Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett (left), participating in the Emancipation Day Walk last Saturday. Pictured at right is Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Patrick Todd.

A Government Minister is urging the island’s youth to embrace the attributes of resilience, patience, self-respect and wisdom in preparation for their future role as leaders of this country.????

Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, made this appeal last Saturday, while addressing the Emancipation Day Walk and Rally at the Emancipation Village, Spring Garden.

He said: "I want young people to know that, whether you are privileged or face unbearable hardships, the future is yours to develop. So, before you can realise the promise of a rewarding future, however, you must be confident, you must accept the obligation to investigate, appreciate and honour both the extreme hardships and the achievements of our ancestors, whose contributions have helped to make Barbados one of the most desirable countries to live."

The Minister of Culture alluded to the exploits of National Heroes Bussa during the 1816 Rebellion and Clement Payne during the 1937 Riots, to highlight the importance of rising above oppression and despair.

Mr. Blackett stated: "Since then, we have gained political independence and are successfully charting our own destiny. The clear vision and example of the Right

Excellent Errol Walton Barrow demonstrated that we can rise above self-doubt.?? Unshackled, we can also rise above oppression and despair."

Underscoring the importance of the Crop Over as part of the Season of Emancipation celebrations, he maintained that: "Those who condemn Crop Over as mere "bashment" hardly ever attend, or encourage others to attend these deeply cultural and moving events. Thus, these events make Crop Over more than a carnival and root it firmly in the Season of Emancipation."

Mr. Blackett also praised the efforts of the Commission for Pan African Affairs for conceptualising and implementing educational programmes as an antidote to self-hate and low self-esteem in several schools across Barbados.

Given the importance of building a culture of confidence among the youth, the Minister of Culture has pledged to forge a closer working relationship with communities to promote continued growth and dynamism in the cultural sector.

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