What about busts to immortalize our national heroes.
A name for the new national hospital is what's being spoken about now, while our stadium is still referred to as Windsor Park, so it begs the question how serious are we. Victoria, King George and others are names still entrenched in our city. Maybe they have some historical value one may argue and should be protected just as we sought to do with the Gardens wall, the Cabrits and so on.
I just wish we could preserve and help immortalize the names of many of our heroes, past and present, who are of Afro- Dominican ethnicity just as we do for the persons I just mentioned.
Amidst the agony of our first prime minister fighting for his life and being adjacent to Alwin Bully it hit me last week: "What are we doing by way of bust or statues to preserve and record, for generations to come the contributions of such stalwarts in our country. In the USA there is such respect for individuals who have served at the helm of the country that once you become a President your title remains with you until death.
If Alwin Bully is not deserving of a statue or bust in his honour then I submit no other living Dominican is. I have already said that this gentleman stands on the same cultural plateau as Cissy Cauderion and Edward Oliver Leblanc who have long departed this world.
The gentleman in question does not know that this article is being published. Since he was my former Dominica Grammar School (DGS) principal I have admired him as the one who designed our national flag and a theatrical guru of sorts having entertained and provoked thought for hundreds in Dominica and Jamaica where he served as UNESCO's cultural advisor after having served as first chief cultural officer in Dominica.
His paintings, artwork, designs, compositions; folk and contemporary art have had a tremendous impact on the lives of this country in a pre and post independence era. He has shaped minds, stimulated introspection, action and entertainment on stage, on radio (Green Gold) on our walls, through his paintings, costumes for national queen pageants.
Ironically it seems so acceptable to have a bust of the former Venezuelan president Simon Bolivar in our country and have our people respect and reverence it during annual observances. A group of Dominican youth is utilized occasionally to bring attention to their National hero by singing songs, playing the cuatro the country's national instrument and tributes are showered by our own parliamentarians almost as if they knew this guy personally.
Kudos to our leaders that over time we do have streets, buildings, and stands in the stadium named after great leaders. Today we seek a name for a soon to be replaced Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and Dr. Bernard Sorhaindo, a man who delivered almost the entire population for some three decades or Dame Eugenia Charles who really revolutionized primary health care along with Dr. Carissa Etienne are all viable candidates. However, the impact of a statue is much greater than a building or street named in honour of someone. This is why Catholics, in particular, have images of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ in their holy places or around their necks instead of a street or building in Jerusalem.
In fact we have three statues in this country Sir Rawle and Simon Bolivar (two non-Dominicans) while the other is supposedly a representation of the maroons-'no name, no warrant'. Yet we have Jacko, Balla and other great chiefs who defied all odds against colonial masters as another great Dominican Dr. Honychurch has creatively immortalized in the Dominican story.
Jamaica has their statue of Bob Marley, Cuba has Che and Barbados has quite a few national and sporting heroes but we in Dominica cannot point to one hero worthy of erecting a statue in his honor? We find no one deserving. Or is it too expensive to have a few erected to bring attention and instill pride in the coming generation?
Sometimes it's just petty politics or jealousy that prevent us from recognizing; few has done more for culture in Sout' City than Bele Queen Orian , Chubby Mark, Gordon Henderson's international prominence in music.
We all have and will continue to do wrong, but that should not robe us of our entitlement to honor and respect where due, even after we are gone. Shamefully a number of youth are only hearing of Patrick John after he became ill and his leg was amputated and not as the father of our nation.
Dominica does have individuals worthy of recognition and have gone beyond the call of duty; therefore, as we observe Emancipation Day and give out token Golden Drum awards, I propose, now that he in his twilight years let's start with Bully. From a cultural point of view, if not him…who? If not now…when?