Prime Minister Mia Mottley is expected to outline a seven-year plan for Barbados.
Mottley, who is seemingly confident of a second term in office, made the disclosure on Wednesday afternoon while addressing the first We Gatherin at River Bay, St Lucy.
While not disclosing much about the plan, Mottley suggested that she wanted Barbados to retain some practices of days gone by in relation to raising children, keeping the country clean and looking out for each other in the communities.
As such, she called on the thousands gathered to give her support for the looming seven-year plan.
“We are going to raise children and we are going to save families and we are starting in 2020. Tomorrow night I will address the country, and I will set out for you a seven-year plan that I want every Bajan to hold hands with me and join,” said Mottley.
“We can’t make this country different by government alone or by the church alone or by one or two here alone. It will be made different when the majority of us – and we can’t get everybody – but when the majority of us stand up for Barbados and the Barbados brand,” she said.
The Prime Minister welcomed the residents, tourists and the visiting Barbadian diaspora for coming out, telling them that it will require the effort of everyone to take Barbados “to the next level”.
She further pointed out that the gathering was intended to help them make connection with family, schools, churches and other organizations and cultural activities of yesteryear.
“Not only that many hands make light work. Not only that I want you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but you know they tell us it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a nation to save a family,” said Mottley.
She said: “We have a lot of families who need a little extra, not just from government, not just from the church, but from the neighbours, from the people who work with them, from the people who live in front of them, behind them and next to them”.
Broaching the subject of crime, Mottley pleaded with the large gathering that the fight against crime required the assistance of all residents.
Further calling on Barbadians to resolve their conflict in a peaceful way, Mottley said “we did it before and we can do it again”.
“People must feel safe, and the persons who can make this country safer again is all of us. So don’t look at the police alone. As I said in my Christmas message, however hard the police work . . . the ultimate determinant of how safe this country is, is you and your family – you and your children and grandchildren, every one of us – you and your neighbours, me and all of you,” she said.
Stating that “all of us in this together”, Mottley also asked all Barbadians to join her in being “host in chief” to everyone who visit their parish throughout the We Gatherin celebrations.
The celebrations will run until the end of the year, moving to one of the 11 parishes each month and culminating with a major celebration in December.
As for Wednesday’s ‘We Gatherin at the Bay old time picnic’, the first for the year, the highly publicised event attracted thousands of residents, visitors and returning nationals on the lawns at River Bay, St Lucy.
With the theme Faith, the location opened around 9 a.m. and shortly after, people decked out in brightly coloured outfits started to arrive.
Some families and friends went with umbrellas, blankets, chairs, baskets and bags packed with food and beverages, as they seek out a spot on the spacious lawn, while others chose to stand along a section of the roadway and the nearby watercourse.
Amid the sweltering heat, adults danced to a mix of deejay music and live performances, while children enjoyed playing in jumping tents or taking part in several other activities including riding a merry-go-round or having their face painted.
A number of vendors dotted the location, offering people a variety of meals and beverages.
The smell of fried chicken, popcorn and other food items filled the afternoon air as families and friends occasionally engage in chatter and laughter.
About 4:30 p.m., an hour before the event was scheduled to come to an end, light showers came, forcing some to seek shelter and others to exit the venue.
During the month of January there will be several activities including Karaoke limes, a lecture, concert and a cookout in the parish.
The next We Gatherin will be in St Peter, followed by St Thomas, St Joseph, St John, St George, St Philip, St Andrew, St James, Christ Church, St Michael, and culminate with a nation-wide celebration in St Michael.