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EDITORIAL: Countdown to Independence celebrations


EDITORIAL: Countdown to Independence celebrations

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IT’S ABOUT TIME! In fact, some would argue it’s way past the time that plans for the climax of celebrations for this country’s 50th anniversary of Independence should have been revealed to the public.

With just less than six weeks to go before Independence Day on November 30, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on Tuesday announced the final events to mark the milestone anniversary.

The activities are set to start on November 1 with the 50th Anniversary Of Independence Lighting Ceremony in Heroes Square, and will climax with a Golden Anniversary Spectacular Mega Concert at the Garrison Savannah on November 30.

It is a little more than disappointing that Government did not reveal these plans much earlier to allow those planning to visit these shores enough time to adequately prepare for their trip.

This should not come as a surprise to those working on the activities to celebrate Independence, as they should anticipate a crush of nostalgic Barbadians who would want to be home for the celebrations.

William “Billy” Griffith, chief executive officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., had already said they were confident but “cautiously optimistic” that droves of visitors would be descending on these shores next month.

One of the major announcements made in the Prime Minister’s press conference was that Rihanna would be flying in for the celebrations. The superstar, whose roots are in Westbury Road, St Michael, will be singing the National Anthem at the mega concert on November 30 and this no doubt will be one of the highlights of the month-long activities. 

It also did not go unnoticed that the Prime Minister said the Independence activities were all well within budget. There had already been some concerns expressed that with Barbados going through some economic turbulence, the country could ill-afford to spend wildly, even if it was for what some might deem a worthwhile cause.

While the Prime Minister did not give a breakdown of the funds, he said the year of celebrations in the lead-up to November 30 was estimated to cost about $7 million. This should sit well with Barbadians knowing that costs will be contained in the face of economic uncertainty.

So, as November 1 is fast approaching, we eagerly look forward to the activities to mark the nation’s 50th. It is a time when we all should feel proud to be Barbadian.

It is a time to celebrate Barbados and what Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has so eloquently captured as “The Idea of Barbados”. It is a time for all of us to come together and celebrate all that we have become as a nation.

We embrace the words of Prime Minister Stuart when he said: “We must celebrate Barbados. What we have achieved thus far is worthy of celebration and we must ensure that our people know and appreciate the sacrifices that were made by countless Barbadians at all levels to chart the course for us to arrive at this milestone.”