Your Excellency, Dame Sandra Mason, Governor General of Barbados; Chief Justice Sir Patterson Cheltenham, The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, our national hero living among us; members of Cabinet; members of Parliament; members of the diplomatic corps; distinguished guests; members of the armed forces and the Royal Barbados Police Force; Barbadians.
I don’t think any of us would have expected sun on this morning, given the last few weeks. So, that first and foremost, I’d like to give thanks for the blessings conferred upon us this morning by the Almighty.
But not just for the weather, for our being here, because this is the one year that we take nothing for granted, and for which we must give absolute thanks.
Last year, we met pregnant with expectation, as to how we could perfect our finest vision in 2020. It was almost magical and lyrical as we planned and prepared for it.
We expected those who helped raise us, and who we helped raise, and who may not have been on the 166 square miles to join us and allow us to celebrate and refine that fine vision. We had plans, but others had plans for us.
Before I proceed any further, I want to salute the loyal sons and daughters who have been conferred with the honors of this nation this morning for their wonderful, and sterling contribution to the building of this nation which we love. And I say that we recognise you, not because of anything that is unusual in your efforts, but because you chose to stay the course in the disciplines, or in the contributions that you made in a way that has brought admiration of you from among your peers.
This is intended not only to be congratulations to you, but also a moment to teach the rest of the nation that you are our inspiration; and that you equally can lift to higher heights those who work and live among us daily. These moments are always difficult with parades and I trust and pray that he will be fine.
But I want this morning, for us to reflect first and foremost on the fact that as I said 2020 was intended to be a different year. But 2020 did in fact allow us to perfect that final vision of ourselves, just not in the way we anticipated. And against this background, we saw Barbadians from all stations in life rise to the occasion.
To be able to face what will now be regarded as one of those global historic moments that has defined how humanity sees itself, and is capable of moving forward.
As we sat here this morning, I reflected on what Barbados was like 100 years ago, when we fought the Spanish flu. We recognise that in those days we did not have responsibility for our people. Today, we do. In those days, there may have been little regard for the well-being and welfare of persons from all communities.
Today, we must. And as I reflect on that, I ask us to remember that this is not a victory for the Government of Barbados. This is not a victory for a few in Barbados. This continues to be a victory for all of Barbados because this is who we are, in coming together to fight this battle.
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