By Neville Clarke.
Good Friday is over and Easter has dawned for Barbados, declared Prime Minister Freundel Stuart this morning as he touted that the island had risen from its economic troubles.
Stuart gave this upbeat analysis while addressing the congregation at the Covenant Life Teaching Centre on Green Hill, St Michael, as the Democratic Labour Party celebrated the 61st Anniversary of the founding of the party on April 27, 1955.
Using the analogy of the risen Christ on Easter Sunday, the Prime Minister said: “We have had a rough time over the last seven years, but as I have had to tell an interviewer in New York a few days ago, you only appreciate the value and the meaning and you can only internalize the joy of Easter because there is something called Good Friday.
While noting that his government had endured harsh criticism from some quarters, he pointed out that it did so with Barbadians, saying that they understood it [the economic situation], worked and walked with his government.
“I want to say thanks to them today for the sacrifices, understanding and the level-headedness they have shown in a very difficult period, but Easter is with us now” the Prime Minister said.
Stuart went on to stress that Good Friday and an Easter Sunday was a part of life adding that the island was in a better position despite the tough circumstances.
“No matter how anxious a woman is to hold over a cradle and smile in a baby’s face, she has to pass through something called labour. No matter how anxious any student at school is, to boast about how many CXCs or CAPE exams he has passed, the Good Friday is, that he/ she has to forego all those simpler pleasures that other friends are enjoying and burn the midnight oil in preparation for those exams. There is always a Good Friday before Easter comes and for countries there is also a Good Friday too and Barbados has had its own Good Friday too over the last few years in common with many other countries. Some that thought they had escaped it are basically now facing it. We crossed that road, we know the challenges, but never forget that in your own personal life at every single level if you are going to enjoy an Easter you have to pass through a Good Friday. Without a Good Friday, Easter is a philosophical and theological absurdity,” Stuart added.
Earlier, the Prime Minister recalled that 61 years ago a group of forward looking individuals led by national hero, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow met and decided that history should be given a nudge and they decided to form the DLP.
The St Michael South MP went on to say that since then the DLP has transformed Barbados from a village into a nation and continues to be a party that is more committed to securing human welfare than promoting human warfare.
He then identified such areas as the abolition of school fees at government secondary schools in 1962; the introduction of a school meals programme at the primary school level; the enactment of National Insurance and Social Security legislation; the Severance Payment Act which provided benefits for those who lost their work through fire or natural disaster; maternity leave with pay; the inclusion of children born out of wedlock in a father’s estate and equal pay for women as steps taken by the DLP to enhance the quality of life of the ordinary Barbadian.
Meanwhile, in his sermon, which was taken from the Book of Judges Chapter 7, Bishop Wesley Dear told the large congregation that when God is in the equation, losing is never an option.
Speaking directly to the DLP members and supporters present, Bishop Dear told them that God has a plan for them just as he had one for Gideon who with a mere 300 people overcame the enemies of Israel who had an army of well over 100 000 soldiers.
He said: “Sixty-one years ago few people believed that God could have used a few men who met to form the DLP, but 61 years later we can see all that the good Lord has done. God used the organization to change our lives. They were able to transform this nation to such an extent that today everybody now wants to be apart of it. Those people among us who are over 40 years old should be thankful. My son who is here does not have a clue what life was like in the 1960s. When you come from a place where you walked to school barefooted; you had to walk to an outdoor toilet in the middle of the night, I want to say glory to God, great things he has done.”
Bishop Dear advised the the Freundel Stuart administration to be more aggressive.