The celebration of the nation’s 55th anniversary of Independence, comes when it transitions into republican status. The labour movement shares the national perspective that this graduation is meant to consolidate the powers of sovereignty which are vested in the people and are exercised by the people.
The attainment of independence from the British government on November, 30, 1966, signalled that the decisive step was taken in moving the nation to a state of self- government. This basically gave the nation the right to self-rule and to control its own affairs free from external political control and impositions by another nation.
As a proud, developing nation, Barbados has continued to maintain a vibrant democracy, and has adopted a political system which prides itself on the promotion of the constitutional rights and freedoms of the individual, the right to vote, equality, non- discriminatory practices, the civic virtues practiced by citizens and the observance of the rule of law.
As the nation embraces independence sovereignty with that of being a democratic republic, it is expected that both present and future political leaders will continue to be guided by the need to respect the Constitution of the land. It is for them not to undertake to usurp the power vested in them by the people, nor to act in ways which constitute a breach of faith, trust and respect, and which violate the principles and practices of a
democracy whereupon arbitrary changes are enforced upon the people and the state.
As the nation transitions to the state of a republic, it is important that our leaders take heed of the fact that the power of government remains firmly in the hands of the people, always with the understanding that people give power to leaders they elect to represent them and serve their interests.
As a free and democratic society, Barbados is exceedingly proud of its governance structure, which is founded on the observance and respect for traditions, practices and the application of fairness. This spans respect for the laws of the land, the execution of justice and the promotion of the welfare of all irrespective of colour, class, race, religion or political persuasion.
Over the last fifty-five years, Barbados has attempted to operate in a manner that has been underpinned by transparency and openness. The transition to a republic should have no bearing on the way the governance system works. There must remain a sound commitment to observing the rule of law, maintaining the democratic form of government, adherence to democratic principles, observing transparency and accountability, maintaining proper checks and balances, and giving the citizens of Barbados free choice and control over their lives.
On this Independence Day, and as this island state of Barbados finally relinquishes its ties with the British monarchy as its political Head of State, Barbadians can now clearly acclaim that full independence from the mother country has at last been won.
The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) warmly congratulates Dame Sandra Mason on assuming the role as the first President and Head of State of Barbados.
The labour movement lauds the Government of the day on finalizing the work started by the late Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, the nation’s first Prime Minister, Father of Independence and National Hero, towards ensuring that this nation’s full independence from the British Colonial Government is achieved.
Long live Barbados, and as the nation goes forward as a republic, may its people continue to echo the words of the national anthem: “We have no doubts or fears, upward and onward we shall go, inspired, exulting, free, and greater will our nation grow in strength and unity.”
Dennis De Peiza
General Secretary, CTUSAB