Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says the time has come for Barbadians to make that transition from nationhood to genuine Independence.

He made the comments today while speaking at the launch of the 50th Anniversary of Independence National Monument Competition at the Main Guard, Garrison, St. Michael.

Mr. Stuart told his audience: ???Genuine Independence requires us to know who we are; to understand why we are who we are; to begin to respect the things that we create [or] the things we produce; and to begin to understand that we are as good as any people to be found in any other part of the world.???

Stating that there were many strands to Barbados??? cultural heritage, he identified the main ones as European, African and Asian, and said they had helped to produce the tapestry known as Barbadian culture.

He continued: ???Unfortunately, when you have these different strands of a cultural experience, there tends, sometimes, to be contention between the strands and in Barbados we have known that experience.???

Mr. Stuart noted that although these ancestral attachments existed, no one living here could lay claim to being European, African, and Asian, since we are all Barbadians, influenced by the landscape, seascape and flora.

He said the national monument competition was very important, and urged Barbadians at home and abroad to get involved. ???If we are going to continue to make our impact on the world after 50 years of Independence???we have to take the genius that we possess seriously and a monument competition gives us a very good opportunity to explore our creativity and put on display our innovativeness,??? he suggested.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the monument would be erected at the Garrison, on the site where the Barbados flag was raised on November 30, 1966.

Entries for the competition will close on Thursday, April 21, 2016, and five special Seeds of the Future prizes will be awarded to participants under 25 years old.

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