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Independence 2015 has special significance

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We are into the month of October, Independence month in St Vincent and the Grenadines. It is definitely our last Independence celebrations before the holding of general elections, a factor which from the beginning has coloured our reaction to this significant anniversary. Perhaps it is time for us to look at the bigger picture and not let our approach and attitude towards Independence be coloured by partisan political considerations.{{more}}

For the generations old enough to have experienced the advent of national Independence in 1979, those partisan considerations are very prominent. We marched into Independence on a path tinged with electoral biases, the general elections of that year being a mere six weeks after that historic occasion. For years afterwards, our attitudes towards Independence celebrations were partly shaped by partisan political preferences. Is it not time, after 36 years, more than a generation after, to reshape our thinking? Or at a least let those not mired in the past help to lead us out of a potential dead-end?

It is heartening to note the role that NBC radio in particular, plays in the promotion of local music during the month of October. How much more effective it would be if other sections of the media would take on a similar challenge in the promotion of other aspects of our cultural experience! Being ‘Vincy’ is far more than a slogan.

The spirit of patriotism ought to be felt most during this month when we mark our birth as a modern nation. It must be real, manifested especially in our youth. Admittedly, given our history, our weaknesses in crafting a relevant constitution and in such symbolic matters as anthem, flag, national dress and even having a clearly identified national dish, all this is not easy, nor will it come overnight. But we must have the will to embark on this course. We owe it to our youth.

National Independence Day 2015 will not only be the last such anniversary before the upcoming general elections. It also has special significance in that in all probability, it will be the last one before one of our country’s biggest dreams becomes a reality. In spite of the enormous challenges, the Argyle International Airport should be operational by October 2016, irrespective of the composition of the government soon to be elected.

Whatever one’s views on the airport’s construction, there is no denying the fact that our country’s development has been hampered by the lack of such an international gateway. Dominica has suffered similarly. Citizens of our country, resident here or abroad, have had to put up with countless inconveniences, indignities as well, because of our reliance on other countries for international air links. Any Vincentian who has travelled can testify to this.

Thus, Argyle represents a national response to a burning economic and social need. We may argue over funding, implementation and such issues, but there is no gainsaying its crucial importance to our nation. So, if patriotism is the watchword for October, why not let us put our differences aside and give pride of place in October 2015 to the single largest project we have ever undertaken as a people, our Argyle International Airport, born out of a real need and built under the most unfavourable circumstances globally.

Take a bow, SVG! We are capable of scaling heights as long as we have the will and committedness.

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