As this country approaches its 50th anniversary of Independence, Barbadians are being urged to reflect on ???this wonderful place we have called Barbados???.

This call came today from Acting Prime Minister, Richard Sealy, as he addressed a host of distinguished guests at the Toast to the Nation at St. Ann???s Fort.

Attendees at the event included Governor-General, Sir Elliott Belgrave; this year???s Independence Honourees, Members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament, the Judiciary and the Diplomatic Corps.

Noting that over the last year more visitors have entered the island than at any other time in its history, Mr. Sealy remarked that an increasing number of persons from outside of Barbados were interested in the island as well.

???As we mature as a nation, more people want a slice of Barbados, whether through vacationing here or owning property. Some want a large slice too, and if we don???t value what we have and others are prepared to value it more, one day we may wake up and realise this island no longer belongs to us. We don???t want that, so I think we should reflect on that reality, and continue to treasure Barbados and appreciate it,??? he stressed.

Acknowledging that the island had some issues and challenges to surmount, the Acting Prime Minister nevertheless maintained that for a small island nation, Barbados had done a ???tremendous??? job in the past 49 years.

Mr. Sealy also took the opportunity to thank all the detachments on parade, and acknowledged especially the Seventh-Day Adventist Pathfinders, who are celebrating their 65th anniversary.

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