Prime Minister Freundel Stuart does not see the annual celebration of Errol Barrow week as an act of idolatry.
On the contrary, Stuart sees it as an act of appreciation of the work done by the Right Excellent Errol Barrow in transforming the lives of the ordinary Barbadian over the past 50 years.
Stuart expressed this view this morning while speaking at the launch of the Errol Barrow Week at the Abundant Life Assembly, Bank Hall, St Michael.
Condemning those who oppose the expenditure on the celebration of Barbados’ 50th anniversary of Independence, Stuart recalled that there were also dissenting voices who claimed that Barbados did not have the financial resources to underwrite the cost of Independence.
In dismissing the naysayers, Stuart said: “When the Right Excellent Errol Barrow sought to sever links with Britain in 1966, there were those who claimed that Barbados could not afford Independence. Today we have these naysayers who argue that we do not have the funds to celebrate our 50th anniversary of Independence. We have some people in Barbados who know the cost of everything, but do not know the value of anything.”
Taking up the theme of the sermon presented by Pastor Kevin Hunte, Stuart argued that the country had reached a juncture in its history where the process of rebuilding must be undertaken.
“We can look back, we can look inwards and we can look forward to the future, but we cannot achieve anything without looking upwards to God,” the Prime Minister warned.
The St Michael South MP reminded his audience which included former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford and several members of Cabinet, that the current generation of Barbadians are the trustees of Barbados for those coming after them.
In a thought provoking sermon, Pastor Hunte had earlier argued that there can never be a shift in the natural world until there is a shift in the spiritual world.
Noting that an anthem is a solid patriotic song, Hunte cited the section where it is stated that for the past 300 years God has been our guide and suggested that it has been decreed that Barbados belongs to God.
Hunte , who is a practising attorney-at- law, lamented the fact that as a people we are dismissing God’s teachings as antiquated and accepting man’s opinion as gospel.
“God’s protection moves away when a people turn their backs on God. Barbadians must understand that “our walls, our fortifications” are down. We notice this when we see the number of youths heading to the east, Her Majesty’s Prisons, Dodds. We must rebuild now, the time has come. Man has begun to worship himself. We already have a foundation not built by human hands.”
“Over the past 50 years of Independence, Barbados has been blessed with enlightened leadership from both sides of the political divide. Barbados continues to be a magnet for repeat visitors and it has been able to provide leadership for the region in spite of its size. Barbados has been described as country which punches above its size,” Hunte noted.
He called on the church to initiate the rebuilding process, but maintained that it would take everyone to participate in the process.
“Our nation needs rebuilding, but it should not be left exclusively to the elected 30 members of the House of Assembly,” he said.
Athletic coach, Alwyn Babb, party member and calypsonian Heather Coward-Downes, co-ordinator of the David Thompson Football Competition Mark “Bob” Forde and Celeste Foster were presented with the Mirror Image Award by Stuart for their contribution to the development of Barbados.
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