Governor General Dame Sandra Mason (left) alongside Barbados’ latest centenarian, Warrant Officer Elder Edward Bishop B.S.S., at the Barbados Defence Force (BDF), Warrant Officers’ Mess, St. Ann’s Fort, The Garrison yesterday.
GG: Consider National Service
Governor General Dame Sandra Mason believes it’s time to have a serious discussion about mandatory national service for school-leavers.
She said that such a programme would serve to “bring our society back,” and is therefore suggesting to the relevant authorities that every single child who goes through this country’s school system, should give back through this service scheme.
Her comments came during the birthday celebrations of Barbados’ latest centenarian, Warrant Officer Elder Edward Bishop B.S.S., at the Barbados Defence Force (BDF), Warrant Officers’ Mess, St. Ann’s Fort, The Garrison yesterday.
“If you leave school at 14 or 19 years old, you must before you enter the next phase of your life, do national service,” she insisted.
“I am also thinking that all those many persons who received Barbados Scholarships, before embarking on their studies, should have a gap year and should do it. However, some of us are more privileged than others and would ship their children out, however at whatever age you return to Barbados, you have to do that national service.”
The GG, who recalled sitting on a committee formed by the late Tom Adams to look at the possibility of national service, still to this day feels strongly about its implementation.
“I feel very seriously about this because it is a question of giving back. We have to teach people that we have to be grateful every single day of our lives. We are fortunate that we have stable government, we are fortunate that government gives us education and we have to teach our children that you owe your country something.”
“When we have national service, the question of nationalism and patriotism would do us all very well… It is not only about what you get, but it is what you ought to give,” Dame Sandra stressed, adding, “I don’t necessarily see the national service as something that’s run by the BDF, but of course there would be some aspect of it which would teach discipline as the Cadets do, and as the Regiment and Coast Guard does.” (TL)