Archbishop of the West Indies and Anglican Bishop Dr John Holder has lamented that even though Barbados has made significant progress in the last half a century, many Barbadians have still been left behind.
And he has pointed to the unemployed, as well as citizens without running water in their homes as among those to whom priority much be given as Barbados goes past its 50th Anniversary of Independence.
Delivering the sermon at yesterday’s 50th Anniversary of Independence Service of Thanksgiving at Kensington Oval, the Bishop spoke of Barbados’ outstanding achievements since Independence, but warned that all Barbadians had not benefited and there was much more to be done for full inclusion.
“There are those among us who seem not to be able to experience their fair share of the fruits of national development. We cannot overlook and ignore them. Their welfare must be very high on our national agenda,” he said.
“We must continue in earnest to address our present challenges, whether it is the delivery of adequate supplies of water, or access to jobs, or the collection of refuse, or simply a lack of confidence that is necessary to push us to another level of national development. We must adequately address the problems we are facing in our country and press forward to better times.”
The Archbishop appeared to direct some of his remarks at those Barbadians who said they had no reason to rejoice at the time of the nation’s Golden Jubilee.
Stating that by any standard, Barbados has done remarkably well, he said: “On our 50th Anniversary of Independence, we have a lot to celebrate. To conclude that there is nothing to celebrate at this time is to ignore the steps forward this country has taken, and the success it has received during the past 50 years.”
He warned Barbadians not to “sit back on our achievements. There is far too much work to be done”.
“What we are facing are Barbadian problems, and we dare not label them otherwise,” Holder said.
He said while some drivers of the nation’s problems “are beyond our shores and control . . . they have landed in our laps and we have to address them”.
In an appeal to the political leaders for cooperation in the thrust towards national development, he said “those whom we have put in charge of our affairs, of our country, must be held to the highest level of responsibility in dealing with the problems we are facing”.
However, he added, “if we devolve into small inward-looking interest groups and classes and parties and point fingers, then we will not be able to engage in the problem-solving process as efficiently and effectively as we should.”