As Barbados celebrated its 53rd anniversary of independence November 30, the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Bridgetown reminded Barbadians to also remember the extraordinary people who selflessly built the island—the policy makers, farmers, teachers, civil servants, doctors, judiciary, lawyers, engineers, creatives and entrepreneurs, as all have benefitted from the struggles, activism, vision, dreams and actions of our forefathers.
In a statement, Archbishop Jason Gordon of Port of Spain said while Barbadians give thanks to God for all their blessings and experiences as an independent nation, for the good times, the successes, the experience of hardship and disappointments, the questions remain: “What do 53 years of independence mean for Barbadians today, young and old?”
“Do we fully appreciate the tremendous privilege and responsibility of independence?”
“Do we take time to reflect on and give thanks for the contribution made by our forefathers, their patience and prayers, their blood, sweat, tears—and in some instances, their lives?” the Archbishop queried in his statement according to a Nation News report.
Nation-building, Archbishop Gordon said, is sometimes measured by the achievements or track record of the respective leaders, but every citizen plays a part; every citizen has incredible value and a purpose.
The combined commitment and effort of citizens over the years—the collaboration towards a common purpose—has contributed to their successes as an independent nation.
One extraordinary trait for which Barbadians were known, is their community spirit: lending a helping hand, smiling at a stranger, sharing what they have, listening to a friend. All this adds to what it means to be Barbadian. “Sadly, the habits of other societies, selfishness and ‘me first’, have become more apparent today, along with crime and violence,” the Archbishop said.
“What is our value system? How can we strengthen and give support to the family unit?” he asked. The Archbishop said if each tried to do one thing every day to help others, the cumulative effect of the small actions will create a positive difference in society.
Archbishop Gordon affirmed that religious leaders have an important role to play. They can engage faithful in the pew, young and old, to encourage them to be compassionate to those in need, help victims of violence, the unemployed, the poor and marginalised persons.
He offered congratulations to the Government and people of Barbados and prayed that with God’s guidance, the indefatigable Barbadian spirit and the solid value system of their forefathers will continue to be hallmarks of the people and nation.