NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE: A year for progress
The following is the New Year’s message from Lynette Eastmond, chairman of the United Progressive Party.
There is always room to make a significant difference in the space we occupy.
Good morning! Looks like we have made it!
We have before us another year and just like an unwrapped present we do not know what 2019 will bring us. And just as is the case with any present we hope that the gift will bring us joy. Unlike that unwrapped present however, it lies within our power to strive to make the year what we desire most. And we have 365 tries at reaching that goal.
We are powerful
We often believe that there is not much that is within our power. And it is in the interest of those with delegated power to convince us that we have none. But doing our best and pursuing excellence whatever the hand we have been dealt is within our power.
The pursuit of excellence
Doing our best and pursuing excellence has never produced failure. This I can guarantee.
The objective in so doing is not to be recognised globally but to make a difference in the lives of our family, friends and neighbours. This will redound to the benefit of our country.
I suspect that this was the goal of many generations past.
This is happiness
Certainly no one holds the key to our happiness. It is not those who have the most of anything that are the happiest at the beginning of 2019.
Happiness is about being at peace with ourselves-both our temporal and spiritual selves.
You might wonder why I speak of happiness with all of the challenges facing Barbados and Barbadians.
What I speak of is a fundamental joy which permeates one’s soul which can only ever be dampened but not extinguished by circumstances.
Certainly we are not in the days of the 1730s or the 1930s.
If our ancestors persevered through the challenges of those days, then today we cannot then ask any less of ourselves, the families of which we are a part, our community or our nation.
There are many fundamental challenges which we face in our country which we need to fix.
I will state some of them not because we do not know them but rather because we have not had the courage to face them, mitigate them and finally eliminate them.
We have been so timid in addressing the failures that even identifying them and speaking about them still requires courage.
• Corruption which prevents our best talent from rising to the top and leading our country to excellence.
• A criminal justice system which is still oppressive to the poor and facilitating of the rich.
• An education system which is designed to create hewers of wood and drawers of water.
• A disregard for our own health and that of our wards and a similar disregard for our environment.
We continue to allow many of our fundamental problems to fester and the cost is high for there is no doubt that it results in the loss of great potential including loss of life.
We must be conscious of the narrative being fabricated that it is impossible for these changes to be made.
And yet there are countries with larger populations and which are more “advanced” which have not allowed their societies to degenerate to a place where gun violence and corruption are endemic.
And it is no longer possible for a handful of people to generate the employment and foreign exchange necessary to fulfil the expectations of our citizens.
We want more. There is nothing inevitable about violence, poverty and want.
Rather it is about the path we choose as a nation.
The optimism of progressive thinking
We within the Progressive Party are still optimistic and we believe that there is still time to save our country from the worst aspects of itself.
We need to resist the temptation of applying plaster and placebo in order to create a feel good sensation.
We believe that Barbadians are ready and willing to do what is necessary to provide the balance in our country which rewards hard work, good ideas and excellence.
Our brave ancestors must be celebrated
Barbadians are criticised for many things. We are considered to be passive. It is said that we are not risk takers. It is said that we are not innovative.
And admittedly we have not learnt how to participate in our democracy beyond the five year voting cycle.
Indeed there is every effort made to quell any unfamiliar voices.
But we in the Progressive Party believe that we can reach a place where liberation and true democracy exist.
While many of us wish to forget our past, the Barbadian journey is one to be celebrated; not one to be diminished or dismissed.
It is a part of our history that the majority of our ancestors came out of a colonial plantation system with no physical assets.
And in the 1930s the majority had only a little more than that.
It is a part of our history too that our ancestors built these pretty chattel houses so that when they were told to pack up their things and leave at the whim of some other person they could do so.
It is also a part of our history that many of our people left and went to Panama because they were on the verge of starvation. Sadly many of them died there.
However others started the acquisition of property in Barbados with the Panama money from which their descendants now benefit.
It is also a part of our history that older members of our families took the hardship of the cold in foreign parts for education, to work in the public service and to do labour intensive jobs in commercial enterprises to send back money to their families.
How could we wish to ignore this celebration of ingenuity, bravery, boldness and strength?
Our ancestors toiled to create trade unions, political parties, business organisations and cooperatives with the noblest of intentions.
Let us not lose the narrative. Let us not deviate from the script of progress. Health care and education have produced a Barbadian ready to take on the world. Only a few have done so. And in most instances they have had to leave our country for their worth to be recognised and nurtured. And as a result other countries benefit from the income which they generate, their skill and their social activism. Fundamental change will be manifested in the best efforts emanating continuously from our shores.
None of us must do anything to dampen the big dreams of Barbadians.
And all of us who can must do our best to ensure that those big dreams can be realised here.
• Let us reach out to our family members who need our love and our assistance.
• Let us nurture our children and young adults.
•Let us work within our communities to make them strong.
• Let us support our local businesses.
• Let us provide employment opportunities wherever we can.
The objective of the Progressive Party is continuous development of our country and ultimately the fulfilment of the human and spiritual self.
Our task as it has been from the time Barbados knew itself is to make progress even if by inches for all of our people.
The United Progressive Party has joined that noble cause and sends you our best wishes as we work towards progress in 2019! Happy New Year!