Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has sought to warn Barbadians not to lose sight of the big questions that need to be asked and answered by them in order to safeguard this island’s future growth and development.
Addressing an Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving yesterday at the African Methodist Episcopal Church here, Stuart highlighted the contributions made by this island’s ten national heroes, including Bussa, who he said had responded to the question, “why are men and women made slaves?” by deciding that slavery was fundamentally wrong and had to be confronted and removed.
He also made specific reference to three other national heroes, Sarah Ann Gill, Charles Duncan Oneal and Errol Walton Barrow, while suggesting that like them, modern-day citizens of Barbados still had a number of fundamental big questions to ask, as well as to answer.
“Depending on what these questions are and what answers we are prepared to give to those questions it is going to fall to us in this generation to act on those questions,” the Prime Minister said, stressing that “our national heroes have done their work already, [but] our work is still to be done”.
In a generally philosophical speech, Stuart promised that Barbadians would soon be able to exercise their franchise in general elections, constitutionally due by June, but stopped short of announcing the much anticipated date.
Stuart also sidestepped the myriad issues which his incumbent Democratic Labour Party administration has been grappling with in recent months.
However, he urged Barbadians to put country above self and to ask themselves, “What is the best way forward for Barbados and how can I contribute? . . . . What are the big problems that Barbados must solve, or how do we create a Barbados that includes all, engages all and benefits all?”
Without such a focus, the Prime Minister suggested to the congregation that many of Barbados’ goals would remain a “pipe dream”.
“Until we look back and build on what they [our national heroes] have done so we can make Barbados and indeed the Caribbean a better place; until we settle that score, until we pay our debts as they have paid theirs, the way forward for Barbados is going to be a pipe dream,” he stressed, adding that “it is easy for us to lose sight of the big questions by focusing on the little things, the little irritations of which life is composed, and which we will experience in any society wherever we go from day to day”.