Friday, November 09, 2007
Barbadian National Symbols & Emblems: National Flower and Pledge
The National Flower of Barbados is the Pride of Barbados (Dwarf Poinciana or Flower Fence).
Poinciana pulcherrima LINNAEUS
Syn. Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L) SWARTZ
References to this flower were recorded as early as 1657. 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 1½ inches across with five sepals. The ten stamens are long and the pistils project from the centre of the flower. The fifth petal is far smaller than the other four. The stamens have coloured filaments with anthers at the tips however, the eleventh filament bears a stigma and is the style.
The branches are prickly and the leaves are large and doubly compound about one foot long and six inches wide with many small leaflets.
The National Flower is accepted as the red variety with the Yellow Margin on the petals. It appears on the Coat of Arms.
THE 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 (left) a former Teacher and Education Officer of Primary Schools. Mr. Vaughan was born in 1910 at St. Simon's in the Parish of St. Andrew. He started his career as a Pupil Teacher and between 1928 and 1944 he taught at a number of Primary Schools in the Parish of St. Andrew. He was trained at the Rawle Training Institute, forerunner of Erdiston College 1933-1935. In 1944 he emigrated to St. Lucia and continued his career as a Teacher until 1954 when he entered the Tuskeegee Institute of Alabama, United States of America where he pursued a course in Primary education. He returned to St. Lucia on 1952 and served there until 1954 when he returned home to Barbados.
He taught at St. John the baptist Boys School, served as Headmaster of Holy Innocents and then acted as an Education Officer for six years. He retired in November 1970. He was recalled from retirement in 1973 to the 14+ scheme which was designed to assist those children who had left school at age 14.
The choice of the National Pledge was announced on April 2, 1973 by the Hon. Erskine Sandiford then Minister of Education, Youth Affairs, Community Development and Sport.
In a competition which attracted 167 entrants Mr. Vaughan's composition was chosen as the National Pledge. He was awarded a prize of $100.
The judges of the competition were Mrs. Enid Lynch, Miss Doreen Mayers, Mr. Charlie Best, Mr. John Wickham, Mr. A. N. Forde and Mr. H. A. Vaughan, Chairman of the Committee.
Mr. Vaughan died on September 16, 2003 at the age of 92.
Photos and copy courtesy of www.barbados.gov.bb