been made aware and fully schooled on previous committees or groups that came together in the past with the hopes of being able to do the same that is memorialise the great event …However, here we are on the 84th anniversary of this great event in our history and still we speak of trying to find ways in which we can forever etch the event of that day into the history of our great country. I have heard the cries of other members who are now serving on this committee.”
Committee members include Stanley Franks, Livingston Huggins, Ras Iyah (of the Nyabinghi Theocracy Order) and Charice Gumbs.
“They (committee members) have become weary of the continued talk and no action. They have become disheartened that year after year, we come here at the site of the Buckley’s Estate. Great speeches are given but nothing more than words until the next January 28th is upon us,” Byron-Nisbett stated.
She gave commitment that “this committee will not just be another talk shop. We will work beyond the challenges that we are already facing and for once and for all memorialise the events of January 28th 1935.”
According to her: “We must do right by our martyrs. We must do right and stand by the stand that they made and truly work towards to forever memorialising the events of this days. No more talk, no more words, it’s time for action. I am therefore calling on everyone here to stand with us the committee in seeing the events of the Buckley’s Uprising truly being memorialised for once and for all.”
The Buckley’s Uprising Committee head said come the 85th anniversary “we will indeed be able to say that we have accomplished the task of memorialising the events of this day in history. It is time for action!”
Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Three (of the St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Opposition) Konris Maynard thanked members of Nyabinghi Theocracy Order “for their deep unwavering commitment to the memory of the martyrs and our ancestors who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today. Truth be told had it not been for the Nyabinghi Theocracy Order, we may not annually pause to recognise this day to pay tribute to this remarkable sacrifice that our forefathers made.”
He added: “I therefore join with the call that I have made over the years that apart from a monument which we must have and which has to be done, and apart from recognition as a heritage site, January 28th should be made a national holiday.”
Maynard addressed the labelled talk shop attached to paying tribute to the 1935 events and spoke about the role he has been playing to honour such.
“Now many people this evening have mentioned that every year January 28th we have a talk shop and very little or no action. Now although my time as representative of this area has been on the opposition benches of Parliament, I have committed to do whatever I can to achieve the goal of memorialisation of this most historic site, and so over the last five years or so, I have continually sponsored the erection and re-erection of the billboard as you enter Buckley’s Estate which in small measure memorialse the events of 1935 and is the only thing we have at the present in the location that does this. This of course is not enough. I again give my commitment to this initiative to memorialise the history because our ancestors deserve this.”
Maynard went on to signal his interest to be a part of the Buckley’s Uprising Committee.
“ I believe that this event the birth of democracy is of such national importance that it should rise above politics and political differences and therefore I wish to let the committee know that as the elected Parliamentary Representative for this area and as the representative of the Labour movement for this area; a Labour movement that was so instrumental in bring social advancement to the people after the vents of 1935 I am willing and available to be a part of the committee to ensure that all views and perspectives play a part in creating what should be a truly national treasure permanently etched in our history in stone and public recognition.”