Former St Michael West Central Member of Parliament and Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society James Paul says citizens should use today’s Emancipation Day celebration to reflect and a take stand against social ills in society, especially violence and lawlessness.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a prayer breakfast to celebrate emancipation hosted by the St Michael West Central Development Association this morning, Paul suggested that some of the social problems in the society existed “because we have not emancipated ourselves as Bob Marley would say from mental slavery.”
“Our societies cannot progress unless we free ourselves of the current mindsets that actually force us into certain types of behaviours, which certainly do not do our society any good.
“That is why sometimes that we have to look at the type of violence going on today. The fact that we show a lack of tolerance… All of this is because of the fact that we have not emancipated ourselves from the thought patterns that actually provoke those types of behaviours,” Paul said.
He expressed concern that criminal activity and lawlessness were partly being driven by the illegal drug trade, stressing that more had to be done to rid the streets of the scourge. He added that the problem called for adults to lead by example.
“We as a adults have a responsibility to set forward to our young people a different way, but sometimes we are not even aware that we ourselves, encourage young people in the very behaviours that we actually criticize.”
Paul stressed it was therefore critical for Barbadians not to simply use Emancipation Day to “wine and fete” but to engage in positive activities to reflect on the significance of the day.
“And I really think we should not make waste of the fact that our forefathers sacrificed for us and they wanted us to build a better society…and I really think that we have an opportunity at this point to build a better society today going forward.”
Today’s prayer breakfast, which catered to 100 people, attracted a wide cross section of Barbadians.
Former Tourism Minister Richard Sealy and former Government Senator Apostle David Durant were among those gathered at the Black Rock Cultural Centre, Church of Our Lady, Black Rock, St Michael for the event.