At a time when Barbados has been grappling to stay above the doom and gloom of its economic woes, the vexing never-ending sewage woes on the south coast and the protracted wait for a general election, a dose of hope is badly needed.
Thankfully, in this week of murder and other undesirable activities, there were some bright moments that offered relief and a reminder that all was not lost in this season of Easter, which has been traditionally associated with hope and renewal.
At the heart of these positive developments were the island’s youth. Their accomplishments brought to mind the words of late United States president Franklin Roosevelt, who said “we cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build youth for the future”.
We have been impressed by the prowess, determination, discipline and friendly rivalry on full display at the recent National Primary Schools’ Athletics Championships (NAPSAC) and the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championships.
There was good sportsmanship all around.
We enjoyed the motorcades of the happy victors – the SMS Cougars, the Beacons of Christ Church Foundation and even the little ones from St Alban’s Primary that copped its first-ever boys’ title at NAPSAC.
These young people represent the best of the up-and-coming generation. And it must be remembered that they didn’t just get there by luck. Dedication and training by outstanding coaches, teachers and parents have maximized the talents they were born with.
We anxiously look forward to this weekend’s CARIFTA games in the Bahamas where team Barbados will be on the medal hunt against their Caribbean counterparts.
We were equally pleased with elevation of the articulate new Junior Minister of Tourism Dylan Ramdin of Christ Church Foundation.
The icing on the cake though was the naming of the School’s Positive Behaviour Management Programme Peace Ambassador Ayra Newton on Wednesday.
The 14-year-old Princess Margaret Secondary School student has created a wave over the last few days after a video circulated on social media showed Newton exercising restraint while being bullied and physically assaulted by a student from another school.
Even more noteworthy, is the fact that Newton is a product of the Juvenile Liaison Scheme, which provides remedial care for delinquent students.
That this young lady who made some mistakes in her earlier days could turn around and maintain a calm stance in the face of taunting and pressure is nothing short of remarkable.
Newton herself admitted that she came “a long way”.
“I want to thank my parents, my [juvenile] officer and my principal for bringing me a long way. As a peace ambassador, I now have to set examples for younger people and elderly people too. I have to carry myself [well].”
What a powerful example for our youth!
At a time when our adults are seemingly failing to keep their emotions in tact, resorting to knives and guns to settle every little grouse; when adults from the politician to the peasant hurl vile insults freely; when they say one thing and practice the opposite, here is a demonstration from a young woman that self control, silence, and integrity makes one the victor.
Our society needs more young people like Newton.
We hope her example will lead to an immediate end to the recent worrying violent incidents in our schools.
The message could not be more timely at Easter – a time of new beginnings.
Just as Newton made an about turn. Every Barbadian young or adult, religious or irreligious, should use a portion of this four-day weekend to renew him or herself to simply be a better person.
We are living in a time when there’s more money in circulation, and yet millions are still poor. We fritter it away on trivia. We have the greatest technology, but yet we cannot communicate properly. We have bigger houses, but yet there are fewer homes. For all our advances, we have regressed as a society.
And yet, there is always the hope of renewal.
The Easter story shows that Jesus overcame the taunts of the soldiers and even his own people to suffer an ignominious death but was later resurrected in glory.
Newton got over a rocky start and defeated a bully.
All can experience this change with some resolve.
This Easter consider your moment of renewal and in the words of our young – Up de thing.