Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), a British admiral, has been etched in the minds of Barbadians as a great sea fearer. His Statue almost salutes the morning sun as it rises from the east making its way over the treasury building as its warmth engulfs what is now known as Heroes Square in Bridgetown, Barbados.
As the statue faces the east he now gazes on the Obelisk, and the eight step path to enlightenment which also adorns the SQUARE. It is believed that Horatio Nelson might have been a Freemason which would allow him to be at home there.
Horatio Nelson in some quarters is believed to have save Barbados from "French" invaders, and so a statue of him was erected in Barbados' Bridgetown though he had no real ties to the island, but might have visited a few times.
In 1805 Nelson lead a British fleet in a battle off Cape Trafalgar against a combined French and Spanish fleet where he lost his life, but the British won the battle.
The ruling planter class decided that that a statue should be erected in Bridgetown in memory of the man, in an area which was named Trafalgar Square, as he had secured their way of life from the French.
The Bridgetown Nelson statue was erected in March 1813, whereas that in London was erected atop the Nelson Column in 1849. Other statues were erected in other areas of Britian and Montreal which was also part of the British Empire.
The Lord Horatio Nelson statue at this present time is some 196 years old, and once faced the west overlooking the country's main shopping area, the popular Broad Street, but was turned around to face the cenotaph/obelisk in the east by the Barbados Labour Party in 1998. Trafalgar Square was also renamed Heroes Square.
The Nelson statue has caused much controversy over the last couple of years with heated debates being broadcast over the airwaves and the internet on the popular radio program Bras Tacks on Voice of Barbados. Many have been calling for the statue to be removed from the chief town in such a central area, and from the Heroes Square on the basis of the following points:
1. The Nelson statue is the only one in our Heroes Square, and he is not a hero of the
majority who are of African decent
2. He encouraged the enslavement of Africans, and therefore is an embarrassment to us.
3. The statue is more appropriate for a marine environment.
4. The statue is more appropiate for a museum
The other side of the coin or the debate has been the following:
1. He is part of our history, and we would be destroying what is part of us.
2. Through his battle at Trafalgar we were saved from the "French" and therefore has the right to remain
3. As the statue of Horatio Nelson in Bridgetown, Barbados is older than its counterpart in Trafalgar Square, in Britain. It should be allowed to remain as a tourist attraction.
This statue will be debated upon every around independence when we celebrate our heritage, and our national heroes, but Nelson will not be touched because he might have been a Freemason and therefore is seen by some as a national hero. It is unknown if he is responsible for Masonry flourishing in Barbados.