EDITORIAL: Let us give thanks this Independence
FIRST, let us wish all our readers a Happy Independence Day. This is a special time in the history of our country, as we celebrate 51 years as an independent nation. There was much hype last year given that it was the 50th anniversary, and while persons may not be as exuberant as last year, this anniversary is no less important.
Our island nation has not only made a mark on the regional landscape, but internationally as well. For this reason, a former United Nations Secretary General was noted as saying that we are a country that consistently punches above its weight. That is because our little paradise in the Caribbean has faced every adversity with courage, and has come out on top on occasions now too numerous to mention.
This no doubt has been due to the emphasis placed by successive governments on building up this country’s most important resource – its people. The reality is that we have one natural resource and over the years a great deal of money, time and energy has been spent on making sure that all Barbadians have access to quality education and health care. These are areas that no Barbados government should ever seek to undermine, as it could result in harmful consequences for our nation, and cause many of the gains we have made over the years to fall.
But none of our achievements have come without hard work and indeed sacrifice, and even though there were some who doubted the country’s ability to succeed as we took those initial steps into nationhood, as proud Barbadians we never allowed such negativity to stand in the way of success. This should certainly continue to be our approach as we look towards the years ahead. The accomplishments we have made over the past 51 years should fill us with the confidence required to embark on that journey, and make Barbados even better than it is today.
So all Barbadians must be encouraged to appreciate those strides and celebrate them. We must strive every day to live our motto of ‘Pride and Industry’, working together to build a strong country that is self-sufficient in almost every respect, and that is better able to withstand external shocks – for the Barbados we envisage is one where it is no longer a case of if the United States sneezes, we catch a cold.
We acknowledge that there are still challenges we face and it is therefore imperative that together we also reflect on our failures, so we can better prepare to handle the future that lies before us. Those failures have, however, not prevented Barbados from being a blessed and wonderful place to call home. We can proudly say we are not fraught with social and political unrest like others, and while we have seen an increase in violence in recent times, it has not reached the point where persons are afraid to leave their homes. In fact, compared to most of our Caribbean neighbours and even countries further afield, we are still one of the safest places to live, work and recreate. While that is so, we must not rest on our laurels; we have to ensure that the status quo remains.
Now this November, as we celebrate yet another year of Independence and give thanks for the freedoms which so many people across the world do not have, we need also to remember and give thanks for those who worked to get us to this stage in our development. We should also be thanking God for sparing this country from the ravages of natural disasters, for while our brothers and sisters in Dominica and Barbuda suffered untold damage this hurricane season, yet again we were spared.
So wherever we gather together today, we are called to remember that we live in a beautiful, wonderful country and we should be proud to be called Barbadians.
God bless us all and God bless Barbados!