One of the highlights of the several events being put on to mark this country’s 40th Anniversary of Independence is the “Weekend of Reflection, Celebration and Thanksgiving”.
The November 24 to 26 observance will see the major sectors of Barbadian society participating in a number of activities designed to underscore their various contributions to national life over the past four decades. The period is also intended to be an occasion for sober reflection of our past, the celebration of an important milestone and envisagement of the long-term development of the country.
An initiative of the religious community and supported by Government and the Social Partnership, it is expected that several groups and organisations, as well as individuals, will set aside time for national introspection and anticipation of the future.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Rev. Joseph Atherley, believes that, from time to time, individuals and the country as a whole should pause and reflect on our past accomplishments, while aiming to chart the way forward. He said that on the eve of our 40th birthday, as a state, “it affords us the appropriate opportunity for doing such, and to resolve with a sense of purpose as we go forward.”
He went on: “I also think our 40th year of Independence is an important juncture in the history of our national development to take stock of what is wrong with us now as a society; if we are losing anything; and how we can counter that loss – whatever the loss represents or how it is reflected. How we can ensure that we preserve the positive developments, while we seek to discount the negatives and deal with them.”
On the celebratory aspect of the weekend, Rev Atherley said the commemoration “is important since we have achieved, as a people, in every respect – politically, socially, economically, culturally and spiritually.”
As to the central role the church will be playing in the Weekend of Reflection, Celebration and Thanksgiving, the Minister stressed that, “more and more, the church is understanding that it has a social role to play, and not only a narrow spiritual mandate, but a social responsibility as well.”
He noted that “we have developed a great sense of community and that is to be seen in the large number of NGOs that are coming along, representing all kinds of causes. So, although there has been some social deterioration, there has been significant forward social movement as well. I think in all-round terms, Barbados has achieved much. We can celebrate good institutions, good leadership, economic gains, and a good reputation in the region and worldwide, giving us a good platform on which to further build,” he said.