by Anesta Henry
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is appealing to Barbadians living abroad and those who love the nation, to gather in Barbados in 2020.
Speaking at the launch of the Vision: 2020 We Gatherin initiative in Parliament’s Courtyard, this evening, Prime Minister Mottley declared that building the best Barbados cannot be accomplished only by the 300 000 people living on the island. She said the number of Barbadians living overseas double that amount and should come home to see what they can do to contribute to the rebuilding of the country.
She told watch parties convened around the world to join the launch live, that Barbados is our land, and more than anything else, they all need to come home in 2020.
“2020 my friends is about that conversation, that experience, telling our story, sharing our passions, coming home for that inspiration. 2020 is about making a difference to your old primary school, or making that difference to the church that helped to nurture you in your parish. 2020 is about families recognizing that time on this earth is way too short, and we need to get together a little more, to spend time a little more, because when the day is gone, it’s gone. And when the day is done, it’s done.
“2020 is our time. And I ask you to recognize that as we gather, yes it is about us, but it is also about us speaking to the rest of the world. For Barbados must be that global hub. Barbados must be that place that has a global voice. Barbados must be that place from which global business can be transacted, because however small we are, however much we stand between the Caribbean sea and the Atlantic Ocean, we count and we matter.
“And we matter to the point where we believe that we have a valid story to tell, and our story shall be told,” she said at the event which was also attended by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason.
Other members of Parliament and specially invited guests were present for the launch event where large twin screens were erected so that the ceremony could be seen by those in the vicinity on Broad Street or in the nearby Palmetto Square.
There was a special vignette from Dame Sandra, who also joined the call for Barbadians living abroad to come home to their beautiful island next year. were also showed.
We Gatherin is a 12-month global celebration of Barbadian excellence and a recommitment to this country’s future and core values that have defined us as a people, the Prime Minister explained. The year 2020 has as its theme Purposeful Pursuit of Barbadian Excellence is the theme of the year-long celebrations, which is an initiative of Prime Minister Mottley.
Vision 2020: We Gatherin will comprise structured events at the national level, which will be coordinated by Government with input from its social partners. However, community groups, churches, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, and regional and international persons with Barbadian connections, among others, will be encouraged to produce other events.
“It is easy for us, irrespective of political affiliation, to define the character of a nation and the character of a people. A people who understand that with a history such as what we had, you have to fight against injustice, you have to fight for fairness. In the history that we had, you have as a small country to understand that principles matter, that you have to respect the saying friends of all, satellites of none, and that that is who we are. And that may better cause others to appreciate why we don’t always take the easy road, or we don’t always make decisions that appear to be easy. That sometimes we pay the price for principle, but principles only mean something when it is inconvenient to stand by them. And then we understand that democracy is a precious gift. And like a house, it can only stay with us if we nurture it and we protect it. . .,” the Prime Minister said.
The initiative will begin in the north of the island in 2020, and move southward every month, allowing each designated parish to showcase its icons, social life, and the food for which it is renowned. The parish celebrations will culminate in St Michael in November, and Vision 2020: We Gatherin’ will climax in December with a Christmas extravaganza for all Barbadians, at home and abroad.
A group of men playing dominoes in the Courtyard was a pleasant surprise for the guests as they arrived at the Courtyard. Many were also amused at the presence of a young sno-cone vendor who shared the Bajan delicacy to those who were interested in savouring that cold, sweet, taste.
The official part of the event ended with a We Gatherin Countdown. (AH)