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Open letter to the government and people of Barbados
Published on June 26, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

Without Prejudice

Re: The matter of Sydney Burnet-Alleyne

I write in my capacity as Chairman of the ‘Non State Actors Reparations Commission’ (NsARC) to request that this letter be made public. The objective for this request is to ask Government to have a debate on the floor of parliament on the matter of Sydney Burnet-Alleyne. It is time that Barbadians know whether or not Sydney Burnett-Alleyne is free to return to Barbados unhindered.

The NsARC is a Coalition of Human Rights and Social Justice Organisations, established on October 12, 2013 as a counterpart to the Government’s Task Force on Reparations, established on October 12, 2012. From as far back as the 1970s I have been in the struggle for human rights and social justice for black people who were victims of racism and other forms of injustices in England.

I first met Mr. Sydney Burnet-Alleyne in the 1980s and he brought to my attention the subject matter of social injustices in Barbados and some of the other CARICOM countries. Following our discussions I took the initiative and decided to do some research into the history of Barbados. It was then that I began to pay serious attention to the social affairs of Barbados. On resettling to Barbados in 1994 after 31 years and standing as an Independent Candidate in the general elections that year I began to understand better what Mr. Alleyne meant.

The work done by Prof Sir Hillary Beckles has also made a profound impact on my studying of the social history of Barbados. In particular, his most recent book ‘The First Black Slave Society: Britain's Barbarity Time in Barbados - 1636-1876 and his many lectures. On Tuesday 13th June on the occasion of the 7th Annual George Lamming Distinguished Lecture entitled; “Britain’s Perfect Caribbean, Crime: Ignored Genocide, Faked Emancipation, Insincere Independence, and No Reparations”, Sir Hilary gave a outstanding overview of Barbados’ history in the struggle for social justice.

Sir Hilary’s work reaffirms for me, why the name Sydney Burnet-Alleyne is legendary among most Barbadians over the age of Fifty Years Old. Many articles have been written about this legend; the article in the Sunday Sun of August 17, 2003 entitled “Sydney – Yearns for Home” stated that Mr. Alleyne was ashamed of some of the things that was being said about him and was used for political purposes. In an article written by me in the Sunday Advocate of September 20, 2003 entitled “Sydney – Pardon or Apology! I urged the then BLP administration to address the saga of Mr. Alleyne before his passing. In the Sunday Sun of October 10, 2004 Sydney Alleyne was again in the news in an article entitled “Burnett-Alleyne: Keep the Queen” in which Mr. Alleyne claimed that successive government have denied him a Barbados passport and the right to visit his country of birth unhindered because of the allegations that were based upon lies. The latest article on this outstanding Barbadian was in the Sunday Sun of August 18, 2013 by Maria Bradshaw entitled; “Nothing but lies! Whatever become of Sydney Burnett-Alleyne?”

Mr. Harold Hoyte, Editor Emeritus of the Daily Nation has also made the matter of Sydney Burnett-Alleyne his concern. In his book “Eye Witness to Order and Disorder” chapter six - ‘The Cheques Election - Historic happening’ (2012) pages 51-58 much is said of this legend of a man who refuses to give up his fight for justice, and in the book ‘Political Warriors’ (2015) chapter 22, page 375 Mr. Hoyte has given much information on Sydney Burnett-Alleyne, who admitted that he plaid a dual role in the independent movement in Africa.

Mr. Alleyne prides himself on being one of the best economists Barbados ever produced. He maintains that his reason for establishing the Alleyne Mercantile Bank back in May 1975 was to help Barbados prepare for “a government of national reconstruction” to adequately prepare for the economic shocks it is presently experiencing. He is still confident even today that as one of Barbados’ best economists he can assist in finding solutions to the country's present economic problems, if the injustices against him were resolved.

At present Barbados is in an important leadership position as CARICOM advance the claim for reparatory justice for people of African descent; demanding reparations including an apology for the wrongs done against our people by the Europeans countries. Barbados should therefore follow the example of Jamaica in addressing some issues at home; i.e the Government of Jamaica has apologised to the Rastafarian community for the unjustified treatment experienced by members of that Faith Base Group who were treated as enemies of the state.

In my efforts over the years of asking the Government of Barbados to address the matter of Sydney Burnett-Alleyne I wrote to the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart and he responded by telephone, informing me that Sydney Burnett-Alleyne was free to return to Barbados unhindered. Likewise former parliamentarians informed me that there were no reasons why Mr. Alleyne could not return to Barbados. However, Mr. Alleyne a “Political Warrior” who is aware of Barbados’ history is not comfortable in accepting the word of mouth assurance of individual politicians. He is of the view that such assurance should be made public that he is free to return to Barbados unhindered from the floor of the House of Assembly.

I agree with Mr. Alleyne and I am confident that Sydney Burnett-Alleyne would find it a great honour to be given the opportunity to return to his place of birth to celebrate his 90th birthday in February 2018. He has made it known that one major desire before he leaves this world is to return to Barbados to visit the grave of his late mother in St. John. It would be appropriate if as an act of state-like-mercy such assurance could be given before the next General Elections.

When speaking to Mr. Alleyne one can sense the pain and anger coming from a senior citizen. He is the oldest of his siblings alive but is alienated from his family, which should not be. On June 7 the Barbados Museum & Historic Society launched the Barbados Family History Project encouraging Barbadians at home and abroad to research and document their family history. The Alleyne family is at a disadvantage by not having access to the oldest member of their family because of the allegations that were made against him.

It would be helpful to Barbadians and for the records of Barbados if the Government of Barbados was to make it public knowledge whether or not this Eight Nine (89) year old Barbadians Sydney Burnett-Alleyne was guilty of the allegation of treason and if he was not guilty he should be given an apology for the humiliation he has suffered over the past 40 years of living in fear of his life, which do constitutes a violation of his human rights.

The allegations against Mr. Alleyne were made at a time shortly after the 6th October 1976 incident when the Cubana Airline Flight 455 was brought down in Barbados’ airspace by a boom killing all 73 persons on board. It was natural therefore that this being the first ever terrorist bombing of an Airline that most Barbadians would have believed the allegation made against Mr. Alleyne; that he was about to invade Barbados; a one man invasion on a small boat.

The Non State Actors Reparations Commission is therefore appealing to the government on behalf of Barbadians for social justice in the matter of Sydney Burnett-Alleyne; that this matter be debated on the floor of parliament before parliament is suspended for the next General Elections.

Rev. Buddy A. Larrier
NsARC
 
Reads: 3903





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