Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley addressing the second National Humanitarian Awards ceremony at Kensington Oval, yesterday. (T. Barker/BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes that the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic may well have provided Barbados with the lessons to be used for tackling future pandemics that we may encounter.

She made the observation on Sunday as she addressed thousands of Humanitarian Awardees, and other specially invited guests and officials attending the second National Humanitarian Awards ceremony at Kensington Oval.

In extending another public ‘thank you’ to all persons involved in the COVID-19 battle, the Prime Minister encouraged the awardees and by extension the entire country to learn from the lessons of the pandemic that we “shall carry for the rest of our lives and our nation shall carry as we continued to grow from strength to strength”.

Pointing out that we must always be in a state of readiness and [be] fit for purpose, Ms. Mottley stressed that we should not take our own physical and mental circumstances for granted, adding that citizens must pay greater attention to their physical and mental health. She added that they should also take the time to build up their bodies and their minds to be ready for any eventuality.

The Prime Minister reminded the audience that the world was in a poly crisis moment and in the case of Barbados, this involved wrestling with the pandemic, the ashfall, the freak storm, Hurricane Elsa, the “cancer” of inflation, instability and social implosion.

“My friends, this pandemic, may well have been that moment to prepare us for the rest of the crises that we face, and to give us the strength and character to know that while we may not individually be able to meet every challenge, together, collectively as one, we can rise to the challenge and we can do our part, play our part, run our leg of the relay race to keep our nation and our families and our communities safe and sound,” Ms. Mottley underlined.

Humanitarian Awards Ceremony - November 2022 (1)

She continued: “For when the time comes again, for us to be able to run and sprint as it will inevitably come. I say these things because often we move on without understanding that there are lessons in every challenge for us to take.  Individual lessons, collective lessons…national lessons…

Ms. Mottley also informed the gathering of a major breakthrough agreement at the just-concluded United Nations Conference (COP 27) in Egypt to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries, hit hard by climate disasters.

She added: “We do not take this victory lightly, but we take the example of the victory that when we work together, across nations, that we can achieve what we set out to do.”

Ms. Mottley reiterated her call to Barbadians to help government win the battle with diabetes by changing their diets and adopting other healthy lifestyle practices.

The Prime Minister was also effusive in praise for the Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Carissa Etienne – the recipient of the Honourary Freedom of Barbados Medal – for allowing Barbados to benefit from significant resources and technical expertise especially during the last nine months when the Delta variant almost caused the country “to go back to the drawing boards”.

The morning’s ceremony was punctuated by performances and a minute’s silence for those who succumbed to the virus. Awardees were presented with Humanitarian Lapel Pins and Medals while plaques were presented to countries and organisations in appreciation of their generous donations to the Government and People of Barbados as they combatted the spread of COVID-19.

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