Genuine independence encapsulates an individual???s ability to look inward and appreciate their own creations and actions, while valuing their traditions, ideals and aspirations.

This view was expressed by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, following a recent tour of the 50th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations Secretariat, located at the Old Town Hall Building, The City.

The Prime Minister noted that if we continue to ???gaze outside of Barbados???, and continue to imitate the standards, habits and practices of other people, ???we will continue to postpone our genuine independence.???

He stated that the 50th anniversary celebrations should evoke within Barbadians a sense of appreciation of who they were and the fact that they were not inferior to anyone else in the world.

???We don???t live in the world alone. We have to interact with the world; we have to deal with other nations, but we want to deal with them on the basis of equality ??? We don???t claim to be better than any other nation ??? but we claim though, to be as good as the best in the world and that is what we have to emphasise,??? Mr. Stuart stressed.

He pointed out that there were things in our lives that should be re-examined as we strived to build a nation that ???can continue to play its role in the world as a leader in the promotion of wholesome values and the virtue of peace, democracy and human rights???.

???Where there are features of Barbadian life that tend to shame us, rather than to portray us as proud people, we have to be prepared to get rid of those habits. There are things that we have lost and we have to try and reclaim them – the spirit of genuine community, the spirit of being our brother???s keeper???. not living above our means.

???There are things we have not lost but we have to try and retain – the spirit of pride, the spirit of industry, the commitment to hard work, the recognition of the fact that short cuts ultimately turn out to be long roads, and that the best way to achieve is through hard work,??? the Prime Minister outlined.

Mr. Stuart maintained that the island???s 50th Anniversary of Independence was an ideal time to celebrate its achievements, but noted that it was not an indication that there would be extravagant spending.

???We are going to be as frugal as possible, but we are going to have to execute this 50th anniversary celebration programme so that Barbadians, young, middle-aged and old, are richer spiritually and intellectually, emotionally and psychologically??? There is nothing to apologise for and I think we have an impressive set of programmes planned until we get to November 30,??? he stated.

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