History of our National Symbols
Barbados National Pledge
I pledge allegiance to my country Barbados and to my flag,
To uphold and defend their honour,
And by my living to do credit to my nation, wherever I go.
The National Pledge was written by Mr Lester Vaughan, a former Teacher and Education Officer of Primary Schools. In a competition which attracted 167 entrants Mr Vaughan’s composition was chosen as the National Pledge. The choice of the National Pledge was announced on 2 April 1973 by the Hon. Erskine Sandiford, then Minister of Education, Youth Affairs, Community Development and Sport.
Coat of Arms of Barbados
On 14th February, 1966 the Coat of Arms of Barbados was presented by the Queen to the President of the Senate, Sir Grey Massiah. The Arms were designed by Mr Neville Connell, for many years Curator of the Barbados Museum, with artistic assistance by Mrs Hilda Ince. The Golden Shield of the Arms carries two Pride of Barbados flowers (the National Flower) and the Bearded Fig Tree (Ficus Citrifolia) which was common on the island at the time of its settlement. On either side of the shield are the supporters – on the right (dexter) is a dolphin symbolic of the fishing industry and on the left (sinister) is a Pelican.
The Coat of Arms carries the motto "Pride and Industry".
The National Anthem
In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride is sprung
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood
We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate
The Lord has been the people's guide
For past three hundred years
With him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears
Upward and onward we shall go
Inspired, exulting, free
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity
The music for the National Anthem was composed by Mr C Van Roland Edwards, who was born in 1912. Though he had no formal training in music al composition, he was a composer of some renown.
A committee which comprised Mr Bruce St. John, Mr Frank Collymore, Mrs Enid Lynch, Mr George Lamming, Mr Gerald Hudson and Mr John Fletcher was appointed to oversee the selection of the National Anthem
In 1967 the music of the National Anthem was re-arranged. This work was undertaken by Inspector Prince Cave of the Royal Barbados Police Band. The Anthem was given a more sustained harmony while at the same time retaining the original tune.
The Lyrics of the National Anthem of Barbados were written by Mr Irving Burgie who was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA of a Barbadian mother and American father. Mr Burgie has composed works for 'Ballad for Bimshire' and 'Island in the Sun', he has also written for a number of internationally famous artistes. Among his works is 'The West Indian Song Book'.
The National Flag
The National Flag was designed by Mr Grantley Prescod, an outstanding secondary school master and Education Officer. The Flag of Barbados The National Flag of Barbados is composed of three equal vertical panels – the outer panels of ultramarine and the centre panel of gold. A broken trident in black is in the centre of the flag. The British standard colour code numbers for the colours of the flag are as follows – Ultramarine (BCC 148), Gold (BS 0/002). The flag is designated in the proportion 3:2. The description of the flag – Blue for the sea and sky of Barbados; Gold for the sand of its beaches. The symbol in the centre panel is the Trident of the Mythical sea god, Neptune. This symbol appears in the Seal of the colony which was replaced by the Barbados Coat of Arms. The shaft of the Trident is broken indicating Barbados' break with its historical and constitutional ties as a former colony.
The National Flower
The National Flower of Barbados is the Pride of Barbados (Dwarf Poinciana or Flower Fence). It is a shrub and is often pruned into a low hedge. If untrimmed, it grows to a height of 10 to 15 feet. It is a member of the Legume family and can be found in other tropical countries. The Pride of Barbados blooms most of the year. The more common varieties are a fiery red and yellow although other colour variations can be found. The flower has five petals with a yellow margin in a pyramidal inflorescence. Each flower is about 1.5 inches across with five sepals. The 10 stamens are long and the pistils project from the centre of the flower. The fifth petal is far smaller than the other four.