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Celebrate achievements, but address shortcomings

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Fri, Oct 28. 2011

Independence Message 2011– The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council

We celebrate 32 years of independence. We, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council, believe this is a great occasion for all our citizens to reflect. There are many achievements of which we can be proud as a nation. Our leaders from the founding father of our nation, The Rt. Honourable Robert Milton Cato, to the Rt. Honourable Sir James Mitchell, the Honourable Arnhim Eustace to Dr. The Honourable Ralph Gonsalves have charted a course for us as a nation through difficult and testing Global economic and political challenges.{{more}} That we have national pride, can work together, have done well in the education of our young are all achievements of which we can be proud.

On the other hand, there are some social, political and economic issues which we need to face bravely if we are to grow and mature as a nation. It is important for us to celebrate our achievements but it is also incumbent upon us to acknowledge and address our shortcomings.

THE EXAMINED LIFE

It is important for us as a people that we cultivate the discipline and practice of self-examination. Socrates (d399 BC) said – the unexamined life is not worth living. We need to know our strengths and weaknesses; we need to know who we are, and how and why we respond to certain situations and life experiences. It is imperative that we strive for excellence at all times, and in pursuit of this that we are not afraid of failure, reconciliation or transformation. Self-examination helps to maintain a sense of consciousness of our humanness – it is human to make a mistake, it is human to fall short, it is human to disappoint. This is the only way we can guard against arrogance, aggression, self-righteousness, egotism and false pride. This is important for all of us as Citizens not just those in civil authority.

VIOLENCE

In recent times we have witnessed a spate of violence and murder in our state. A large percentage of these were domestic. This we believe is a symptom of a deeper aliment. If you listen carefully to the way we speak to each other, our divisions and mistrust because of politics, our open hostility to others who differ politically on the radio, we will see that violence or aggression is not far from us on a daily basis. People turn to violence when they can no longer effectively communicate their thoughts and emotions. This challenge to communicate effectively creates a victim’s mentality—we begin to believe that everything has turned against us. We use violence in words, gestures and actions as a means of self-defence.

Learning to have respect for people who have different opinions from our self is vital for us if we are to grow to the nation we can become. As a people we tend to have a negative interpretation of situations which cause us to experience pain, hurt or embarrassment. The practice of self-examination can help to correct this, for feelings of pain, hurt or embarrassment are the first signal that we differ in opinion with others. It is also a signal that we are not in the truth or have something to hide. This is a great opportunity to grow. If we can stop and reflect upon what is causing the pain or embarrassment, if we can laugh at ourselves and commit to the truth in our relationships with God, others and our self. Then we will be on the way to being mature citizens. Regular observance of the discipline of self-examination by the grace of God will enable us to be more mature in our response to such experiences.

As we begin our thirty third year of independence may we take it upon ourselves to practice and promote the discipline of self-examination. This to all intents and purposes we believe will contribute to the furtherance of good governance and influence the attitudes and behaviours of people in the public and private sectors and also those in domestic relationships.

NATIONHOOD

We celebrate our thirty second anniversary of independence in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis which is having its effects locally. Independence speaks of nationhood. Consequently, it is instructive that we give special regard to what we produce as a nation, particularly at this time, and seek to promote and use them. Let us adjust our menus and way of life and eat more of what we produce locally, and find ways of entertainment which are conducive to our cultural heritage. In the present circumstances, some families are experiencing difficulty in providing for themselves. For the wellbeing of our people and nation, let us create long-term structures and measures to assist each other, particularly those who are less fortunate. Let us work together to ensure that each citizen has what they need to flourish.

We take this opportunity to wish you all a happy Independence. May the blessing of God almighty, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit be with you all, now and always.

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