Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has called on adults in society to assist in moulding the children of this nation.
Ms. Mottley expressed the view that no longer could some adults be “spectators in the building of a nation or taxpayers acting in accordance with the law”, but suggested they now needed to assist in mentoring and shaping the lives of children.
The Prime Minister proffered the view as she delivered the feature address on Wednesday afternoon at the Prize-Giving and Award Ceremony at Queen’s College.
She said there were “young boys who may not have a male figure in their immediate life, and who for them, the opportunity to bond with older men playing cricket can give them the chance to ask the questions that defy their very understanding as teenagers, on how to manage people and relationships.
“Young women who need mentorship and guidance; learning how to negotiate to say no to unwanted advances, no to unwanted substances, no to being a part of the crowd because you want to pursue your own truth and you don’t want to be distracted on your mission for excellence,” she stated.
During her wide-ranging address, Ms. Mottley said the society must never become accustomed to violence, whether in the schools or community. She stressed that citizens should always be outraged and offended at any incidence of violence.
The Prime Minister disclosed that Government would be launching a major national cricket initiative in the future. She emphasized the importance of intergenerational communication and support, and suggested that relationships must be built in communities.
“That is what we need in this country. Yes, we are solving debt issues; yes, by next week all of the new bonds for external debt will be behind us; yes, we have gone from 176 per cent [of debt to GDP] and by next week, we will be 114 per cent of debt to GDP….
“Yes, we got a credit rating upgrade today (yesterday) and we expect that more will come; yes, we have investments to do and all of them are starting to unfold, but all of that will come to nothing if we don’t get the equation right for you to be the future of this country,” she told the students.
Ms. Mottley reminded the children that their success would not be measured in scholarships and degrees alone, but also in their ability to live good with one another and manage conflict, among others.
Teachers, she said, as well as school employees, have a responsibility to help lead the institution. “We have to take our…ancillary workers and train them in leadership and treat them with the respect that they deserve as leaders in our institutions and not just principals or heads of department,” she stated.
The Prime Minister stressed that it was important to help children expand their vocabulary. She noted that if they were not given these necessary tools, then they would not know how to express themselves with the nuances that would make a difference.
Describing language as powerful, beautiful and elegant, she insisted that it allows a person to paint a picture in the same way an artist would. “If you don’t conquer language, regardless of what school you are in, if you can’t communicate how you feel, then you are laying the platform for either violence, abuse or mental conditions,” she said.
Ms. Mottley underscored the importance of We Gatherin’ 2020, saying it was not about the events alone, but also reconnecting Barbadians overseas to their roots and families. She expressed the view that opportunities would come with that reconnection, as the diaspora was being unlocked.