Stuart: Count our blessings!
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has declared that despite the economic challenges currently facing Barbados, as a people, Barbadians still have much to celebrate, and must continue to count their blessings
As he addressed a host of distinguished guests, including Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, Members of Parliament, the Cabinet, the Judiciary, members of the Diplomatic Corps and this year’s Independence honourees, at the Toast To The Nation at St Ann’s Fort yesterday, marking the end of national events celebrating 48 years of Independence, Stuart pointed out that Barbados did not enjoy “any special dispensation under the laws of international economics”, and stressed that the economic challenges currently facing Barbados flowed from those that had been impacting the international community since the last quarter of 2007.
However, the Prime Minister maintained that Barbadians had it within their capability to turn the situation around. He continued: “History does not unfold in a straight line, there are ups and downs. The history of Barbados has prepared us for all of this . . . . Our people are a resilient people, always exhibiting an exemplary strength of character and indomitable courage. Therefore, in spite of the challenges we have had to face over the past 48 years, Barbados and Barbadians have prevailed.”
Stuart also took the opportunity to thank the international community for its assistance during Barbados’ 48 years of nationhood.
Before the Toast To The Nation, hundreds of patriotic Barbadians early yesterday morning gathered at at the Bridgetown Port where uniformed groups participated in the two-hour-plus Independence Parade. Sir Elliott inspected the troops while Stuart took the salute.
The detachments represented included the Barbados Defence Force, Royal Barbados Police Force, Barbados Legion Drum Corps, Cadet Corps, Boy Scouts Association, Girl Guides Association, Barbados Red Cross Society, St John Ambulance Association, Seventh-Day Adventist Pathfinders, Barbados Fire Service, Barbados Prison Service, Government Security Guard Service, Barbados Youth Service, and Barbados Landship Association.
The impressively executed march past was directed by Commander Aquinas Clarke and Assistant Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce, second in command.
And, at the national service themed Hope, Healing And Strength Through Unity, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Sunday, Independence Day, Canon Noel Burke appealed for greater unity among Barbadians to deal with the economic problems plaguing the society, crime and violence, and other challenges.
“We may sometimes argue that our major problem is money, or perhaps the lack thereof; but we may very well find on further examination that if we were to have all the money in the world we will still have some issues . . . and those issues may very well be moral and spiritual,” Burke observed.
The canon also identified other challenges as the breakdown in the family structure and dangers of chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) and urged residents to exercise greater restraint when eating, noting that too many of the country’s young people were dying due to CNCDs.
“I’m calling on us to be watchful over ourselves, our lives, and our bodies and take greater control . . . ,” he pleaded.
There were cultural presentations through dance, song and instrumental renditions throughout the service.