What a tragedy!
GG remembers victims, as PM, Mottley call for reflection
Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave has been deeply touched by the recent tragedy, which claimed the lives of four young women from St Philip.
The accident occurred at Two Mile Hill, St Michael, not far from his official residence, Government House.
And, in a powerful Christmas message, Sir Elliott made mention of the sad October 25 morning when 22-year-old Shakira Shepherd, 23-year-old Shameka Shepherd, 18-year-old Carey Brathwaite and 25-year-old Waveney Johnson perished in the “terrible” car crash, saying “the impact of the collision will last long in the memory of those of us here as it pierced the night.
“We knew immediately that a tragedy of some kind was about to unfold, the immediate sirens confirmed this. The loss of such young lives always strikes a terrible chord with us as we ponder what their futures might have been, and how much they had to live for, so much promise and potential cut short,” said the Governor General, who also remembered others who lost loved ones both here and abroad.
“This loss occurs sometimes in unimaginable circumstances, whether through the act of a single individual acting alone or through larger acts of terrorism or civil war. Our hearts go out also, to the thousands of refugees who were forced to flee their homes in Syria, and seek shelter all over Europe and elsewhere, enduring much hardship and causing much dislocation in countries unable or unwilling to receive them. We also remember those distant from our shores who have suffered random acts of terrorism in Africa, France, the Middle East, the USA and elsewhere. The global community has to re-affirm our common humanity and values, and resolve to dedicate ourselves to democracy for all peoples, and the rule of law,” he said.
Sir Clifford also joined Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in warning Barbadians that in the midst of the consumerism, there was a deeper meaning to Christmas.
Drawing a parallel between the original Christmas story and life in Barbados today, Stuart said: “I should like to suggest to you that following a star which sets you on a path of acquiring more, more, more, will not bring you that sense of personal fulfilment which we all seek. There must be room in your vocabulary for the word ‘enough’.
“What we acquire certainly answers the question, how we live from day to day; it does not answer the question, why we live from day to day,” he said, while cautioning that “life should have a purpose that links us both to the birth and to the life’s mission of the babe of Bethlehem.
“As a parent you must accept full responsibility for your children to set the right example before them and to minister to their material, spiritual and emotional needs. That responsibility cannot and should not be off loaded on anyone else.
“As a teacher, yours is not just a job from which you can derive a salary, a promotion or a holiday. To you is entrusted for daily nurturing one of the most precious gifts any society can give: the mind of a child! The education of our children must not prepare them just for the market place. It must prepare them to cultivate respect for themselves and respect for others. It must enable them to fully realize their moral powers and their intellectual capacities. It must furnish them with a more secure hold on life with sources of lasting strength and inward happiness,” he said.
As the country embarks on its 50th anniversary of Independence, the Prime Minister called on Barbadians to reflect on the their lives.
“As we approach this Christmas season in the year 2015, I exhort you to be wise men, wise women and wise children. Follow that star that will lead you to a place where you want to be a better child, a better adult, a better senior citizen; follow that star that will show that in your role as parent, as teacher and as citizen you have encountered the Prince of Peace,” he said.
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley also stressed the need for peace. In her message she also focused on giving, while praising “the Love crew”, led by Terry “Mexican” Arthur and other musicians, various schools and religious groups and the Barbados Homeless & Vagrants Society, whom she said were “all doing yeomen service in our society.
Mottley’s Christmas message was also one of hope – “Hope that the current circumstances of our nation will change; hope that our people will be encouraged to believe that there is better ahead; and hope that we can coalesce around our individual strengths to produce a collective response to chart our future and our destiny.
“All of us are in this together,” she added.