Prime Minister Freundel Stuart told the country tonight that he took full responsibility for the $7 million price tag for this island’s 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations.
Winding up debate on a resolution to congratulate Barbados on its golden jubilee, Stuart told Parliament the expenditure allocated was fair and reasonable, considering what Barbados has achieved over those years.
“I have been concerned ever since we decided to celebrate Barbados’ golden jubilee that there are [those] who effected not to understand the importance of doing so,” the Prime Minister said.
He recalled that in 2014 when Barbados was celebrating the 375 anniversary of its Parliament, the voices raised in opposition then are the same ones now rejecting celebrations for the golden jubilee, and that the same arguments about spending the money on the poor were used.
“I cast my bucket down right there on that argument. We will never again have an opportunity to celebrate a golden jubilee [of this country’s] Independence. This is the moment and that is why we are doing it. So far as the funds allocated for the celebrations are concerned, I accept full responsibility for it,” he said to loud applause from members of his side.
The Prime Minister recalled that as a teenager, he was exposed to the highly politicized debate for and against this island decision to go independent.
“So this is not an academic issue for me; and I feel, have felt that our golden jubilee is deserving of celebrations. Barbados has done very, very, very well over the last 50 years and when I look at how some other developing countries like Barbados have done, and the agony that independence caused them, I know that we have a lot to be thankful for in Barbados and to celebrate,” he emphasized.
The resolution was adopted without opposition.