Prince Edward praises island on progress

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 24 February 2012

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BRITAIN’S PRINCE EDWARD yesterday sang the praises of Barbados as a “model small state” but advised its leaders they would need courage, creativity and common sense to overcome the economic challenges. Addressing a Joint Sitting of Parliament in the Senate Chamber, held in commemoration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Earl of Wessex said Barbados had demonstrated its maturity and self-confidence and that it actively seeks to learn from the past. “Rarely has this been more important than now as all parts of the world struggle to overcome the past few years of international economic turmoil,” said the Earl, speaking from his seat on the dais as his wife, Princess Sophie, sat on his left. “As legislators and as leaders you are well aware of the responsibilities and difficulties you face as you seek firstly to safeguard your country’s hard won economic and social gains in so volatile an environment, and then to prosper. “To respond to these challenges, you will need courage, creativity and common sense, traits which have long characterized the Barbadian spirit. With trust in the resilience of your people, confidence in the future and faith in the Almighty, Barbados’ continued development will be assured.” The prince, passing on the Queen’s regret that she could not visit the island, said Barbados held a special place in her heart and that she was proud of its achievements, in particular the progress it has made in its 45 years as a sovereign state. “Her Majesty is well aware that your international reputation as a model small state has not come about by accident. Through the hard work of generations of Barbadians and the enlightened vision of your leaders, you have built a parliamentary democracy which is strong and stable, an educated society which is just and well ordered, and a people who are dedicated to the betterment of their families, their communities and their country.” Prince Edward added that Barbados was highly regarded within the Commonwealth and United Nations for its respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as adherence to the principles of good governance. Additionally, he said, the country had earned the distinction as a champion of the cause of small states, and as a passionate advocate for the creation of an effective global response to their peculiar economic and ecological vulnerabilities. “And within CARICOM, your commitment to regional integration and your leadership role in the building of the Caribbean Community and its Single Market and Economy have been acknowledged as exemplary,” he said. “These are not the actions of a weak or fledgling state.” Prince Edward assured Barbados that the Queen’s affection towards it remained as strong and constant as when she acceded the throne 60 years ago, and said she was touched that “through all these years you have shown such loyalty and have steadfastly wanted her as your Queen and Head of State”. (DP)

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