The official launch of the 2017 Community Independence Celebrations last Saturday showcased the endless talent and creativity nestled in Barbados, but also served as an opportunity for Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley to chastise Barbadians who display negative behaviours.
The King George V Memorial Park was abuzz with activity as this year’s Parish Ambassadors were introduced to the public for the first time, under the theme, Celebrating Community Spirit: Inspiring Strength and Unity.
Flags of eleven different colours, matching the colours assigned to each parish, were waved energetically in the crowd as young talents such as ten-year-old violinist Sherece Rock captivated the crowd. The Hilda Skeene Primary School student performed a well-received delivery of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
The primary schools were well represented as the explosive talent of students were highlighted. Reynold Weekes Primary School students had the crowd grooving as they danced to Home Sweet Home by Edwin Yearwood, while the Hilda Skeene Primary school serenaded the small crowd with a medley of songs that included School Daze, Barbados and Someone Inside So Strong.
The secondary schools could not be forgotten, of course, as the Daryll Jordan Secondary School Steel Orchestra enlivened the venue with the sweet sounds of the steel pan.
The crowd was also left in stitches during the performance of comedic duo Rum and Koke.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley described the Community Independence Celebrations as a gem that has greatly empowered communities and the lives of their young people, and thanked those who have made it possible.
“These Community Independence Celebrations could not have grown as they have done, if it were not for the dedication and commitment of the Parish Independence Committees, the Parish Ambassadors and the attendants who are all in the vanguard of the planning and execution of the various activities,” he said.
At the same time, the minister lamented what he said were many cases of distasteful behaviour being exhibited throughout the island.
“We still have too many pockets of loutish behaviour, chief offenders being those who continue to litter our public spaces, and the conductors and drivers of some of our ZRs who persist in playing loud music,” he said.
Lashley instead suggested that people get involved in more positive, community-centred activity. While acknowledging the progress made within the past 21 years of the Community Independence Secretariat’s existence, he contended that more Barbadians needed to be involved in developing their communities and, to a wider extent, the country.
“We need more Barbadians who will see the development of their communities and, ultimately, the development of their country as a personal responsibility. This responsibility should be seen in how to take care of our environment, how we look out for our neighbours, how disciplined we are, and the kind of respect we show for each other,” he said.
Minister Lashley challenged the ambassadors and other community representatives to use their positions and this opportunity to instill positive habits and traditional Barbadian values in people in their communities.