KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 1, IWN – Historian Dr. Fraser on Thursday presented his case for George Augustus McIntosh to be elevated to National Hero status.
“I am proposing George Augusts McIntosh as our next National Hero,” Fraser said during a lecture at the University of the West Indies Open Campus.
“I regard him as one of the country’s most outstanding political leaders, taking into context, of course, the times in which he functioned and the constitutional limitations that existed then,” the former head of the Open Campus said of McIntosh, who was born in Kingstown on March 6, 1886 and died Nov. 1, 1963 — living through the Riots of October 1935.
“He contributed to the life of his community both in and out of the Legislative Council. In looking at the work of McIntosh we have to bear in mind that he operated at a time when the ordinary man and woman was not allowed to vote,” Fraser said
In concluding his argument in support of McIntosh, Fraser said, “In my opinion McIntosh meets easily the criteria for qualification for National Heroes as is spelled out in The Order of National Heroes Act, 2002. He was a truly remarkable man, really a man for the times.”
The criteria for the selection of National Heroes are:
a) Has given outstanding service to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and his contribution has altered positively the course of the history of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
b) Has given service to St. Vincent and the Grenadines which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attainment of the highest excellence which has redounded to the honour of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
c) C) Has through his heroic exploits and sacrifice contributed to the improvement of the economic, social or political conditions of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Vincentians generally.
d) The person must also be deceased.
Fraser said that McIntosh fits the criteria “ more so than anyone else”.
“His struggle for elected representation which paved the way for adult suffrage that he continually pushed for; the sacrifice he made by spending 24 days in jail in his efforts to intervene with the Governor on behalf of the people; his formation of the first mass-based organisation in the country, an organisation that represented workers both in and out of the Legislative Council.
“He was the dominant figure in the Legislative Council for fifteen years. He spearheaded issues of concern to the working people, land settlement, the 1945 Land Settlement Ordinance owing a lot to his advocacy, improvement of labour conditions, formation of Trade Unions, being indeed the father of Trade Unionism in St. Vincent, The “Shakers” are able to practice their religion freely today because of his pioneering efforts on their behalf. His work and the work of the members of his Association helped in awakening the consciousness of Vincentians, politically and otherwise,” Fraser said.
“He has in other these areas, particularly the work towards elected representation in parliament, adult suffrage and Federation, the struggle to remove the ban on the Shaker Religion and the development of trade unions altered positively the course of the history of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. His service was definitely marked by visionary and pioneering leadership and was of the highest order. As the Vincentian newspaper said, “Today his successors reap a rich harvest from his unpaid efforts.” When one takes into account the political and social climate of that time, his contribution is even more remarkable.
“I am therefore arguing that George Augustus McIntosh should be made our next National Hero and am prepared to defend my position before your Committee,” Fraser further said.