Barbadians need to unite despite the trying circumstances, which the country is currently experiencing.
This was the solemn message delivered by newly installed Governor General Dame Sandra Mason this afternoon as she took the oath of office in Senate Chambers.
Speaking before a veritable who’s who of dignitaries, mainly from the political and judicial sphere, who were on hand this afternoon to witness the installation of the second female to ascend to the highest post in the land, the veteran jurist said she was concerned with trends she has noticed of late.
“I am troubled that what appears to be creeping into the Barbadian culture are attitudes of selfishness and a general lack of sympathy and concern towards our neighbours.
“It seems as that as long as a matter is not directly impacting on us, there is indifference to the predicament, which is being suffered. We can bear witness also in the nonchalance displayed with regard to caring for our surroundings. These attitudes must be rooted out without hesitation,” she said in her speech immediately following the administering of the oath of office by Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson.
The swearing in, which took place around 4:15 p.m., has been a highly anticipated since Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced Sir Elliott Belgrave’s replacement last month.
It came off with the expected pomp and ceremony that has traditionally marked such momentous occasions.
Wearing a baby blue outfit and a yellow hat Dame Sandra was a picture of patriotism as she was ushered into the Senate Chamber by a procession led by The Sergeant Arms and Stuart. However while the focus of day was on her historic achievement, the incoming Governor General chose to instead use the spotlight to highlight the vision she had for the country.
“The time has come for us to re-double our efforts to create a truly sustainable future; one that can only be achieved when we balance our economic development with environmental responsibility, our care for each other and determined cultivation of the great potential that resides in all of us. This is non-negotiable if we are to safeguard the future of our island and the well being of our citizens,” she said.
Dame Sandra, who spent much of her life in the legal fraternity, having served as the first female Court of Appeal Judge of the Supreme Court of Barbados from 2008, pledged to facilitate the process by serving in her new role as diligently as she did during her time in the judiciary.
“I pledge to you this evening that I will seek to perform my duties in much the same way as I have sought to serve the judiciary of the country, the judiciary of CARICOM region and the Commonwealth, that is, with dignity, honesty, integrity and impartiality,” Dame Sandra said.
Following her remarks, the Prime Minister along with Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson and the visiting Governor General of St Kitts and Nevis Sir Tapley Seaton were among the first to congratulate the new Governor General.
She was then ushered into the court of Parliament where full military honours were bestowed, including a 21-gun salute and a Guard of Honour.