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US Embassy celebrates independence

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

US Embassy celebrates independence

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JUBILATION FILLED THE air at the United States Embassy in Barbados yesterday evening as more than 600 guests, including government ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, prominent business people, and key mission contacts, toasted America’s on 238th anniversary of independence. 
America the Beautiful: A Red, White and Blue Affair was one of many celebrations hosted by US embassies worldwide to commemorate US independence. The Embassy held its celebration on July 2, in a nod to July 2, 1776, the date the Continental Congress approved a motion for independence to set the 13 American colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. 
Barbados’ Governor General Sir Elliot Belgrave and his wife Lady Belgrave were guests of honour while Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy brought greetings on behalf of the Government of Barbados.
The formal ceremony included a presentation of colours by the United States Marine Security Guard Detachment, the singing of the Barbados national anthem and the United States national anthem by The Mighty Gabby and Paula Hinds, respectively, and an invocation by Pastor Elector Pearson. 
In his remarks, Minister Sealy congratulated the United States, citing the long and productive relationship that both Barbados and the United States have enjoyed over the years. 
“The United States was one of the first countries to recognize Barbados when we gained independence in 1966, and since then, the relationship has worked well for both of us.  Barbados is proud of what the United States has achieved, and we are also proud of the little role we played in this,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS Dr. Larry Palmer also mentioned the excellent relationship between the United States and the Eastern Caribbean and highlighted two ways that the US Embassy supports sustainable economic growth, good governance, and safe and vibrant civil societies. 
 “The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, for example, focuses on citizen safety throughout the hemisphere. It is the flagship foreign assistance program for us, and we work hand-in-hand with our law enforcement and NGO partners in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean to improve citizen safety, security, and rule of law in the region,” he said.
He added: “Education is very important to me, and education, especially STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, is a priority for President Obama as well.  Our educational cultural exchanges are the core of our efforts in this regard.  I am so pleased that under the 100 000 Strong in the Americans initiative, the Barbados Community College has partnered with universities in the United States to provide academic scholarships to Caribbean students in the disciplines of education, computer science, and the health sciences.”
Following his remarks, Palmer invited guests to join him in a toast to America’s independence. 
The formal ceremony culminated in a pyrotechnics display as the US Marines presented the Independence Day cake that was cut by Ambassador Palmer and his wife Lucille Palmer. 
Guests then dined on classic American food and danced the night away to the sounds of local band, Brass Soul. (PR/NB)