He made the statement today in the House of Assembly while congratulating Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on achieving 50 years of independence. He gave the assurance that an independent Caribbean was just as talented as any other part of the world and described Jamaica as the sprint capital of the world.
The Prime Minister argued that proceeding to independence in 1962 was a major step because it was another alarm bell for the entire dismantling of the British Empire. He said this process began in the 1940s when India became independent. Stuart however maintained that it was Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago who were the trendsetters in the Caribbean.
He argued that any objective evaluation of the past 50 years would show that the independence experiment had worked, both countries had made their mark on the international stage and had contributed to the development of their people and the region. The Prime Minister argued that there was something wrong with Caribbean people believing that they were inferior to people anywhere else in the world.
“The independent Caribbean has demonstrated that we are as talented, we are as resourceful and we are as resilient as people to be found anywhere else in the world,” Stuart told the House.
“And if we be reminded of that, it happened that the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence and the 50th anniversary of Trinidad’s independence coincided with the Olympics recently concluded in London. Nobody will deny that Jamaica marked itself out for imperishable renown as a result of the performance of its track and field athletes, as did Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas and Grenada.
“And it matters that on the day before that country was suppose to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it made a loud statement in the capital from which it was ruled as crown colony and let its former colonial master know we have survived the crossing and you are second or third or fourth to us in this, but we have triumphed above you in this respect.”
Stuart maintained that civilisations were not built on matters economic only because economic fortunes were subject to ebbs and flow and that has happened with countries all across the world. He stressed that if it was money that mattered Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas or Grenada could not have made the mark at London that they had.
“It is the spirit of a people ultimately that will determine what will become of that people,” Stuart said.
He noted that the six million people who made up the CArICOM arrangement had produced three Nobel laureates already, as well as Barbados’ only living national hero, Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Vivian richards, the Three Ws, Brian Lara and a number of great
scholars like Dr Eric Williams and the late Walter rodney. He maintained that the region had its own unique contribution to make to the treasury of human civilisation and “we do not want to be like anybody else and we have confidence in who we are”.
“So I would have thought it an act amounting almost to betrayal if I had let this opportunity pass to place on record the congratulations of the Government and people of Barbados to our CArICOM brothers and sisters, but particularly to Jamaica celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence and Trinidad and Tobago about to celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence for the stellar performances just registered at London.” Stuart said. (NC)