It is time to rededicate ourselves to the principles of independence and focus on national pride.

This was the sentiment shared by Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, as he held a press briefing to officially launch the Community Independence Celebrations at Sky Mall today under the theme Come Celebrate Barbados: Building National Pride.

Highlighting this year???s activities, Mr. Lashley explained that ???we have sought to reignite the excitement which we believe must be present in Independence???you will find that this year we???re going to pay a lot of attention on getting our communities involved,??? he said, adding that the Parish Ambassadors were pivotal to this effort.

Noting that the parish projects would be developed around the theme Healing a Nation: A Healthier You, A Healthier Barbados, the Culture Minister said that health and productivity were intrinsically tied and added that he looked forward to seeing this year???s contributions.

Stressing that the Independence season was one that was deserving of celebration, Mr. Lashley acknowledged that sponsorship from corporate Barbados was crucial for these activities to be a success. He expressed thanks to Goddard Enterprises Human Resources Division General Manager, Jennifer Bradshaw-Wood, who presented the Minister with a $20 000 donation for this year???s Community Independence Celebrations.

Mr. Lashley thanked the company for its commitment to community outreach efforts and for being a longstanding supporter of the season. The Culture Minister said that options for future Independence events were already being considered. ???We do plan???to identify the location at the Garrison where the Union Jack, in 1966 was lowered and the Barbados flag was hoisted???and place some kind of monument there to commemorate where our flag was hoisted on our Independence day,??? he disclosed.

In response, Mrs. Bradshaw-Wood said: ???This sponsorship forms part of our community outreach programme, but we have vowed to not just hand over a cheque. We want to be an integral part of the programme.??? She added that in addition to the financial contribution, the company would also facilitate tours of their subsidiaries and a one-day seminar for Parish Ambassadors.

This official launch of the Community Independence Celebrations will take place this Saturday, August 31, at the Glebe Playing Field, St. George. The day will begin with an exercise session, featuring the Zumba Bunnies, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. This will be followed by three heritage tours, which will visit the St. George Parish Church, Gun Hill Signal Station, Exclusive Cottons of the Caribbean and the West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station in Groves, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

A mini concert, featuring the Royal Barbados Police Force Band, will be hosted from 4:30 p.m., while the official opening ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m.??

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