Atherley: Continue to seek new levels of achievement

Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph Atherley. (FILE)

Message by Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph J.S. Atherley on the occasion of Barbados’ 55th anniversary of Independence

Fellow Barbadians, I join you in glad celebration on the occasion of the attainment of the fifty-fifth anniversary of our Independence as a developing nation state.

We are indeed a people blessed under the Sovereign hand of God; to whom we offer all gratitude. Our gratitude as well to all those who have gone before, men and women at all levels who have contributed, some in small ways, some in big ways, some in heroic fashion, but all in selfless ways to the building of this nation.

Our sense of celebration is heightened today because we also observe our first day as the world’s newest Republic. The Lord has been our faithful guide through all these years. May we give thanks to Him for the blessing embodied in all those our leaders who have led us to this moment of Constitutional and Political advancement.

Let me early offer, on behalf of the Opposition, congratulations to Madam President, Her Excellency Sandra Mason, on her elevation to this high office as our first native head of state in this new republic. May I record our commendation to the Hon. Prime Minister and Government for their appreciation of this our moment in time as a maturing nation.

Over the last fifty-five years our achievements in the area of democracy formation, governance and institutional development, law and jurisprudence, education, health and other social services, infrastructural development and economic advancement have been nothing less than stellar. May all of these platforms serve to propel us to new levels of achievement and excellence in our enhanced Independence experience.

Yet this fifty-fifth year has seen us facing down persisting problems with respect to access to and the dispense of justice; some measure of institutional dysfunction; an apathetic disposition to some of our governance processes.

And in this last year we have also seen challenges approaching crisis proportions, with traumatic impact upon our education, health and social services sectors, our infrastructural architecture and capacity, and on our economy. May our resolve to address these challenges take on a new robustness in these urgent times.

As we moved on today in our journey of Independence to the status of Republic, we did not raise a flag, since our national colours already fly their proud beauty and brilliance here at home and elsewhere in the major capitals of this world.

The enterprise and excellence of a small population in this small space we call Barbados, are loudly and irrefutably spoken of by many who cast glance on the quiet confident presence of those national colours both at home and abroad.

So we need not, and did not, raise a new flag today; but I would wish to encourage us to agree together to:

Let us raise our hands in applause resolutely to Him who has been our help in ages past and remains our best and ultimate hope for years to come.

Let us raise our voices in unapologetic praise to Him who has blessed us beyond our deserving.

Let us unabashedly raise our faith to take hold of that hand upon which we must rely for leading in the new republic.

Let us raise our platform of standards and values to an even more elevated level, so that greater pride attaches to our spirit of industry.  So that neighbourliness is afresh valued. So that moral rectitude is better expressed and reflected.

Let us raise our levels of productivity; for He who has designed and created us, gave us dominion over our resources and commanded productivity. Higher levels of productivity will reduce our undesirably high levels of dependence.

Let us raise our heads, indeed ourselves, from a bowed posture of over-dependence on the costly crumbs that fall from the table of the economic masters of this world.

Let us today raise our vision to look with hope beyond the existing horizons of underemployment, of landlessness, of limited privilege, to a new emerging dawn of betterment.

Today I urge us:

To ponder what is possible when once we each do our best in the interest of Barbados.

I urge us:

To pursue that which is worthwhile and enduring to our common good.

I urge us:

To position ourselves to take our place strategically in this world’s competitive and skewed market place.

I urge us:

To plant seeds of hope in the hearts of our offspring that will bear wholesome fruit in the life of our nation of tomorrow.

I urge us:

To proclaim with clarity our commitment to faith, family, freedom and fair play as the underpinning planks of the maturing nation edifice we are constructing.

I urge us:

To pray with faith and fervor for continued blessing on our leaders, our lawmakers and our land.

I urge us:

To pledge afresh our allegiance to our country Barbados and its flag, to uphold and defend their honour and by our living to do credit to our nation wherever we go.

Happy Independence Day to all. Safe and pleasant Republic Day celebrations.



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