By Gerald V. Paul
A large gathering of Barbadians celebrated the 48th anniversary of their country’s independence last Sunday at the Cathedral Church of St. James with the theme ‘Onward and Upward’.
They came in from the cold, huddled and sang: “The Lord has been the people’s guide for the past 300 years. With him still on the people’s side we have no doubts or fears.”
Consul General for Barbados at Toronto Haynesley Benn called on the worshippers to “give thanks and praise to God, to whom all blessings flow.”
Benn said they need to count their blessings in the good and bad times. He updated the audience on the farm workers program and tourism and expressed appreciation for remittances sent to Barbados.
“Let us find ways to move in the right direction in collaborative wisdom, “Benn said. He called on the diaspora to visit the consulate more often and send e-mails on the improvement of services the consulate provides.
This is a banner year for Barbados on many fronts. It continues its commitment to advance an inclusive development paradigm for a Barbados that is socially balanced, economically viable and environmentally sound.
As a way out of recession, the audience was urged to invest heavily in human resources because, they heard, it’s the people who contribute most to recovery and, given a chance, will guarantee the sustainable development of their nation.
The Barbados economy is driven by tourism, international business and financial services and agro-processing. Dependence on these sectors to generate foreign exchange resources vital to the stability and orderly progress of their nation commits their people to risks that have to be avoided or at best, mitigated.
Tourism staff told The Camera that Barbados is acknowledged as the preferred destination for generations of A-list celebrities and ranked No. 1 in the Caribbean for the greatest percentage of repeat visitors. That’s thanks to a year-round climate of near-perfect weather, a wonderful environment and safe, tolerant and harmonious society.
The capital Bridgetown and its Garrison is a UNESCO World Heritage Property with unique characteristics, including the largest and most influential British port cities in the Americas. One can enjoy visits to the oldest synagogue in the hemisphere and the third-oldest parliament in the British Commonwealth.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has outlined the main planks of his government’s restructuring:
- rapid development of alternative sources to reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuel generated energy to save foreign exchange;
- enhanced environmental quality;
- improved competitiveness of domestic production;
- new remunerative employment opportunities.
- Suitably, after the choral anthem The Storm Is Passing Over, prayers followed to “the government and people of Barbados; the government and people of Canada; the church and the world.