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Thousands pay tribute to the nation

Thousands pay tribute to the nation


Vincentians turned out in their numbers in a show of patriotism last Thursday, October 27, to witness the highlight of this country’s 32nd anniversary celebrations – the Independence Day Parade.{{more}}

Described as one with the best attendance in recent times, thousands thronged the Victoria Park, most in national colours, where they witnessed guards from the various divisions of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cadet Corps, as well as a number of other uniformed organizations march past with close to precision uniformity.

A unit from the Royal Navy, visiting for the celebrations, was also on show.

The crowd in attendance, which included Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, members of Cabinet and Parliament, as well as diplomatic representatives, were once again in keen anticipation of the salute to the nation to be presented by members of the police force band.

The Band did not disappoint in their delivery.

With their steel pan ensemble increasing from the two players featured last year to six this year, the band belted out a number of local patriotic songs, along with popular soca, to the delight of the audience.

Some fancy footwork and dance moves and were also a part of the routine, which was applauded by the appreciative audience.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who gave his annual address to the nation, applauded the turnout of Vincentians to the parade, as well as the parading troops.

He acknowledged and commended the increase in female troops in attendance, especially those in the ranks of the police force.

In his address, which was described by one listener as a very honest one, the Prime Minister spoke on, among other things, the naming of at least one additional National Hero in 2012, as well as recognition for ‘exemplars of production’, which will take place every two years, starting in 2012.

He also indicated that there would be further initiatives for the elderly, especially teachers who taught in private schools, in the near future.

A well received announcement was the period when barrels will receive duty free concessions – November 21 to December 31.

Gonsalves called on the nation to stand fast in the face of national and global economic turmoil and predicted economic growth of 0.8 per cent this year, and 3 per cent next year.

He lamented the rise of criminality in the country, which he identified as a limitation to national development, and praised the Education revolution, which he said was growing in leaps and bounds.

According to the prime minister, the nation is much better off than it was at the time of statehood in 1979, but still has a long way to go.(JJ)