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Committed to preserve our nation’s heritage

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By Ms. Gail A. Scotland – President SVG/BVI Association

It is with esteemed privilege that I congratulate our nation St. Vincent and the Grenadines as it embraces its 30th Anniversary of Independence with a difference on 27th October, 2009. It is also very pleasing to know that Vincentians worldwide are enthusiastically gravitating to the “Vincy homecoming” celebrations, under the theme: “As one people in many lands we shape our nation with many hands”. I am absolutely certain that the persons involved will feel a sense of national pride, and patriotism will infiltrate their minds.{{more}}

In the British Virgin Islands, the Vincentian Association celebrates under the theme: “Committed to preserve our nation’s heritage”. As we celebrate, the opportunity arises to appreciate the Government and the people of the BVI. Therefore, the members of the Association will honour the Premier of this territory Hon. Ralph. T. O’Neal on Sunday, 25th October, 2009, at the NTCOG International Worship Center commencing at 9am. This comes in grateful recognition for allowing Vincentians in this Diaspora the opportunity to reside and work in the BVI, and by extension become citizens of the BVI.

Vincentians are, therefore, summoned to protect our marvelous heritage. A legacy of note in the national identity of Vincentians is that we are characterized as friendly and hospitable to all who visit our islands. Venerated and resilient are undoubtedly elements easily felt and experienced by whom we encounter in our daily rituals.

In my capacity as president of the Association, I admonish our people to live our theme, committed, loyal and pledge our dedication to protect our image as ambassadors for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In preservation of our unique, rich diverse history, I am confident that we care deeply and appreciate our nativity.

It is very important to preserve our heritage, since it is our roots and inevitably part of who we are. We cannot deny our heritage nor believe it has no impact on our lives. In fact it is the very fabric which shapes and defines us personally. It reminds us of our past, such as our family history, our origin, and our community, and helps us feel proud of our origin and augment the identity we have in relation to the outside world.

The heritage that survives from the past is often unique and irreplaceable, which places the responsibility of preservation on the current generation. The preservation of this irreplaceable heritage is in the public’s interest, so that its vital legacy and benefits will be maintained and enriched for future generations of people, because it serves as a capacity building tool for our future generations.

It is arduous to know that people’s views of heritage are changing. In today’s society many are questioning the value of our voices and the respect our rights are given. Let us try to envision what kind of society we will have if we try to change or discard our heritage. This is the combination of all those things that make us an individual, the people we are and on a larger scale the nation we are, when in fact our heritage is all that we have left that is our own. If we do not preserve it, certainly it will not be what our forefathers intended it to be a safe haven for those who valued their own ideas and differences and those of others.

Vincentians, I beckon us to embrace the truth, desist from following the crowd. We must question the acceptance of popular thinking; it is such questioning which saved the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace. Let’s not fraternize with the people who do not tolerate truth, or with those who seek truth that is no more than mere sensationalism. These people have neither interest nor respect for absolute truth nor any standard for judgment, but we must be willing to listen to the truth so we can more fully obey God. Let us not turn away from sound doctrines, principles and standards that are important to our heritage and turn unto fables. I must, however, admit that only few people take time and effort to think deeply about life, work, and faith.

Let us be vigilant and assess the stimuli that effect change; sometimes they force us to adopt new culture and way of life, sometimes we need to negotiate the change in life and maintain our principles, at times such effort can make you the most influential person in the nation. Such persons hold steadfast to the qualities and attributes they possessed from social values that are right and just, in honour of the past, in service of the present and for guidance of the future generations, thus elevating themselves to leaders who touch a heart before they ask for a hand.

As Vincentians in this Diaspora, let us continue to be good citizens for our nation, better ambassadors and advocates to positive changes in our commitment to preserve our heritage. Let us use our best assets to the honour of the Almighty God, because this aspect of our heritage holds outstanding universal values. Holding to such spiritually and ethically guides our life on sound unchangeable principles, which protects us from societal ills as we continue to strive for excellence in this Diaspora.

Happy Independence.

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