Independence Address to the Youth Rally
Honourable Arsene Vigil James
February 22, 2007
RISING TO THE GLOBAL CHALLENGES
This theme suggests that we must strive for excellence and always give of our best if we are to be able to stand up to the global challenges that we will encounter. We cannot rise to the challenges over night. We must indeed prepare to do so. Preparation takes time. For some of us it consumes much more time and effort, but in the end we achieve the desired success. To achieve success we must muster the will to do so and develop the right mind set and positive attitude.
We must be disciplined in our approaches, we must be committed to the task to be undertaken, and persevere till we have accomplished the task successfully. In simple words, we must all be prepared to work hard. Those of us who are already committed to hard work must vow to work harder. We must never allow the failure to achieve success in our initial trials to force us to give up. Many persons have triumphed through the ‘trial and error method’. Though not the preferred way, many inventions have been perfected by this method.
With many more schools and new technology these days we are provided with more opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills and training that will help to equip us to rise to the global challenges. Those of us who have achieved a certain measure of success must further build on that success in order to achieve greater success. We must believe in and ensure we maintain standards.
Some of us have doubt in ourselves, we have a low impression of ourselves and are afraid that we will not succeed. We should rule out the idea that things are suppose to happen in an instant. Very few things happen this way. And when they do it took much pain, toil and sweat to cause them to happen.
In some cases our young men are afraid even to try to work hard at school for fear of not achieving success. So, they tend to give up even before making an effort and as a consequence deviate to the negative trends and ills of society. The revelation of high consumption of drugs and alcohol among our secondary schools students through a survey undertaken by the Substance Abuse Advisory Council Secretariat is testimony to this negative trend. As a nation, we must work together to reverse this trend. Together we must help our children develop positive attitudes to achievement.
‘Rising to the Global Challenges’ also suggest that we must be prepared to face competition from the entire world. Already we are faced with WTO, NAFTA, FTAA, the EU
regime and right at our doorstep, CSME. With the impending free movement of the people of the OECS, we must strive to equip ourselves with the type and quality of education that will give us a competing chance and thereby make ourselves marketable.
We must have faith. We must do what it takes to rise to the challenges. We will not get there overnight, but we will eventually get there if we work purposefully and progressively. We must top criticizing those who genuinely make the effort but rather we should encourage and support them. We should all together be prepared to work harder and perform at our best at all times.
We are not asking everyone to become doctors or lawyers. If we do so, we will create an imbalance in our development thrust. We need craft-men, fishermen and the list goes on. All we are saying is that whatever interest you wish to pursue you should strive to perform at your best. For example you need to develop the skills and acquire the knowledge and experience that will make you a ‘top class’ plumber or carpenter. Remember, that in order to become ‘top class’ you must first be able to read, write and compute efficiently. You need to be able to stand on your own among persons with similar expertise within the region and within the wider world.
All in all you need to develop the correct attitudes, attain the right values, practise healthy life styles so as to become productive law abiding citizens who will contribute favourably to the economic and social development of your country. You ought to be able to think constructively and reason out rationally to come up with logical decisions and conclusions. You must be able to differentiate right from wrong, positive from the negative and be committed to the goal of striving to attain Excellence. Once you are prepared to go that way, you are well within the path of “Rising to the Global Challenges”. You are never too old to learn or to take up new pursuits.
Let me take this opportunity to wish all St. Lucians a ‘HAPPY 28TH INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATIONS. May the rest of 2007 be satisfying and fruitful with God’s richest blessings’.
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