Independence does not mean that you become disrespectful to anyone, provided he respects you; and I know that Barbadians have enough good sense; they have a reputation for being polite and courteous to people, and the fact that we have Independence would not mean that we are animals cut loose and running around in circles . . . .
–– Father of Independence and National Hero Errol
When we reflect tomorrow Saturday, November 30, on the past 47 years of Independence, as we gather with family and friends, let us take time out to be grateful for all the blessings we have received as a nation and as people. And as we give thanks to Almighty God for the resilience and determination of our forebears in clearing a path forward for us, let us do so with deference, courtesy, civility and reverence
Let our memory of our forerunners be sculpted in joyful respect, ever aware that our present challenging circumstances and hard times could not have matched theirs, coming out of the sometimes torturous 1940s and 1950s. Ever aware that the comforts and standard of living we have grown accustomed to, and we now fear we may lose, they never had, yet willingly sacrificed their time and what little they possessed for our advancement as inheritors of the future.
We owe it to them to sustain what they laboured and died for on our behalf and in our name and destiny. We owe it to them to call forth that resilience with which they imbued us, and working together as a true nation, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and with prudence and honesty position ourselves into a state of continued developing strength. We need to be as determined and as undaunted as our ancestors were in doing the greater good.
We need to be as clear-eyed as our Father of Independence Errol Barrow was about the destiny of his people, when significant others had their doubts about our march to freedom and Independence these 47 plus years ago. Since then interchanging political administrations have peaked and waned, our stability and even further development, no matter the challenge, enduring, having sprung from a solid base.
Until now we have been a very well educated and healthy populace, bolstered by free education and medical services.
Our Father of Independence and National Hero Barrow had often publicly reposed good sense, fortitude and courtesy in the Barbadian populace, for he was fully cognizant of our courage and and our practice of maintaining boundaries. Boundaries engendered respect of ourselves and others. Those of us of the old school know when we set limits, we allow relationships to stay in a strong place. When we set no boundaries respect and considerateness suffer or are taken advantage of.
As we reflect on our period of nationhood, let us endeavour too to speak with positive intention; not turning a blind eye to wrong, or being silent on it, but so addressing such infelicity that we might encourage its amendment, correction or elimination. It helps for a whole positive mood, which our country so badly needs now in the face of these trying economic times.
Let us ever remember that emotions are contagious –– positive and not.
We are being told now by our political leaders that our manufacturing sector is beginning to see growth; that our agricultural sector is once again beginning to bloom, and according to Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick in particular, that we are feeding ourselves by about 60 per cent –– which still raises questions about our $3 billion food import bill. Still we shall seek out the positive, as we inch toward a greener economy with a healthier environment.
Law and order remain in place for the most part –– but, of course, we have every right to rail against any deviation whatsoever from this zone of security. Our cultural industry, we are advised, is being revitalized –– and promises jobs; and our tourism, for all the challenges it faces, is said to be being repositioned to face any new storm fury.
Meanwhile our education institutions, faced with youthful trials and tribulations, need to be restored to the seriousness and high reputation for which they have been known and to that scholarly application, which is now being undermined by abuse of the social media. Such does not gel with the good sense our Father of Independence has known us for; not being like animals cut loose and running around in circles.
As we urged before, let us not lose the significance of the lowering of the Union Jack and raising of our Broken Trident on that wet midnight of November 30. Tomorrow as we muse before all the the patriotic paraphernalia, let us resolve to take on even more the responsibility that Independence demands of us: industry, pride, prudence, boundary, considerateness brotherliness and self-respect as worthy citizens.
A blessed Independence Day.