Still worth the cel­e­bra­tion

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Opinion -

The events over the past year are likely to im­pact how many Bar­ba­di­ans will feel about cel­e­brat­ing our 52nd In­de­pen­dence birth­day to­mor­row.

For the hun­dreds of civil ser­vants re­trenched over the last few weeks in Gov­ern­ment’s on­go­ing re­struc­tur­ing pro­gramme, it will not nec­es­sar­ily be a happy day. Nei­ther will it be a joy­ous oc­ca­sion for sev­eral of their for­mer col­leagues who may be won­der­ing if they could be next, given the Bar­ba­dos Work­ers’ Union gen­eral sec­re­tary’s state­ment that the re­trench­ment ex­er­cise could last into 2019.

It is also un­likely to be a day of re­joic­ing for sev­eral Bar­ba­di­ans who lost loved ones to the vi­o­lence and law­less­ness plagu­ing our so­ci­ety. Their grief of los­ing some­one would likely be com­pounded with the knowl­edge that even when the cul­prit(s) are caught, they may not be con­victed of the crime un­til af­ter five years or more.

Worse, they may have to cope with see­ing the ac­cused on the streets months af­ter their ar­rest, and the in­di­vid­ual would likely re­main free on bail for years while the mat­ter lan­guishes in the painfully slow court sys­tem.

For those in the pri­vate sec­tor who are for­tu­nate to be work­ing, many could be won­der­ing if their or­gan­i­sa­tion would be lay­ing off peo­ple af­ter the up­com­ing hol­i­day sea­son as has been qui­etly go­ing on for the last few years due to the cloud of uncer­tainty that has been hang­ing over the econ­omy.

Bar­ba­di­ans’ con­cerns don’t stop there. With house­holds to sup­port and chil­dren to clothe and feed, many are trou­bled about the level of tax­a­tion be­ing de­manded, as well as the high prices that greet them daily whether in the su­per­mar­kets, stores, restau­rants or from ven­dors.

They are anx­ious too, over their in­abil­ity to get to work in a timely fash­ion given the un­re­li­a­bil­ity of pub­lic trans­port, while the pot­holed con­di­tions of the roads make trav­el­ling in all ve­hi­cles a bumpy, un­com­fort­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

And if that is not enough, many are be­ing frus­trated by the lack of timely garbage col­lec­tions, while oth­ers in cer­tain parts of the is­land are daily in­con­ve­nienced by the poor qual­ity of their wa­ter sup­ply, or too fre­quent wa­ter out­ages. Like it or not, this is Bar­ba­dos to­day. It is not a pretty pic­ture. How we got to this point will con­tinue to be a talk­ing point. For sure, those who held the reins of power within the re­cent past can­not es­cape crit­i­cism for their stew­ard­ship. But, what re­ally mat­ters now is how we can get past this stage and cre­ate a bet­ter, brighter fu­ture.

Iron­i­cally, our democ­racy which gave us a lead­er­ship whose poli­cies greatly con­trib­uted to our present predica­ment also pro­vided the mech­a­nism for us to re­place them peace­fully. And that is worth cel­e­brat­ing.

Our In­de­pen­dence is worth cole­brat­ing be­cause we have achieved much in the last 52 years de­spite the sev­eral chal­lenges we faced as a small is­land de­vel­op­ing state. And we’re con­fi­dent that our hall­mark re­silience as a peo­ple will once again al­low us to punch above our weight.

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