The Barbados Leadership Badge Ceremony – December 15, 2021. (PMO)

Government will continue to create the necessary opportunities for this island’s children to thrive.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley gave this assurance on Wednesday, as she addressed the Leadership Badge Awards Ceremony 2021, at the Wildey Gymnasium. At that event, over 190 head boys and head girls from primary and secondary schools across the island were presented with their insignia.

Ms. Mottley told her audience: “Each one matters. Because each one matters, we will work together to make the opportunities possible for you…. Our role is to try to create opportunities for you and your role is to make the best of all of those opportunities.”

The Prime Minister said she knew the children were “longing” for their online school days to come to an end, so they could return to their classroom and associate with their friends.

“And we are going to try and work with you and your parents because we know that that is what all of us want. But we need to do it safely, and we need to make sure that you…can also be safe because we don’t want anybody to…get sick.

“Be conscious that even though these have been two difficult years, we feel you, we have you and we will work with you to make up for the time that you may have lost in the last two years,” she reassured.

Ms. Mottley reminded the children that leadership carried with it acclaim and obligation, as she noted that leaders must care for others. She stated they must daily practise the golden rule, as she stressed that every choice has a consequence.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley greets students who received leadership badges during an awards ceremony at the Wildey Gymnasium yesterday, while members of the Cabinet and officials look on. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Leadership, she continued, was also about being able to inspire others to do things, and work together. She told the children they had a responsibility to help build this nation.

While sharing a recent experience about a nine-year-old who had a discussion with her on COP26 issues, the Prime Minister proffered the view that children here were far more engaged than some think. Therefore, she continued: “There is no citizen too young or too old for us to have conversations about where we want to take this country.”

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, said the pandemic had taught people to be resilient, compassionate and patient. She told the young leaders that with possible face-to-face school coming, they were needed to assist the management of schools fulfill their objectives.

“Students, you are needed now more than ever to be shining examples. Remember that leadership goes beyond being a head boy or being a head girl. It is about listening, it is about empathising, and encouraging others. It is also about serving. We need you to help us to adjust the sails so that all can benefit,” Dr. Archer-Bradshaw encouraged.

Ms. Mottley, along with the Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, Cabinet colleagues, and senior government officials, among others, made the presentations to the young leaders, with parents and teachers cheering them on.

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