Address by P.M. Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony on the 33rd Independence Flag Raising Ceremony
INDEPENDENCE is priceless
HON. DR. KENNY D. ANTHONY,
PRIME MINISTER OF SAINT LUCIA
On the occasion of
33RD INDEPENDENCE FLAG RAISING CEREMONY
POINT SERAPHINE, FEBRUARY 21, 2012.
We gather tonight, on the eve of our 33rd Anniversary of Independence, in honour of our country, our people and our accomplishments..
I salute all my fellow country-men and women.
THANKS AND PRAISE
Some who began this journey are no longer with us but we must never forget them.
I therefore give thanks and praise to all of those who have made and shaped this island of ours. In particular, I give thanks and praise to Sir George Charles, our first Chief Minister; Sir John Compton, the father of independence; Sir Allan Louisy, the first elected Prime Minister after independence on February 22, 1979; and also, George Odlum who sharpened our intellect and consciousness. I give thanks as well to all our former parliamentarians, whether deceased or alive, for nursing, protecting and enhancing our democracy.
We have been blessed with a pantheon of outstanding leaders all of whom, in their own way, have helped to strengthen us as a nation and as a people.
INDEPENDENCE IS PRICELESS
Some among us argue that we are not truly independent because, as a people, we have not yet matured to the point where we can stand on our own and truly chart our own destiny. We have not yet liberated and expanded our minds to think independently. Perhaps not surprisingly, that same discussion obtains in our larger Caribbean neighbors such as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, as they celebrate fifty years of independence.
Having fears about being able to withstand the uncertain future is not unique to us but we must not allow our fears to define us. Globalization and high debt has led the citizens of the great United States of America to question their self-sufficiency and the ability to survive independently of the world. Suddenly, the United States has had to come face to face with the reality that, in the next few years, it will no longer be the dominant economic power in the world. Yet, many Americans believe that they have the inner resources to ‘make it’. There is a kind of inner confidence which countries like ours need to emulate to get rid of the self-doubt that still so often afflict and plague us.
Our young nation can learn from the examples around us that Independence goes beyond the measure of economic circumstance. It may be impossible to survive on our own, yet it is necessary to stand out as our own, and above all, to believe in ourselves.
To those who have doubts, I say that freedom is priceless; it cannot be bought or sold. Talent and skill are immeasurable treasures which we have to nurture.
A YOUNG NATION
Despite our innumerable challenges, we have done remarkably well. Sometimes, I believe that we are too hard on ourselves. We forget that we are a young nation, just thirty three years old. Look around us and reflect for a moment on some of our accomplishments. We are a land of two Nobel Prize winners. We can now provide every child with a place in a secondary school. Our sportsmen and women continue to make us proud. Our students continue to demonstrate that they are as good as any, in any part of the world. They continue to excel, despite financial and social challenges. Many of our citizens have committed to the arts and culture and continue to showcase the talents that exist in our land. We have successfully managed every crisis that has befallen us.
Inevitably, occasions like this also calls for reflection and introspection. Each of us needs to reflect and assess our personal contributions to the development of our great land. Let us give thanks for our successes, collectively or otherwise; reflect on the sacrifices that have yielded fruit while resolving to work harder in areas we have in the neglected in the past.
The Saint Lucian spirit has been tried and tested over the past decade, whether it is in the face of natural disasters, social misfortunes or economic depression. Through it all, we have remained steadfast in our conviction and strong in our resolve. Our ability to reconcile the irreconcilable, our patience and tolerance and our skill to adapt are qualities which we must not be afraid to share with succeeding generations.
WE ARE NOT PERFECT
We are not a perfect nation. Imperfections are everywhere, in the things we do, or fail to do. Tonight, however, I ask you to hold on to one thing that inspires you to believe in your country. Treasure one moment, be it the historic night of February 22, 1979, the pride when Sir Arthur Lewis and Derek Walcott won Nobel prizes, or the peace that comes when you look at the majestic Pitons. We are endowed, not only with the physical blessings of our Heavenly Father, but with wonderful, great men and women.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR CITIZENS IN THE DIASPORA
On this occasion I remember, specially, our citizens who reside abroad, in the diaspora.
Tonight, in some distant land, perhaps in some cold city, they celebrate with us and they too sing the words of our national anthem with pride. They too have demonstrated their passion and commitment to our country. In the days and weeks immediately after the passage of Hurricane Tomas, the bus tragedy at Morne Sion in Choiseul, they showed us what it is to be compassionate, resilient and caring. They have reminded us what it truly means to be your brother’s keeper. And while the memories of the ravaged communities still linger, it is quickly overshadowed with the love and support expressed by all in those difficult times.
As we raise our flag tonight, let it be a symbol of hope. Let us be overcome with pride and joy as a people to celebrate not only who we are, but also, the opportunities that await us. Each and every one of us can, if we want, unlock the potential waiting to be explored within us, as we work towards a better people and a better nation.
Happy 33rd Birthday to Saint Lucia! Happy 33rd Birthday to the sons and daughters of Saint Lucia!
Let us move forward as one people, one nation, as limitless possibilities await us!
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