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November 30 is still Independence Day

November 30 is still Independence Day
Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams. (GP)

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November 30 will continue to be referred to as Independence Day in Barbados, and the people will be consulted on how best to celebrate the country’s new republic status.

This is the decision coming out of Thursday’s Cabinet meeting as promised by Minister of Home Affairs and Information Wilfred Abrahams.

There was a strong backlash from the public when the Barbados Labour Party administration sought to combine both Independence and republic activities under the name Barbados National Day on November 30. Barbadians took to social media and it was the main of choice on the call-in programmes, in the rum shops and on the streets.

In a statement issued late Wednesday night, Abrahams promised Cabinet would meet on the issue on Thursday and report to the people.

That update follows in full below:

November 30th is indelibly etched in the hearts and minds of Barbadians as the day when Barbados broke colonial ties and began the journey of charting our own destiny. Nothing can ever change that. It is also the date in 2021 on which Barbados transitioned to a Parliamentary Republic.

In response to the many queries as to the new name for November 30th celebrations, the Cabinet decided on the title Barbados National Day.

I made that announcement two days ago during a press conference at Illaro Court. Your response was swift and clear; a significant number of Barbadians voiced their disagreement with the recommended title, citing lack of public consultation.

We came to office as the government that cares, consults and listens; over the past 48 hours we have listened to Barbadians and, upon reflection agree that more public engagement is necessary to come up with the best way to celebrate our transition to a Parliamentary Republic.

This Cabinet will not shy away from reversing a prior decision when such a change is merited. This is such an occasion. The celebrations on November 30th must be such that all Barbadians wherever they are, feel proud to be Bajan.

Today, the Cabinet of Barbados met, reviewed and has decided that, November 30th will continue to be referred to as Independence Day. There will also be a national consultation to come up with the most fitting way to celebrate our transition to a parliamentary republic.

Rest assured that just as you overwhelmingly reposed your trust and confidence in us, we are equally responsive to your concerns. This Cabinet commits to wider public engagement on matters of national importance such as this.

November is our month; our time to celebrate the very best of Barbados and the Barbadian personality. Let us all join in this celebration of Barbadian pride and industry. Let us do so for the entire month, culminating on Independence Day. Let us do so in the words of our National Anthem – inspired, exulting, free. (PR/SAT)