Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has urged Barbadians at home and abroad to recommit themselves to the development of this nation.

Mr. Stuart made the plea earlier this evening while delivering an address at the launch of the 50th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations in Independence Square, under the theme: Barbados We Come From.

He told his large audience, which included Governor-General, Sir Elliott Belgrave; Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson; and many dignitaries: ???We are going to make mistakes along the way, we are not perfect. We are going to falter from time to time??????

Quoting from the Bible, he continued: ???But let us ??? lay aside every weight and the distractions that so easily beset us, and let us continue to run with patience, the race that is set before us. We want to make Barbados the best country on earth and it is within our capacity to do so??????

Mr. Stuart expressed the view that Barbados could continue to nudge history in the direction in which it wanted it to go. ???Our size is no determinant of the kind of impact we can make on the global environment. So let us look backward, let us look inward, let us look forward and let us look upward. Forgetting to look upward is to forget who has been the people???s guide for the past 300 years and with Him still on our side, we can have no doubts or fears,??? he remarked.

Stressing that Barbados has had its ???ups and downs???, he said, however, that the footsteps of its people had not faltered and their faith had never wavered. Rather, he continued, they had confronted their challenges and kept a balance in all responses to the trials they faced from time to time.

Mr. Stuart acknowledged that the island experienced traumatic dislocation from the four major global recessions in its 50 years, including the most recent in late 2007. He stressed, however, that because of the strength of Barbados??? character and the resilience of its people, cool heads prevailed and the society was kept calm through these crises.

He told his cheering audience: ???You are citizens of a great country. We don???t claim to be better than anybody else, but we claim to be as good as the best in the world???

???There will always be those who demand perfection from us, while themselves being incapable in their own lives and their own spaces to be examples of perfection of any kind??? Perfection is the exclusive preserve of the Almighty, none of us ??? is expected to be perfect. But we are expected to be faithful, faithful to the causes we consider to be important to the development of this country and that I am able to claim Barbados has always been.???

The Prime Minister said the Barbados of 2016 was fundamentally different from the one of 1966, and identified the quality of housing, architecture, and the education and health systems as some of the areas reflecting the island???s great advances. He added that a social safety net had been created which has been a defence for the most vulnerable people.

Barbados will celebrate its 50th Anniversary of Independence on November 30 this year.??The launch included a parade on land and sea, fireworks and a multimedia concert. Performers included Rupee, Shontelle, Gabby, RPB, Emile Straker, Biggie Irie, Ian Webster, the Warrior, Peter Ram, the St. Leonard???s Boys??? and Coleridge and Parry School Choirs and the Royal Barbados Police Force Band.

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