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EDITORIAL – Strength in unity for rough patch

marciadottin, [email protected]

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The Lord has been the people’s guide
For past three hundred years
With him still on the people’s side
We have no doubts or fears
Upward and onward we shall go
Inspired, exulting, free
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity.
Extract from the National Anthem. Lyrics by Irving Burgie.
IN TIMES OF CRISIS, Barbadians have traditionally called upon the Lord for strength and guidance. That faith in Him has always given us the hope and promise of better times to come.
In the last three weeks, a number of events have moved us to seek the Father’s wisdom in earnest.
First, there was the firebombing of the Campus Trendz store in Tudor Street, The City, in which six young women died. Although three weeks have passed since that September 3 tragedy, the funerals of those innocent victims have kept the trauma very much with us.
Then two Fridays ago, September 10, there was widespread flooding primarily across Christ Church, leading to people being displaced.
On Thursday we got the sad news that Prime Minister David Thompson was stricken with cancer of the pancreas. Thankfully, according to his personal physician Dr Richard Ishmael, his “mind, brain and intellect are as sharp as ever” and from a medical standpoint there is no reason why he cannot continue to perform his duties at the helm of Government, albeit at a reduced pace”.
And yesterday, winds associated with Hurricane Igor, which was swirling in the north of the region, blew off a couple of rooftops and toppled over one house in St Philip, leaving at least one couple homeless.
This triple strike of fire, water and wind, along with the depressing news about the Prime Minister, and all of this against a background of possibly the worst economic crisis in our history, has undoubtedly affected the spirits of every Barbadian.
In such circumstances, the worst of a people is sometimes seen. That this has not happened speaks of our collective abiding faith in staying the course no matter what.
We have come together as a people, lifting ourselves above the political divide and all other divides. There is a certain humanity that has brought us together.
Indeed, though very sick, the Prime Minister still sought to inspire the public to rally behind the families of the six young women killed in the Campus Trendz incident by calling for a three-minute period of silence. This was widely observed, demonstrating the ties that bind us regardless of political affiliation, wealth, status and race.
Our actions crystalised the commonality that links Barbadian hearts from coast to coast with a noble pride in our island home.
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur also captured these sentiments when he said in reacting to the news of Thompson’s cancer diagnosis that he wished “out of this . . . we find a way in Barbados, especially on the two sides of the political divide, to . . . get along”.
Our sensitivity, our willingness to overleap partisanship of one kind or another speaks of a maturity about which we should have a healthy pride. In this we are showing our strength and unity.