Their contribution to community and national pride is seen as based on love of country and not monetary rewards.
It is for this reason that members of the Parish Independence Committees, parish ambassadors and attendants, were showered with awards and tokens of appreciation by the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat (CICS) last Saturday, at the Officers??? Mess of the Barbados Defence Force, at St. Ann???s Fort.
Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, described these volunteers as ???the movers and the shakers behind our Community Independence Celebrations across the eleven parishes of Barbados???.
Stating that they engendered national pride in Barbadians everywhere, he told them: ???You have mobilised your communities, implemented projects to the benefit of residents and given impetus to the fostering of community spirit.???
Parish Independence Committees, under the guidance of the CICS, encourage maximum community participation during Independence; stage numerous community-building activities; and seek to increase the awareness of national pride.
???What has been admirable over the years is the effort successive Committees have made in promoting the uniqueness of their parishes and the positive images abounding therein. Amidst the many challenges, you have been able to create this national treasure known as Community Independence Celebrations,??? Mr. Lashley stated.
He added that since the creation of the programme some 20 years ago, an ???unparalleled nationalistic and parochial fervor??? had emerged. He pointed to the readiness of the business community to support events, as well as public participation at the Lighting Ceremony and the Spirit of the Nation Show, as prime examples.
???We have also seen the increased attention paid to national colours and flag displays by Barbadians from all walks of life. I am sure that much of this is due to the work of the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat and the Parish Independence Committees who have spearheaded many an initiative,??? he said.
Insisting that the CICS also contributed to ???concretising Barbadian identity???, he said the work of the department had proven to be a ???mass educational tool???.
???Education concerning our cultural and built heritage was expanded. National campaigns on a myriad of issues, including the environment, chronic non-communicable diseases, to name a few, were enhanced, utilising this medium. The culture of entrepreneurship was also spread among the youth through the work of the Parish Ambassadors, activating livelihoods for many.
???It is pride in such things that makes us reflect on the achievements we have made as a nation, serving to unite us, one community at a time. This bond becomes the bedrock of resilience as we face the prevailing challenges together. This bond will allow us to overcome and recover, utilising our creative abilities,??? Mr Lashley charged.
Participants of the Mini-Parks and Garden competition were also rewarded for their outstanding work.