A return to old values with country placed above self. Days before Barbados celebrates 46 years as an independent state, that’s one wish Prime Minister Freundel Stuart wants to see fulfilled.
He voiced his desire for a rekindling of more of what made Barbados the peaceful, tolerant nation it developed into, while welcoming 200 new Barbadian citizens at an induction ceremony this morning at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre
These individuals, who were born in 17 countries, mainly in the Caribbean, and as far afield as Greece, took the oath, which was administered by Chief Justice Marston Gibson, and recited the National Pledge before Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, other officials, friends and relatives.
Stuart congratulated the large group and identified “a need for each one of you to reflect on and celebrate the meaning and importance of Barbadian citizenship and the role you, as new Barbadian citizens, can play in shaping your individual lives and by extension, the destiny of our nation”.
But he said the message also extended to all Barbadians, who he urged to “celebrate those values on which our nation has been built”.
“Barbados is a peaceful nation built over time by people sharing ideas, tolerating other views, exhibiting industry and self-reliance, compassion, trustworthiness and a respect for self and others,” Stuart said.
“These are the values that bind us and our communities together and define who we are and what we do. These values belong to all of us; they are not the exclusive preserve of any one group or class, however described or defined.
“We need to use our utmost endeavours to foster these values in our homes, workplaces and institutions since they are more effectively transmitted through our social interactions rather than by any formal exercises in a classroom setting,” he added.
The Prime Minister added that efforts to promote these common societal values “must at the same time appreciate and respect those cultures, values and traditions that are different to ours”.
“It is no exaggeration to say, ladies and gentlemen, that if we as a nation are, not so much retrieve, but maintain those core values that has largely contributed to the peace and stability of our nation, we must once again act to put the community and society above self,” he said.
“We must recognise and respect the individual rights of other persons and seek to resolve issues through consensus rather than conflict. This should go a long way in helping different communities to live harmoniously with one another. Needless to say it is a necessary condition for all to prosper.” Stuart told the new citizens that they had “an excellent opportunity to make lasting contributions to both your community and country”.
“Your efforts will help ensure that Barbados not only is able to emerge from the challenges with which it is now confronted but that it is able to do so in a manner that secures its continuing development and prosperity for generations to come,” he stated. (SC)