Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Bajans in Tampa coming for Independence

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IT APPEARS MANY BARBADIANS living in Tampa, Florida, will be packing their bags and heading home to celebrate this country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence on November 30 this year.

Word of this has come from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who participated in the Seventh Annual Spring Gala of the Barbados Association of Tampa Bay, Inc. (BAOTB) over the weekend.

Stuart told the Barbados Government Information Service: “Many of the Barbadians living in Tampa have served notice that they will be home for Independence, and are looking forward with eager anticipation to the celebrations. Some are coming for Crop Over and then coming back for Independence, while some are foregoing Crop Over in order to be here for Independence.”

He disclosed that the fund-raiser event which he addressed on Saturday night was “fully sold out”. The Prime Minister said he told his audience about some of the achievements since Independence and pointed out that the focus must now be on what kind of Barbados should be passed on to future generations.

“I explained that we have a lot to be thankful for in terms of the Barbados that was passed to us… I made the point, which I made recently elsewhere, that the last 50 years were 50 years of entitlement, and many groups in the society have been empowered. The next 50 years are intended to be 50 years of responsibility, where people assume greater responsibility for the moulding of their future and their destiny once the State has created the kind of environment in which they are able to do so.

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“I also explained that this does not mean that we lose sight of the fact that there are and will be vulnerable elements in this society, marginalised elements in the society, and voiceless elements in the society, for whose interest we still have to look out and who we have to make sure are not left behind. I thought the message was very well received,” he stated.

In addition, Stuart said presentations on tourism were done at a town hall meeting, and he was particularly impressed with those of Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority, Dr Kerry Hall, and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.’s Director in the United States, Petra Roach. He stressed that “it is very clear that the vision for tourism has been well worked out and that we are on our way”.

The Prime Minister said his visit to Tampa, which he described as “inspiring and successful”, was in harmony with Government’s policy that the Barbadian diaspora would be treated as an essential part of this country.

“So, I have been going to various capitals and addressing Barbadians wherever they can be found, not only updating them on what is happening in the country but also enlisting their support in the country’s development, particularly in this 50th anniversary year. I am determined to meet as many Barbadians where they are to promote our jubilee celebrations and to elicit from them a reaffirmation of their commitment to the country’s development…,” he explained.

The theme of this year’s event was: Celebrating 50 years of Barbados’ Independence. The BAOTB Inc. is a nonprofit organisation which was formed in 2009 and promotes cultural diversity among Barbadians living in their community, other cultural/ethnic organisations, and individuals in the Tampa Bay community.

Its goal is to bring Barbadians living in the Tampa Bay area – which has a population of approximately 4 million people – and surrounding communities closer together, and to promote Barbados as a tourism destination of choice. The BAOTB Inc. liaises with Barbadians living in the diaspora as well as those at home.

One of the organisation’s primary objectives is to collaborate with partner charities which focus on cancer. It raises awareness and provides education to cancer patients, their families, and caregivers in the Tampa Bay area and at home.

The Association has partnered with the Cancer Support Services since 2010, donating cash, supplies and equipment each year. It has also provided equipment and supplies to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (BGIS)

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