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No challenge is insurmountable

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Fri, Oct 22, 2010

Celebrations to mark our 31st anniversary of independence seem a bit muted this year. The usual activities are obviously overshadowed by the impending general elections; and those activities which are taking place, have been scaled back as we grapple with the realities of the global financial downturn.{{more}}

The global recession is but the most recent challenge we have had to face as a sovereign nation, since attaining independence on October 27 1979.

Within a few days of the independence, there was the Union Island uprising and the resulting state of emergency; the very next year, there was Hurricane Allen; Hurricane Emily was to follow in 1987, both hurricanes having devastating effects on our then thriving banana industry.

There was the social unrest brought on by the imposition of the “dread bills” in 1981. Following the 1989 general elections, there was a constitutional crisis following the 15-0 result.

The loss of preferential treatment for our bananas entering the European market has dealt a serious blow to our economy over the last two decades and has resulted in tremendous social dislocation, especially in the rural areas.

The list goes on: the social unrest during the period 1998 to 2000 leading to the Grand Beach Accord; the effects on our economy of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks and the SARS epidemic; being placed on the FATF and OECD black lists as a non-cooperative tax haven; and now, the financial crash of 2008, whose effects are definitely being felt here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

When we consider the social, natural and political challenges that our tiny nation has faced over the last 31 years, it is a testimony to our resilience and resourcefulness as a people, that we have not only survived, but have made commendable strides, if the data gathered by international agencies who assess human welfare are anything to go by.

Our special independence issue features four Vincentian women, each of whom has faced tremendous personal challenges, but has refused to give up. In many ways, the struggles they have faced, parallel the very challenges we as a young nation have had to weather in our 31 years.

In fact, two of the women featured are the same age as our nation. One was born a few years after independence, while the fourth was a child when our independence flag was raised. They are now all grown up, in the prime of life, at the peak of their productivity and contributing to nation building.

We publish their very different stories in the hope that they serve as inspiration in our individual lives and as reminders that no challenge is insurmountable if we work hard and place our trust in God. We also hope the stories motivate us to unite and work together as a nation.

Happy 31st anniversary of independence St. Vincent and the Grenadines. May God continue to bless us all.

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