Classic Barbadian Author sees Primary Schools as Breeding Ground for new generation of Intellectual stock – PROF. GEO. LAMMING AT GRAND SALLE

Primary schools are resources which should never be privatised, and the teachers of which must be well-trained and highly qualified since they are the guides to create new scholars to remove Barbados from quasi-colonial trappings that hinder its true growth as a nation.

This assessment was made by Professor George Lamming at the Grand Salle recently in a lecture celebrating the Barbados Community College’s 40th Anniversary. The theme for his talk that night focused on; “Nation, Culture & School What do these concepts mean?

The much-lauded author enraptured his audience for close to 90 minutes in laying out his belief, why it is important then giving proof as to why action is needed rapidly to cement support to remedy the situation.

His main catalyst for reaching this conclusion was when he paid a visit to Carrington’s Primary School. The professor recalled in the past how if there was a similar visit during his childhood then usually a white foreigner was the inspector and all pupils would be silent and circumspect.

Yet here in the 21st century at this institute he met young students of a greater precocity than he had at that age. The children were full of whispers, exuding curiosity and most importantly showing a vigour for life that must be nurtured.

Dr Lamming told people that night that Government needs to direct most of its funding towards developing places like Carrington’s since society is directed by the politics of reading. If children are taught to feed their brains the right way then their consciousness will be guided accordingly in assessing knowledge to guide the future.

The professor deems that current Bajans concern themselves incorrectly over trivial details of how the country manages itself – by which he meant if Barbados should become a Republic. In his view, since there is a seasonal cock-fight every five years that we call Elections and we do so without seeking the Crown’s perm
ission to change the legislature then we are already holding the status we seek.

The esteemed author even cited his own works to show the evolution of this country from ceasing to use the Plantation as a material fulcrum in “Castle Of My Skin;” how Colonialism started to experience its final throes in “Age Of Innocence” and to the early stages of true Independence in “The Season – Adventure.”

Therefore, in Dr Lamming’s view, we can better direct our energies to more significant activities. Such as true and complete integration of the region, where its peoples accept each other and interact as necessary – despite how Administrations across the waters ignore the hegemony and do whatever is req
uired to impede the flow that can remove their access to power.

Dr Lamming succinctly tied in both regional and Barbadian autonomies in the facts that Trinidad’s population doubled between 1844 to 1881 by the folk from St Vincent & Grenada; since the 19th Century, Guyana has two generations of Bajan lineage – which means in his view that call-in programmes are raising uncalled for hatred of Guyanese since they’re more than likely ‘removed‘ Bajans.

The professor made the distinct realisation that freedom is a biological need not an intellectual theory and it is this desire which is what makes us all Human.

Further shoring up his arguments, he sited how Europeans had a localised culture which was successfully exported. So much so, that Barbadians have a desire to be a “world-class” country… Whose standards are these, he rumbled with the crowd murmuring assent.

Development cannot be bought, borrowed nor transferred in Dr Lamming’s assessment, it must be made at one’s own pace. He left it for the audience to decide if BCC is churning out a generation of conformists or a new cadre of creative thinkers to carry us forward.

Which again hearkens back to the original premise that the primary school must be harnessed in the best way possible to generate the most effective results for all society. The professor says this revision must be swift as Barbados is degenerating into a quasi-Creole European suburb.

There were many questions that night from the audience. Professor Trevor Marshall and a 17 year old student from the BCC among them…

Marshall the historian made a bold salvo at Matthew Farley who was present – he asked Dr Lamming’s views on Senator Damien Griffith’s hairstyle of corn-rows. The author laughed and noted that hair is a universal issue, and even referred to Samson, but for himself he only noticed the sharpness of Senator Griffith’s dress that day and noted his hair last of all and in the end, the professor sees another row replacing the row over that row.

Both Margaret Gill and the BCC student had queries on use of dialect – Gill, a UWI educator, sees it as integral to everyday activity wherever while the teenager says you have to face reality and if you want a job then you can’t be using lingo that has you placed as two steps from running around in the jungle with a loincloth {Ed’s Note: That is a direct quote form the girl, ok?}!

Dr Lamming was very decisive in ending the opposing views by stating that right now on radio there is a CARICATURE of what is THOUGHT to be Bajan in commercials, but whether you have three or four variations of English to hand – you must know which usage is appropriate.

The professor demonstrated his perspective by recalling how it was for West Indians going to school in the UK from early 50’s to late 60’s, and how it took time before educators realised that bridges had to be developed for free flow of information. Nevertheless, Dr Lamming preferred the Pakistani method as a way of going forward in the UK, i.e. English as a 2nd language.

He added that just before the BCC came into existence, the theory of that day was to talk properly or NOT; the fact it is questioned nowadays shows proof of Barbados’ advancement over the decades.

But he left the audience with this thought, stop using the European equation as a cultural benchmark since in the next half-century from now the wielders of Power will hail from India,
China & Japan and therefore a new cultural paradigm will emerge.

Before Dr Lamming took his leave, made a presentation of the revived Bim magazine to the BCC with Jean Butcher-Lashley of the Liberal Arts Faculty overseeing.

2 Responses

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  1. very good blog, congratulations
    regard from Catalonia Spain
    thank you

  2. what a brilliant mind! george lamming is one of the great sons of the caribbean. i had the privilege of studying with him at university and his words continue to inspire me to this day.

    thank you for the post and so well capturing his lecture.


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