|Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley,??addressing the??Lighting Ceremony in National Heroes Square. (A. Miller/BGIS)|
As Barbados prepares to celebrate 46 years of Independence this month, Barbadians are being urged to pause and reflect on who they really are as a people.
This advice came last evening from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the Sagicor Life Inc. Lighting Ceremony in National Heroes Square.
Mr. Lashley suggested that people should reflect on what it was that, not so long ago, allowed them to be able to boast of having strong, close-knit, productive communities.
He told the large audience: "As we celebrate Independence, we must not only understand what it is that we mean by being independent, but we must do everything as citizens to protect that independence. We all have a responsibility to live up to the ideals of nationhood, to take prudent decisions based on what is real rather than what is imaginary.
"At this time our country, like countries all over the world, is experiencing the worst recession ever. You know they are no quick fixes. No ‘pie-in-the-sky’ promises will return us to high productivity and resilience. We have to clothe ourselves in our national flag and believe that it is only by dint of hard work and belief in ourselves and in God that we will ride out this economic storm."
The Minister stressed that Government had laid out a responsible and sustainable plan to recovery and he urged all to play their part as they deliberated on all that this great country represents.??
He expressed the view that Barbados was bombarded from all sides by foreign cultures and practices. As a result, he continued: "Our own national identity is constantly under threat.?? Our understanding of what it means to be an independent nation may often become blurred…
"So, Independence for us must be a state of mind. Independence has to be understood in relation to how we see ourselves, how we see our families, how we
see our country and the extent to which we are prepared to accept responsibility for our own lives."
Mr. Lashley noted that even though there was growing inter-dependence across the globe, persons must see it as their responsibility to avoid being dependent on others.?? "Our children, our homes, our faith, our health, our work ethic … we should accept that these are all our responsibility. We must not sit and wait for others to do things for us," he stated.
Vice President at Sagicor Life Inc., Stephen Robinson, said national pride was more than the words of an anthem, colours or an accent. According to him, national pride referred to "a feeling of honour derived from being a Barbadian and the ways we choose to demonstrate our love for our country".
Mr. Robinson pointed out that Sagicor had been sponsoring the Lighting Ceremony for 15 years and said it was proud to offer its continued support. "At Sagicor, it is our aim to illuminate our company, our communities and help the light of Barbados to shine brightly across the region and the world," he stressed.
The theme of this year’s Independence celebrations is Craftsmen of Our Fate: Inspiring Pride and Unity.