The Barbados Story
by Olutoye Walrond
WESTMINSTER’S JEWEL, is a rare exposé on the history and evolution of Barbadian society, that will captivate both Barbadians (and other Caribbeans) and citizens of the United Kingdom unfamiliar with the history of British colonialism in the Caribbean. The book is an interesting mix of narrative and poetry, done in the author’s own elegant – at times caustic style. It presents the Barbados story in an easy, non-academic fashion – from the arrival of the British in 1627 to the present; and offers critical – sometimes biting – commentary on current social norms
In recent times there’s been a proliferation in book production by Barbadian writers. These have been largely academic works or narratives about events or personalities in modern Barbadian society. WESTMINSTER’S JEWEL is one of the few books that combines local history (in easy reading style) with critical commentary and poetry to tell the story of Barbados from the inception to the present. The Barbadian will discover things about his society he hadn’t noticed before; the non-Barbadian will learn about the sordid history of enslavement and colonialism and its legacy on the island. From a “jewel” in the imperial crown, Barbados, today, is a struggling economy, dependent on tourism and an ever-declining sugar industry. The jewel has lost its sparkle, even as the sun has set on the Empire. The ravages of slavery and colonialism are never far from the eye. But the history of slavery and colonialism has not only left an economic legacy, it has also left a major psychological legacy as well: a people with a woeful lack of self-confidence – who live in the shadows of those who once dominated their lives. Westminster’s Jewel seeks to tell that story – the story of Barbados from settlement by the British in 1627 up to the present To the Barbadian it’ll be an almost unprecedented eye-opener to local history, and a rude awakening to some of the negative features taken for granted about the society. To the British and non-Caribbean reader it might be a shocking revelation about the true nature of British enslavement and colonization in the Caribbean.
About the Author (2016)
Olutoye Walrond grew up in rural Barbados, one of a series of islands colonized by the British in the Caribbean, a region known for calypso, carnival and cricket. He shares the island with fellow Barbadian, the legendary former West Indies Cricketer, Sir Garfield Sobers. He was christened Glyne Walrond at St. John's Parish (Anglican) Church back in the 1950's. But sometime in the 1980's he adopted the Nigerian name Olutoye, in affirmation of his African ancestry. Olu - as he's called - began his working life as a primary school teacher, but settled into broadcasting, first as a Reporter with the then Rediffusion wired service, and then as a Reporter and later Television Producer/Presenter with the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation in Barbados. He retired from that position in 2013. While at CBC, he produced many educational programmes on history, social affairs and Pan Africanist themes. Some of them have won him awards, including the Caribbean Broadcasting Union award for best radio programme, the CBC award for best local television programme, the PAHO merit award for a documentary on HIV AIDS and the Barbados Association of Journalists award for best short feature in television. In 2007 he was presented with the Clement Payne Award and in 2010 he received the Oshe Emeke Award from the Barbados Commission for Pan African Affairs, both for outstanding professional contribution to Barbadian society in the field of broadcasting. In his more leisurely moments Olu enjoys playing the piano and writing. He is the author of two books of children's verse, THE CHILDREN'S VOICE and WEST INDIAN NURSERY DRAMA. WESTMINSTER'S JEWEL is his first adult work. Apart from writing and playing the piano he enjoys choral singing and does so with a group called the Cecilian Chorale.