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Message by The Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony to Mark the Silver Jubilee of St. Lucia’s Independence

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The Silver Jubilee Year of Independence is a significant milestone in the history of our young nation. It signifies a nation coming of age and a readiness to accept responsibility for its own development and the collective destiny of its people.

During the course of the past 25 years of independence we have achieved much and we therefore, have much to be proud of as a people and as a nation.

Despite the many trials we have encountered on the journey to nationhood, we have had many triumphs. Today, we celebrate those triumphs, but in the midst of this celebration we must pause to contemplate and appreciate the historical process to which we owe this social, political and economic evolution.

History is the collective consciousness of a nation and it is only by recalling our history that we can understand the genesis of our being and gain a fuller comprehension of ourselves.

As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the birth of our nation, we must never forget the struggles of the past, for it is out of those struggles that our nation was born. It is therefore, imperative that we all remember, recognize and preserve the contributions of those who dedicated their lives and gave of their service in order to ensure that Saint Lucians have a dominant voice in shaping their socio-economic and political destinies.

The struggles of those before us have helped us assert our right as a people to decide our own destiny and to take our place in the world as free men and women. Rights, however, are always accompanied by responsibilities and freedom is never a gift bestowed without a cost.

Our rights and freedoms came with a price tag – one that mandates that we demonstrate a willingness and readiness to govern ourselves. If out of almost nothing our ancestors created a society where we now enjoy a decent standard of living, democratic governance, relative peace and tranquility, then we should have confidence that we too, can create a more glorious future than the present and the past.

As we celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Independence we must continue to wage war again poverty, injustice, intolerance and bigotry. The battle for social progress and the material advancement of our people must be waged with a new fervour.
On the occasion of our 25th anniversary, I salute those who have gone before, those whose efforts have brought us this far. Although we have come thus far, we still have a long way to travel and we cannot be like weary travellers who seek rest long before the journey is done.

The task of nation building is not the exclusive preserve of the government, but it is a responsibility that we must all shoulder as citizens. It is a task that we cannot and must not shed. It is in this spirit that the Private Sector, the Public Sector, Civil Society and other civic-minded institutions must join hands in fostering the further advancement and progress of our nation.

Our legacy to future generations must be that of a strong nation-state that is responsive to their social, political and economic needs. We must instill a deep sense of national pride in our people and the young must be taught to respect, protect and revere our national symbols and institutions.

Without a sense of nationalism and patriotism, the foundation upon which we hope to create a strong basis for national development will inevitable crumble. Hence, it is necessary that we articulate and embrace a shared vision for our common destiny - one capable of withstanding international challenges and internal pressures and schisms. The challenges are great, but so too is our resolve. Our resources may be limited, but our will is infinite.

Since independence in 1979, many have toiled long and hard to secure gains in health care, education, infrastructural developments and to introduced into our societies the trappings of a modern nation state. Indeed we have incrementally improved the standard of living of the large majority of Saint Lucians. On the remnants of the colonial state we have been able to erect a modern bureaucracy capable of giving service and meeting the needs of the Saint Lucian populace.

Our diplomatic service, although small, has been very effective in promoting, defending and articulating the national interest abroad. Through its efforts we have been able to forge relations with friendly governments and countries that share our ideals and find our principles noble. That shared vision of today and tomorrow has resulted in their confidence in our country, as manifested in their support for our candidacy for the Presidency of the UN General Assembly – a seat we hold on behalf of Caricom and share with the rest of the developing world.

The gains we have made must be jealously guarded. But more importantly, we must keep on pushing the frontier of possibilities. Therefore, we must embrace advances made in science and technology and be creative and innovative in our thinking if we are to go boldly into the future.

During the twenty-five years since independence, through the hard work and commitment, we have been able to lay the basis to become a nation of producers. Our National Independence Exhibition and Showcase 25 have both afforded us opportunities to show what we can do and to retrace our steps as a developing nation since 1979. They also provide us with opportunities to understand our society and nation through the knowledge of the various social, economic and political processes that have contributed to incremental change and the transformation of our nation through the passage of time. And they allow us a better understanding of our individual and collective roles in the process of nation building.

Our exhibitions also allow us to recognize and to pay tribute to those who have worked tirelessly in ensuring that each succeeding generation of Saint Lucians enjoy a better standard of living than the one before.

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary of our birth as a nation, we welcome all those who have come to visit and share in our celebrations. We also welcome our Royal Visitor and all the diplomatic and consular representatives here for the occasion.
We salute you as we pledge to continue to strive to take our nation to higher heights with each passing year and with each anniversary of our independence.

Here’s to a brighter future for us all as we pledge to continue the task of nation building.



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