FROM THE ARCHIVES: Making its mark


The name Clement Payne has become synonymous with Barbados’ turbulent period in the late 1930s. But of equal importance, yet less known, are names such as Darnley Rollock, Arthur Babb and Livingstone Burrowes. 

These faceless names are three of 14 men who were killed when riots tore through the island in July 1937. 

But all 14 are not forgotten for those who are observant. 

Many have probably passed the memorial in their honour and not noticed it. 

Or many might have glanced at it, the memory gone before the sight fades away. 

The monument to their ultimate sacrifice stands just off the road at Callenders, Christ Church. Looking down on it are multi-storied houses. The Barbados Golf Club is a stone’s throw away. 

The white stone edifice and its marble plaque bears the names of the 14 men who were killed when the Riot Act was read on July 27, 1937. 

It proclaims it was erected to “perpetuate the memory of the fourteen people who were killed during the 1937 Riot on this island and the others who were given the most severe sentences of imprisonment in history for taking part in the riot.” 

“We will remember them,” the epitaph ends before another plaque list the 14 fallen men. 

It was originally unveiled in 1996. 

The monument and its tribute was the brainchild of Lloyd C. Wilson – now deceased. 

With a burning conscience and a deep pocket, the businessman set about erecting a permanent reminder to Barbadians. 

His son James Wilson reminisced to the Weekend Nation about his father’s involvement in the stone tribute. 

“Lloyd C. Wilson thought we needed a monument to represent those who had died because nothing of significance had been done,” he said. 

And so, Wilson earmarked a plot of land he owned in Callenders, Christ Church, and did his research, travelling overseas when the digging here was less than fruitful. 

“He researched as best he could to find out about all the people who were killed. He spoke to noted historian and chronicler Warren Alleyne,” his son recalled. 

“He did a lot of research in London about the riots as well,” James added. 

The next step was finding the right person to do the massive job of finding an architect to design the coral stone and concrete structure. The monument took about three weeks to construct. 

But support was anything but overwhelming. 

“It was kinda lukewarm,” James remembered. “But it does help people to remember because after ours was erected, one was erected in Oistins, so it did help in a big way.” 

The words on the marble plaque also speak of the Lloyd C. Wilson Foundation. 

When the plaque was officially unveiled, the then principles had said the foundation was supposed to be geared towards “perpetuating the memory of those persons who have contributed to the development of Barbados; to assisting people to become self- sufficient and responsible members of society and to granting loans”. 

But Wilson explained the foundation had since become defunct. 

This article was published on July 24, 2009.


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