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Celebrating our Vincentian identity: The challenge of our pledge



As we celebrate the 27th anniversary of our nation’s independence, we take time to reflect on the pledge inscribed in the National Anthem:

St Vincent land so beautiful;

With joyful hearts we pledge to thee,

Our loyalty and love and vow;

To keep you ever free.

A pledge is a solemn promise. Each Independence provides us with an opportunity to renew our responsibility to be loyal and faithful citizens. As faithful and loyal citizens we are also called to love our country and to have the best interest of our country at heart always. This requires hard work, dedication, sacrifice, patriotism and respect for self, others and God. {{more}}

While our pledge calls us to high ideals, we realize that we often settle for less in the way in which we damage and destroy our environment, disrespect law and order, disregard our traditional values, and absorb new cultural influences that impact negatively on us as a people. Faithfulness to our pledge challenges us to be a people of integrity, to promote justice, to build peace and concord, to ensure that God is at the heart and centre of our civilization and as a Christian people to promote Christian values in our society.

Our pledge challenges us to rise above petty differences and tribalism at all levels in society. At the heart of our pledge is the building of a nation that is free where people can live together as brothers and sisters in unity. How can we celebrate our Vincentian identity if we are not united? Faith in God, integrity, honesty, hard work, discipline and respect for self and others must be at the core of our Vincentian identity. Integrity enriches our identity. The image of lawlessness and violence must give way to an image of Vincentians as a people of peace, love, respect and non-violence.

If we take our pledge seriously there will be no place for lies, corruption, violence, or dishonesty in our land. Our Vincentian culture is a God centered culture; a Christian culture. We therefore need to discern what God’s plan is for us as a people. We can begin this process by being faithful to His word, His promises and by living the Beatitudes. The prophets also outline for us the way of integrity, which is at the core of freedom and identity. “This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)

When we are faithful to our pledge then we are faithful to our nation’s ideals, which embody faithfulness to God. When we are faithful to God and to our nation’s ideals then we can truly celebrate our Vincentian identity.

In celebrating our nation’s 27th anniversary of independence, we ask pardon of each other as brothers and sisters of this beautiful nation for the ways in which we may have offended each other, hurt each other, cheated each other, slandered, embarrassed and belittled each other by our actions, words and behaviour. This is a time to forgive.

Independence is a time of gratitude. We, therefore, thank God for his care and protection. This is also a time for expressing our gratitude to all those who contribute to nation building through their hard work and good example. We pray for parents who take the responsibility of parenting seriously. We pray for our teachers, who have dedicated their lives to the education and formation of our nation’s children. We pray for civil and religious leaders who are committed to serve and inspire others by their selflessness and generosity. We pray for all the little people of our nation who, silently, make their contribution by simply being who they are. Indeed, we pray for all those, in any walk of life, who on a daily basis pray and work for a better St Vincent and the Grenadines.

As we seek to respond to the challenges of our pledge, in celebrating our Vincentian identity for Independence 2006, we thank God for making us a free people in his own image and likeness. Freedom involves responsibility. Responsibility to God, to nation and to each other. Responsibility is built on maturity and respect.

We cannot work together in harmony for the development and enhancement of our nation without a deep respect for each other. We must continue to be creative in seeking and finding ways to be united with a shared vision, which will benefit the development and enhancement of our nation.

As we work to keep our nation free from ill and evil influences and to celebrate our identity as a people we must be ever conscious of the importance of spiritual realities, the needs of the weaker members of our society and the call of greater regional integration. By our loyalty and our efforts we pledge to keep St Vincent and the Grenadines ‘ever free’.

May God’s blessing be upon our land and upon His people on this 27th anniversary of Independence.