Rev. Bobby Schuller posits that if you honour your history, heritage, and past, you will receive blessings. Could it be that the acceptance of one’s identity is the key to discovery of one’s destiny and lifestyle choices?
Selwyn Hart, Barbados’ Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of the American States (OAS), in brief remarks at the recent Kolij USA reunion, may have unintentionally addressed the above. Reflecting on his school and work life, the top envoy offered a possible way of life for today’s challenges:
“In this time of great uncertainty and volatility in Washington and elsewhere, we need to fall back on the values of personal responsibility, of excellence, of teamwork, and of public service. In these uncertain times, it is not or can’t be about us, or about self. The way forward has to be service to our institutions, our community, and country.”
Ambassador Hart did more. He honoured the theme of the Saturday night social event. He took fellow Harrison College alumni down memory lane and recalled values that were instilled into anyone who, like him, had the distinct honor and privilege of receiving their secondary education at the Crumpton Street institution.
“Excellence, dedication, hard work, personal responsibility, commitment to public service, and a belief in teamwork are some of the essential characteristics that are embedded in you, once you attend that school.”
However, Hart was quick to explain that those characteristics are not unique to Harrison College. “These values are embedded in the spirit of every Barbadian that I have encountered during my long journey in the Foreign Service. Barbadians are a people committed to the same values. We see it in Barbados, and wherever Barbadians go.”
But are these core values also levers? Yes! Ambassador Hart sees them as an instrument of institutional and national development. “This is why I thoroughly endorse and wish to encourage this association – and other organizations here in the diaspora – to continue to do what you are doing, to continue to work hard, to establish new membership, because unity is strength. We need unity more than ever at this time, given the uncertainty, and the volatility in this country, and by extension around the world.”
Hart also referenced the strengthening of bilateral agreements in general, security, building of resilience to disasters, and energy, in particular, as key areas that his office in Washington is currently focusing on.
Underscoring the inherent value of the Barbadian diaspora community, he said: “I believe we totally undervalue the contribution that you can make to the economic development and social development of the island. We need you to reach out to your legislators and to your Congress representatives… we need your help to create a level playing field for International business development, which has been the backbone of our economy over the last decades.
“I will not come to events like these and just ask you to send more money back to Barbados. Please do, but I believe that you can give back more to your island. Furthermore, our efforts will not truly bear fruit unless we tap into the power of your advocacy… You know this political and economic landscape. You must be our first line of defense and we must do a much better job in seriously engaging you, on hard core policies, “he added.
Barbados’ Ambassador to the United Nations, Tony Marshall, and Consul-General in New York, Donna Hunte-Cox, spoke about the history of the schools, and the importance of legacy, respectively. Rev Laurel Scott, first president of Kolij USA, was Master of Ceremonies. Several Charter members, and former Consul General, Jessica Odle–Barill, attended the event. Batch Productions provided the music.