Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has expressed gratitude to music icon and the writer of Barbados??? National Anthem, Irving Burgie, for his commitment to this country, especially young people.

Mr. Stuart???s comments were made last Wednesday at Hilton Barbados, at the launch of a 45-minute documentary entitled Irving Burgie ??? The Legacy, which was produced by the Caribbean Broadcasting Union.

He told his audience, which included Mr. Burgie and the Minister of Education, Ronald Jones: ???Whenever you demonstrate an interest in young people you are making a statement that not only autumn is important, [but] spring is important too and the vital exuberance of spring which is captured in the energy and aspirations of our young people ??? Marrying these two experiences in art is a mighty achievement and deserving of the highest commendation.???

The Prime Minister stressed that there was a need for more people with the qualities of Mr. Burgie. ???These are special people who come around from time to time and who decorate and adorn our history,??? he opined.

While paying tribute to Mr. Burgie???s work, Mr. Stuart said he had taken all that was distinctive, unique and particular about this region and made people partake of what it meant to be Caribbean.

???He has been able to interpret our present and of course to give artistic expression to our hope??? I am not surprised that a song like Day-O would, in the year 1956, sell one million copies???,??? he remarked.

He added that the lyrics to the National Anthem represented an accurate summary of our history and an exact interpretation of our hopes. He described Mr. Burgie as a man of strong character and said a number of his songs ???now partake of immortality???.

Mr. Burgie was born in New York in 1924 to a Barbadian mother and an American father. Some of the songs he composed included Jamaica Farewell, Island In the Sun, Mary???s Boy Child, Land of Sea and Sun, Angelina and Yellowbird.

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