Barbados celebrates 48th anniversary of Independence
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is encouraging Barbadians to face the current challenges with a “calm, mature and disciplined approach”.
In his message to mark the 48th anniversary of Independence from Great Britain, being celebrated on Sunday, Stuart noted that Barbados, like most other countries in the Caribbean has been facing “unrelenting economic challenges”.
“These challenges have accentuated the need to restructure our economy in order to make it more viable. We do not enjoy any special dispensation under the laws of international economics. Barbados is not exempt from the challenges and crises which other countries and societies have to face.”
He said as part of a globalised world which dispenses benefits as well as burdens, Barbadians must “steel ourselves to meet those burdens and, by dint of our hard work and sacrifice, to eventually overcome them. That is the true essence of Independence.”
“As we work our way through present challenges, let us not confront life as a disordered jumble of hopes and fears. Our present time is not the culmination of all time!We will get past present challenges not by panic-stricken hurry and worry but by a calm, a mature, and a disciplined approach to what we now face,” the Prime Minister added.
He also stated that 2015 promises to be a better year for Barbados than the year 2014.
“That is as it should be and would be an appropriate reward for the sacrifices and the patient endeavour of the people of this nation….as we embark on our 49th year, let us resolve to see what we can do for Barbados; what we can give back to Barbados.”
According to Stuart, socially, economically and politically Barbados is a more advanced and developed country.
“Today our people are better educated than at any other time in our country’s history, thanks to the expansion of opportunity at the nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary levels of our education system.”
Concerning housing, he said Barbadians are better housed than they were in 1966 and significantly larger numbers of Barbadians have had access to modern housing, complete with greater access to water and to electricity.
On the labour front, he said “workers are much safer at the workplace today as a result of the combined efforts of successive governments and robust but responsible trade unions. A panoply of modern labour legislation now enriches our statute books.”
Stuart also pointed to the opportunities available to young people as well as the aged and disabled.
“Today, the vulnerable among us benefit from the existence of an extensive, highly sophisticated and reliable social safety net to which they can turn when necessity requires that they do so.”
He said that in spite of achievements related to the economy the nation still has some way to go.
“Not everyone has benefited from the Independence effort to the extent he or she would have wished. Some have experienced hurt at some time or another during the last 48 years. But that is not surprising for, in every part of the world, at any time of the day, the week, the month or the year, there are people who are hurting. The challenge facing our society is to ensure that the numbers of those who are hurting are kept to the barest minimum,” he said.