Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley receives a group hug from students of the Blackman and Gollop Primary during a tour of the school today. Ms. Mottley visited all 22 classes and interacted with the students. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has underscored the importance of dialogue with citizens, saying it is key to Barbados’ development.

Ms. Mottley expressed this view earlier today after a tour of the Blackman and Gollop Primary School at Staplegrove, Christ Church, where she visited each of the 22 classes and spoke to and interacted with the children.

This visit started the New National Consciousness Conversations, where the Prime Minister will be visiting primary and secondary schools to dialogue with children. She will also have discussions with the society on various topics.

After the tour, she said: “It is important for me to interact with young people of all ages of this country. I want to be with the children to hear firsthand what they are feeling and experiencing. We are going to start the secondary schools soon and that is going to be at a different level of communication; we want to hear from them. We can only build this country if we listen to and talk with each other and not at each other.”

Ms. Mottley described the experience with the children as excellent and wonderful, saying it had given her “faith and confidence” in the future.

Stressing that people need to feel loved, she continued: “Love does far more than any other thing; far more than the rod of correction.”

During her interaction with the children, the Prime Minister urged them to live by the Golden Rule of doing to others what they want done to them.

She encouraged the students to read regularly and expand their vocabulary, explaining that if they did so, it would help them to express how they felt to others in a respectful manner.

Ms. Mottley also emphasized the importance of exercise and eating properly, especially fruits and vegetables. She also told them to always do their best, saying that to do otherwise would be to shortchange themselves and cause others to ask more of them.

She reminded the students of the adage – many hands make light work – and underlined the importance of cooperation. The Prime Minister was accompanied on the tour by principal, Peterona Holder; as well as head girl Naraia McClean and head boy Keenan Watson, who made presentations to her.

At the end, Ms. Holder said the children felt “special and excited” and proffered the view that they would be able to share their experience, whether in speech or writing, in the future.

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