Barbados still has so much to be proud of and will once again punch above its weight.
This was the message of Prime Minister Mia Mottley in her first Independence Day message as leader of this country.
Addressing the nation from the parade ground at Kensington Oval, where a fair-sized crowd dressed in the national colors of blue, yellow and black were in attendance despite persistent downpours, Mottley paid homage to the Barbadian spirit of resilience.
“I have asked that we come here today, particularly the children, so that we never forget what excellence looks like and feels like because excellence must be our mantra in all that we do,” she said, noting that today was the first time since 1975, when Sir Garfield Sobers was knighted, that this year’s knighthoods of St Andrew would be conferred at a public event.
“This morning rings with symbolism and I ask that we take it in because it is the symbolism that inspires us. The showers of blessing that met us at Kensington and the sky opening up to allow the sun to let the brightness of a brighter day and brighter tomorrow always be there with us but never forgetting that not everyday is sunny and not everyday is what we want. Our nation has learnt that and we have learnt that through decades of tribulation and resilience from fighting that tribulation” Mottley said.
The Prime Minister, who was adorned in a white dress with blue yellow and green shawl bearing the image of the Barbados Pride flower draped over her right shoulder did not reference Barbados’ current hardship due to an ongoing austere economic recovery programme. but she expressed confidence that the country would return its glory days.
“We have come to Kensington on November 30, 2018 to say to the world that we will punch above our weight again,” she said to a rousing applause from the audience.
This morning Kenneth Rudolph Hewitt, 82, Philip Evan Serrao, 72 and Avisene Caesaretta Carrington became the newest Knights and Dame of St Andrew heading up an impressive list of 27 awardees, local men and women who have been rewarded for their meritorious service to Barbados.
It was an especially awing moment for those in attendance to see a spritely Caesaretta, who is 100 years-old receiving her honour from Dame Sandra Mason. As if this was not symbolic enough of female achievement, It was happy coincidence that the Girls Guides of Barbados also celebrated 100 years of existence and this morning troops performed a dance routine in the formation of the trident.
There were several new features to this year’s Independence celebrations. One such addition was the pinning of leadership badges on the head boy and girl of secondary and primary schools across the nation.
At today’s ceremony which saw the parade of 900 troops, onlookers interviewed by Barbados TODAY said they thoroughly enjoyed this year’s celebrations.
“I was really filled with hope when I heard the Prime Minister’s address. I was really glad that it was held at Kensington otherwise everybody would be soaked. So I have to give it high marks this year,” said Troy O’Garro.
Daphne Thomas said “I can’ t complain it was raining a lot, so I guess that’s why a lot more people didn’t come down but once you were inside you could really sit down and enjoy everything. The PMs message was really inspiring.”