Despite the economic challenges currently facing Barbados, as a people we still have a lot to celebrate, and we must continue to count our blessings.

This statement came today from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he addressed a host of distinguished guests, including Governor General, Sir Elliott Belgrave and Lady Belgrave; Chief Justice, Sir Marston Gibson; this year???s Independence Honourees; Members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament, the Judiciary and members of the Diplomatic Corps, at the Toast to the Nation.

The ceremony was held at St. Ann???s Fort following the Independence Parade. Pointing out that Barbados did not enjoy ???any special dispensation under the laws of international economics???, Mr. Stuart said that the economic challenges currently facing Barbados flowed from those that have been impacting the international community since the last quarter of 2007.

However, the Prime Minister maintained that Barbadians had it within their capability to turn the situation around. He continued: ???History does not unfold in a straight line, there are ups and downs. The history of Barbados has prepared us for all of this but our people are a resilient people, always exhibiting an exemplary strength of character and indomitable courage. Therefore, in spite of the challenges we have had to face over the past 48 years, Barbados and Barbadians have prevailed.???

Mr. Stuart urged those gathered to remember that the current economic situation was ???a moment in time and should not be mistaken for eternity???, and cautioned against adopting ???panic-stricken, hurry and worry??? solutions to the economic downturn.??The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to thank the international community for its assistance during Barbados??? 48 years of nationhood.

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