“Why should only one man have a mirror image of you that you do not want to have of yourself?…. There is no point in striving for Utopia, but you do not recognize your potential.”- Rt. Hon. Errol Walton Barrow.
Today, my country, Barbados, celebrated its 52nd year of independence. As I reflected on this day and the future of our country, I came across a famous speech orated by the father of our independence, the Right Honourable Sir Errol Walton Barrow.
To dream and build for a bright future, it is essential to review and evaluate the past. In this speech, delivered in 1986, Barrow emphatically pointed out to the Barbadian populace that in order to move forward successfully as a nation, each of us has a responsibility to make the most of what we are given and find creative solutions for the problems we face, not only as individuals but as groups. Most importantly, Prime Minister Barrow emphasised the importance of belief in ourselves and our nation.
“What is the mirror image you have of yourself?” he asked. In a time where Barbados is faced with economic hardship and the country is battling necessary change, I believe this is a question each of us should be asking ourselves. Within our country, I see a plethora of young persons who are talented, passionate and driven. Most importantly, these persons are dedicated to the pursuit of personal and professional development which will, in turn, benefit the development of not only our nation but the world.
However, there are many who do not have an answer to this question. There are many who remain disillusioned by the idea that their problems are the responsibility of others to mend, who remain silent in the face of wrongdoing and corruption, who fundamentally lack the vision to find purpose and meaning in this life and use their talents and skills for the better of not only themselves and their loved ones but their nation.
Whoever you are. Wherever you may be. Whatever you may have. No one can want more for you than you want for yourself. We have been blessed beyond measure to be able to receive a relatively free education, and with the advent of social media and technology, avenues for growth and development are more readily available. While this does not erase the present hardships face by many, it does provide us with the opportunity to forge a new path as this country undergoes major changes.
Now is not the time for dependence, selfishness or fearfulness. It is the time to reevaluate our personal views of ourselves and our nation and more importantly, our role in the developmental process. It is no longer the time for complaining and playing the blame game. Now, as we enter our 53rd year of independence, we must each take responsibility for our own lives, our mistakes, and our shortcomings. The role that these play in the big picture is undeniable. Every action undoubtedly has a ripple effect. What is your role in your current state, our current state? What is your mirror image of yourself? How must you change and adapt moving forward?
With the overwhelming influence of social media and the large number of difficulties this country has faced and is facing in recent times, I urge all of us as Barbadians to reflect on the way we think about ourselves, the way we treat ourselves and the way we treat others. I encourage each and every one of us to take pride in ourselves and our nationhood and embrace the roles we must play in the path to progress. The path is much easier when not walked alone.