Barbadians have been told that even though they are battling with the fall-out from the current globalisation process, particularly the new technology, and the devastating financial crises, they must work together to prevent the erosion of moral principles, social cohesion and the progress they have enjoyed thus far.
This reminder came from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart over the weekend, as he addressed the 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Installation Ceremony of the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.
Mr. Stuart said that the changes in society had led to some adopting certain individualistic and materialistic values. He added that it has been argued that the technological revolution has ushered in a new solitary lifestyle that causes people to spend more time in a virtual ICT community, talking to friends on various modern communication facilities, miles away, rather than to their neighbours.
He noted that when persons returned home from work and school, they stayed indoors educated, entertained and obsessed by modern gadgets, including the television, for hours.
???These changes have been accelerated by the prolonged economic downturn since 2007 and by societal decline in general, which have forced us to put more emphasis on our individual physical and material well-being and to become less concerned about others.
???Unfortunately, the convergence of these factors has so transformed hitherto geographically-based communities that they have become like dormitory neighborhoods, in which we drive or cars past our neighbours like strangers. One serious consequence of this behaviour is that many vulnerable citizens suffer in silence,??? he lamented.
Mr. Stuart said an increasing number of people believed this situation to be inevitable and part of modern times. He stressed, however, that he did not share this view, saying that children, senior citizens, the ill and unfortunate people in society could not survive on their own.
He pointed out that when persons were in vulnerable states they could fall victim to powerful predators when there were no moral principles handed down from generation to generation to govern behaviour.
The Prime Minister said that during challenging times, we must assert our core values and strive for mutually beneficial, creative responses. ???The lesson we learn from history, therefore, is that in order to move society to a higher level of civilisation, we must perceive crises as opportunities to take forward the best beliefs and practices that our fertile minds can imagine,??? he suggested.
Mr. Stuart praised the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown, the first Kiwanis Club on the island, for the excellent, creative, pioneering work it has done. He surmised that those clubs had given immeasurable service to Barbadians and that their work had changed and enriched the lives of many.
During the evening, the Salvation Army was presented with the Citizen of the Year Award, while Jennifer Hinkson was chosen as the Kiwanian of the Year.