To be sure –– say whatever else you like –– Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has a way with words. It may not always be in a manner that inspires, for all its magniloquence, but there is no lack of magnificent use of euphemism and other conscious literary manipulation.
And those of us others, who have a knowledge of and a love for these artistic devices available in the wonderful language English, are never lost on Mr Stuart’s scholarly application. In fact, it mattered not if last night the Prime Minister had launched in Independence Square an earlier called general election campaign instead of the 50th Anniversary Of Independence Celebrations.
Let it be said upfront the 50th Independence launch was stellar in its presentation of our national musical talent, and the nostalgia and Barbadianesque quality it laid bare we firmly and gratefully embrace. But we were not particularly stirred by our leader’s utterances.
The Prime Minister wants to make Barbados the best country on Earth, and believes “it is within our capacity to do so”. If we can be brutally frank, we have some concerns about how the Stuart administration has been allegedly pursuing this goal, in some of the national decisions it has taken and priorities made in very recent times.
In such circumstances, it is challenging to accept Mr Stuart’s pronouncement as inspiring any faith, but more so, out of respect, we will take it as a new pledge, which by rights we will hold him and his Government to.
We are with him on his mellifluent declaration that our march to the 50th Independence Day is not only about celebrating what we have already achieved, but also determining the kind of Barbados we would want to create for the next
50 years. And he offers us a three-pronged suggestion for our consideration:
1. Features of Barbadian life lost, and should be reclaimed. These would or should, we aver, include our intestinal fortitude and resolve in making our own decisions to our national benefit on, for example, capital punishment and illegal gun possession, without the interference and intimidation of outsiders.
2. Features of Barbadian life not lost, and must be retained. There was a time when neighbours shared their harvest, and communities hardly went hungry. We could boast of extending the best of the traditional “Bajan Christmas feeling” through the New Year.
Oh, if everyone of us with the means would start our day with the desire to find at least three different ways to help others, without expecting anything in return! Oh, what a kinder, gentler, caring Barbados we would find ourselves in again!
3. Features of Barbadian life not lost, but ought to be discarded. Among these negatives is domestic violence. The rallying against such has seen some reduction; but eradication is surely preferable. And we do not need outsiders to so instruct us!
We certainly need to lose also this seemingly increasing practice of gunplay at the expense of innocent Barbadian lives.
We need as well to lose this “fashionable” clinical approach of politicians to the needs and welfare of the people whom they were elected to serve.
If indeed these three prongs are to be an appropriate guide for Mr Stuart, his Government and the nation at large, we will need to do more than reflect upon them. We must execute them. There is no other way we can be the best country on Earth.
Of course, being the best means we are exemplars in the context of truth, love, decorum, decency, social justice and an understanding of where Barbados will be taken by these qualities.
Truth be told, such ought to have been in our national New Year’s resolutions, as our goals for 2016 were being mapped out by our
But as we have said before, we as a people must not leave our Government to grapple alone with the challenges of our future on our behalf. Those challenges are as much of all Barbadians who look to our very 50th year of Independence.
Let not, therefore, Mr Stuart’s reference to our resilience be clothed in imagined security and individual self-preservation, but rather be cloaked in the warmth of genuine guidance and brotherly love and concern for and upliftment of the other. If our politicians won’t, let us their electors show them we can honestly set aside whatever differences ostensibly divide us and, for the sake of this nation, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps –– for our 50th anniversary of Independence and forever.