The Holy Easter weekend is here again and Barbados badly needs it.
Not just the extra days away from the usual daily grind of work to relax and enjoy time with family and friends, but more so the sense of renewal and inspiration that the season brings.
Easter is the most holy period on the liturgical calendar and the foundation of the Christian faith.
The ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary and His triumphant resurrection from the grave has powerful lessons that have resonated from Biblical times to our time in this modern 21st century.
Easter is about hope. Easter is about peace. Easter is about a new life and a second chance. Easter is about bringing focus and meaning to this life.
And we aver that the real meaning of the season should underpin our activities as we break for the long holidays, commencing tomorrow.
It’s just four months into the New Year and there is no denying that it has been anything but smooth.
The gloomy circumstances on the economic front, the almost daily carnage on the road, the increasing gun violence, the spiralling epidemic of non-communicable diseases are distressing.
Today was particulary troubling. A middle aged woman collapsed and died in the River Van Stand, a 36-year-old man reportedly ended his own life while in the custody of police and 21 people suffered injury in a mass casualty resulting from a three-vehicle smash-up in Dukes, St Thomas.
And then there’s so much turmoil in the wider world- This week alone, continuing horror in Syria still reeling a week after innocent children and adults died in a chemical attack believed to be at the hands of their own leader, a terror attack on Christians in Egypt perpetrated by ISIS, growing tension among Russia, Iran, North Korea and United States.
It is hard not to worry about what the future holds. Yet in the light of Christ’s sacrifice, death and resurrection, we have new reason to hope that we can overcome fear. The Easter Story clearly points to a new way forward.
That is why this four-day respite should not only be a time of merriment but a period of reflection and introspection at all levels.
At the level of the Government, now is a good time for the leaders of the country to contemplate whether they are putting the best interests of the citizens they are elected to serve, first.
Our economy is still in trouble and we’re yet to hear of a clear action plan to return Barbados to growth. Further delay is not the answer, pointing fingers at the failings of former administrations, and blasting the media will not help. Barbadians need a frank, open conversation about the current state of affairs. The expertise of this country’s best minds should also be enlisted to devise a realistic action plan and time table to kick start much needed recovery.
On the industrial front, unions and Government must cool off, end the shouting games and get back to the sound principles of the Social Partnership that have stood this country well for decades. No one can win in the current acrimonious environment.By engaging in real, meaningful dialogue free of fear, superiority, ignorance and pride, we can and will begin to see progress.
At the level of society, Barbadians have to reflect seriously on their use of the roads. Too many people have been killed and even more injured in the recent upsurge in accidents. When did we become so reckless? Drivers and pedestrians alike?
While better roads and tough legislation may help to reduce the problem, it is really in the hands of every driver and pedestrian to adopt better road habits, including no speeding, no texting, no drinking of alcohol or use of mind-altering drugs before taking to the roads.
The society also has to take a stand to speak up and adopt zero tolerance to gun violence, the abuse and neglect of children, domestic violence and the abandonment of the elderly.
Easter is also a special time for families, especially children. Parents spend time with your children doing simple things, how about the good old tradition of flying kites?
Whether you will be spending this weekend in a place of religious worship, at home, or at the beach, may we look to the risen Lord for guidance.
A happy and blessed Easter to all.