BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Barbados on Friday celebrated its 52nd anniversary of political independence from Britain, with Prime Minister Mia Mottley saying the island has regained its ability to “punch above our weight again.”
Mottley, the island’s first woman prime minister, told citizens “Barbados shall forever be friends of all and satellites of none,” an apparent reference to the present economic situation facing the island. “Barbados will join the clubs when we can afford to pay the dues,” she warned.
The prime minister delivered her Independence Message at the military parade at the Kensington Oval.
“We have come to Kensington Oval today on November 30, 2018, to say to the people of the world and to say to Barbadians that we too can punch above our weight again in this country,” she said.
Big plans for 2020 celebrations
Prime Minister Mottley told the nation her administration is planning a grand celebration for all Barbadians in 2020 to coincide with her administration’s perfection for the brightest possible Barbados.
“We will be inviting all Barbadians, those by birth, those by marriage, those by choice to come home during the year 2020,” she said, noting that the home-coming would start with the residents of the parish of St. Lucy in January 2020 until all the parishes are accounted for on a monthly basis ahead of November 29.
“And then from November 30, 2020 to the 31st of December we invite the whole nation to celebrate as we confirm the gathering 2020 on the people of Barbados. For this is our statement to our own and it is our statement to the people of the world,” she said.
Mottley said that her administration would also be placing much emphasis on getting young people more involved in sports as well as learning foreign languages.
She said the young people would be given an opportunity ‘to know what it is to play a sport because in playing a sport you learn to play together and to play in partnership with others.
“To be exposed to an artistic discipline because being exposed to an artistic discipline you learn to think and you learn to care and you learn to be tolerant and finally to be exposed to entrepreneurship and business because nobody is going to give us a living in this country.
“We need to make a living in this world for ourselves,” prime Minister Mottley told the nation.
Message from Opposition Leader
In his first ever Independence Message, Opposition Leader, Bishop Joseph J.S. Atherley noted as the island aspires to the achievement it contemplates over the next several decades “we need to resist any national posture which denies or defies the guidance we have relied on these past 300 years.”
Among those being honored to mark the occasion were:
Retired educator Avisene Carrington has been made a Dame of St Andrew becoming the first centenarian to be conferred the island’s highest award since the National Honors began in 1980.
Kenneth Hewitt, a former chartered accountant, who acted as Governor General from August 28 to September 16, has been knighted for his contribution to the development of the international business sector.
Attorney Philip Serrao was knighted and recognized for his contribution to modernizing the Barbados electoral system and its administrative process.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CAICOM), Irwin LaRocque in extending congratulations from the Community to Barbados, highlighted the country’s success as a nation and its role in the regional integration movement.