Prime Minister's Address at Launching of Independence 2000 - January 16 2000
and daughters of St. Lucia, ti mamay Sent Lisi, the 21st
Anniversary of our achievement of Independence will soon be here. Tonight in
Soufriere, we begin a year of activities to mark the occasion. From beautiful
Soufriere, we are calling to St. Lucians at home and abroad, to begin the
Févwiyé, I kay fè 21 lané dépi nou andépandan. Oswè-a, nou ka koumansé
aktivité pou sélébwé anivèsè sa la. Nou ka koumansé an bel Soufwyè,
èk nou ka mandé tout Sent Lisien pou sipòté aktivité an komunité-yo.
passing of one millenium and the arrival of another, has usually been a
turbulent period throughout the ages of mankind. Deep in the psyche of
humanity, this turning over of centuries seems associated with the survival of
our world and its societies. Millennial movements appear, proclaiming either
doom or utopia. The effect of these is to create both anxiety and unrealistic
hopes. The experience, being both real and symbolic, causes us to contemplate
the vulnerability and fragility of our lives.
the doorstep of the year 2000, our world was thrown into a frenzy concerning
Y2K. Despite assurances from reputable organisations, many groups
preferred to encourage panic. On the other hand, there are many who are
looking forward to the long anticipated millennial kingdom of peace and
prosperity. Most of us would place ourselves somewhere along the continuum
between these two extremes.
us in St. Lucia, the year 2000 bears added significance as we celebrate 21
years of Independence. At this time, both hopes for an ordered and prosperous
nation, and apprehension about social decline fill our thoughts. After 21
years of managing our own affairs, we all want Independence to be practically
meaningful. All St. Lucians want social and economic improvement. We want our
education system to provide relevant training for our citizens. We want
effective health care for our families. We want prosperity across all social
also want, as an independent nation, to see a maturing of the national
character and personality. Where we have unfortunately replaced respect for
others with selfcentredness and discourtesy, we need to come again to a fresh
understanding of the great value of common courtesies. Where we have been
tempted by the old colonial denials of our own self worth, and turned from the
strength of our cultural traditions, we need a fresh rediscovery of the best
21 years of national Independence, years of trial and error, years of failures
and triumphs, years of seeking the right way for ourselves, it is more than
time to set our course with decisiveness and purpose.
and I thank and praise those who have gone before us for their lifelong
commitment to our country and their hard work. These include
political leaders like Sir George Charles and Sir John Compton who
stand head and shoulders above everyone else. Yet, let us not forget that 21
years of Independence followed years of struggle by trade union leaders and
fledgling political parties against colonialism and imperialism. Let us not
forget those school teachers throughout St. Lucia, in towns and villages, who
ensured diligently that we, including
our famous Nobel Laureates,
received a good education. We cannot forget our farmers and agricultural
labourers. Let us not forget our nurses and doctors. Let us not forget our
policemen. And let us not forget those who made the public service a lifelong
career. Let us remember our business people who gave life and growth to our
economy. Let us give thanks and praises to priests and spiritual leaders who
gave us a religious and moral sense. Remember also our newspaper journalists,
and later on, our radio and television professionals, among all those others,
who also helped to found a modern and Independent St. Lucia. And we give
thanks and praises to all those involved for all these years in the arts,
culture and entertainment industry of St. Lucia.
we dare not forget our parents and foreparents, many of them poor grandmothers
who raised families of many children. Those strong women taught us manners,
ensured we went to school with clean clothes every day, took us to church.
Among these simple God-fearing St. Lucians, you and I will find many "Men
and women of St. Lucia's twentieth century."
pa sa oublié tout sé moun sa a ki pòté Sent Lisi koté I yé jòdi-a. Nou
ka wemesyé Misyé George Charles ek Misyé John Compton ek tou lézòt chèf
politik. Nou ka osi wemèsyé tout moun Sent Lisi ki twavay pou Sent Lisi.
theme chosen for this year's special anniversary is "Approaching
the future with vision." A vision of a better St. Lucia, with
equal opportunities for all, with mutual respect guaranteed for nationals and
visitors, with a real sense of identity and purpose - has shaped this year's
programme of Independence activities. We celebrate this year both the highest
achievements of our people, as demonstrated in our Nobel Laureates, as well as
the neighborhood and community festivals of our towns and villages.
the nationwide events will encapsulate the best of our past history and
culture, they also speak with optimism to the future. They will reflect our
millennial aspirations even as they secure further our past resilience.
Cabinet of Ministers is pleased to give their assent to the Programme prepared
by the National Independence Anniversary Committee. On behalf of the
Government of St. Lucia, I extend early Anniversary greetings to all St.
Lucians, at home and abroad. A special St. Lucian welcome also goes out to our
us not be afraid of the new millennium. Let us together, in the finest spirit
of national unity, approach our future with vision.
tout moun, fwè èk sè.
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