Government of Saint Lucia

Go to Homepage


[Site Map]

[Contact Us]

Search this Site

Independence Address to the Youth Rally by The Rt. Hon. Sir John G.M. Compton February 22, 2007

horizontal rule

Governor General
Prime Minister
The Cabinet
The Senate
House of Assembly
Overseas Missions
The Constitution
The Staff Orders

National Television Network
Watch NTN Live

Saint Lucia Gazette
Press Releases
About Saint Lucia
Frequently Asked Questions
Web Links
Government Directory
Browse by Agency
Site Help









Your Excellency, the Governor General;


Honourable Minister for Education and members of Cabinet and of the House of Parliament of Saint Lucia;


Your Excellencies, members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Principals, Teachers, students, parents and guardians, ladies and gentlemen:


Today, I once again have the privilege to address the children of Saint Lucia. The last time I did so was eleven years ago when I said farewell to you as your Prime Minister. Some of you who heard me then, as students, now hear me perhaps as teachers.


In whatever capacity you are today, I address you with great humility as I am aware that I address, many of whom will be the leaders of Saint Lucia, be it as teachers, business or professional people; be it as farmers or fishermen; be it as doctors, lawyers, engineers or electricians – all have a part – an important part in building the future of our country. What Saint Lucia will be in ten years time will depend very much upon how you prepare yourselves today. The seed you plant today will be the fruit you eat tomorrow, or as the saying goes in our vernacular, ‘how you make your bed, that is how you will lie on it’.

You have been given an opportunity that our parents never dreamt of. Today you can see before you, doors that can be opened which were closed to your parents. The key to those doors lie in your hands, and the key is the education and training which your parents, your leaders and your Government have made sacrifices to give you. My plea to you today is that you should not throw it away.


Twenty-eight years ago, in discussing what should be done as a lasting monument in celebration of our Independence, we did not choose a monument of concrete and stone. We did not choose to erect a building – we chose to invest in our future by educating our young people, by making secondary education free for all who qualify in the common entrance examination. How right that decision was can be seen, that today many of those who benefited from that decision are in leadership positions, not only in Saint Lucia but in many of the international organizations. They should be your role models, they are the ones who have cut through the undergrowth and cut the trail in your pursuit of excellence.


The theme chosen for this years’ Independence celebration, ‘Rising to the Challenges of Globalization’ is both relevant and timely.


It directs our thoughts to the realities of the modern world. Modern communications have broken all physical barriers. The bird flu in far away places causes a shortage of poultry meat in Saint Lucia. The terrorism of 9/11 affects the jobs in small hotels. The CARICOM Countries have agreed to create a Single Market and Economy in which, not only goods can travel without barriers, but also people can travel as well, but only people with certain qualifications. You therefore have to educate and train yourself to compete for employment not only with your fellow Saint Lucians, but others from other CARICOM countries, with higher educational standards.


Our duty is to equip you with the standard of education to permit you to compete and you must equip yourselves to meet these challenges.


Your birth certificate and your residence here will give you a head start, but it will not give you protection – your birth certificate therefore is not the only certificate you should have.


Last year, the policy of Universal Secondary Education was announced. To meet its lofty goal of offering education beyond the primary stage, much needs to be done to fine tune it – to ensure that each child is placed in a school or institution best suited for his or her talent. For this reason, your Government has created a Task Force headed by a distinguished former Minister of Education, Mr Louis George, to report before the beginning of the next school year.


It is realized that some children will be placed in schools away from his or her district. Government will re-introduce subsidized school transport to relieve the parents of this financial burden. We shall transport the children to the school to which they are assigned and take them back. The loitering on the roadside will be a thing of the past.


In grading the schools and planning the students we are reminded of the parable of the talent: some were given ten talents, some five and some one, but every person was given a talent. It is how we use the talent we have been given that matters. We can waste it idleness or we can invest it in our education.

As I reminded you earlier, the choice is yours, with the assistance of your parents, your teachers and your friends. How you make your bed, is how you lie down. Education is not only book learning, as we are often reminded. Education is how you make the best use of the talents, the opportunities you have been given. There are activities outside the class room in which you should participate - in sports, in music, in drama, in activities in your community. Instead of sitting on the block after school, you should be joining clubs and other organizations to explore your talent: your aim should be manifest when you join clubs, set goals and not start gangs to shoot each other. The reintroduction of the school transport should give you opportunities to participate in extra curricula activities. If you have to stay after school to participate in games or practice your interest transport will be available to get you home.


This will cost money, but it is an investment the county must be prepared to make to permit its children to ‘rise to the global challenges’.

The young people must remember that there are some things which come not back – the sped arrow, the spoken word, so too is the lost opportunity and the misspent youth.


There will be many challenges which you will face in this globlized world, so too are the opportunities. Here I am reminded of the creed I leant from one well known teacher and Arch Bishop Finbar Ryan, who drilled this into us and I recount it to you as you face these challenges of life,


“I am only one, but I am one –

I cannot do everything but I can do something;

Whatever I can do I will do

and do it well with the help of God.”

Now go forth with these words in your heart and with the words of the Motto of one of your secondary schools, “Enter to Learn – Go forth to Serve”.


Now go forth to prepare to serve Saint Lucia and use whatever talents God has given you.


God bless you and bless our homeland forever.


horizontal rule

Home ] Up ] Office of the Prime Minister Site Map ] [Site Help]

© 2012 Government Information Service. All rights reserved.

Read our privacy guidelines.