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Dame Sandra tells Barbadians to chart new future

Barry Alleyne

Dame Sandra tells Barbadians to chart new future
President of Barbados, Her Excellency, The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, is conferred with the Order of Freedom of Barbados by Chief Justice Sir Patterson Cheltenham. (Picture by Reco Moore)

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President Sandra Mason’s first speech as this country’s Head of State was one aimed at bringing Barbadians closer and encouraging them to move the country forward as a republic.

Moments after being installed in a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry at National Heroes Square in the capital of Bridgetown, Dame Sandra reminded Barbadians of what made them strong as a people that brought the country through 55 years of Independence, and suggested what would be needed in its new capacity.

“I greet and join you this day in celebration of our nation, our people, and the future we now chart,” she said as she sat at the dais for a special celebration.

The president noted that when Barbados became independent on November 30, 1966, the island was still seeking to find its national identity to stamp its place in the world.

“Since Independence we have built an international reputation anchored on our characteristics, our national values, our stability and our success, drawing on the lessons of those intervening years, possessing a clear sense of who we are and what we are capable of achieving.

“In the year 2021, we now turn our vessel’s bow towards the new republic. We do this so that we may seize the full substance of our sovereignty,” she added.

Dame Sandra also spoke to the journey which led the country to last night, noting that for decades, Barbadians have had debate and discourse.

“Today, we set our compass to a new direction, girded by the successes of the last 55 years, buoyed by the confidence garnered from our triumphs accomplishments, committed to country and each other, and motivated to press confidently and boldly forward for the sake of our nation, and for present and future generations.”

She said that as a republic, Barbados would stand on, and claim its traditions, heritage and patrimony, earned by the sweat of Bajan brows, and inherited from our forefathers.

“As we celebrate all that is good in us as a people and travel onward, we must avoid the trap of merely reliving, retelling and relying on our past achievements as a nation. Instead, we must seek to redefine our definition of self, of state, and the Barbados brand, in a more complex, fractured, and turbulent world,” she advised Barbadians.

The president noted that out of the structure of independent Barbados is a call to greatness that was contemplated by forefathers and enshrined in the lyrics of the country’s national anthem. She said answering that call would require of all Bajans an act of will and the determination to build and improve upon what existed before and the unwilling resolve to safeguard the island’s reputation, and advance national interests. (BA)