FROM now until Independence Day, February 22, Saint Lucia will be experiencing an almost dizzying amount of events as organizers of this year’s Independence day celebrations go all out to make the country’s 40th anniversary an unforgettable one.
Song, dance, cultural activities, plays, sporting events, prayers, you name it, all will be making an effort to depict the Independence theme: All In, Our Journey, Our Future.
This 40th year of Independence may even have something for the distressed and the doubtful, a point noted by Culture Minister Senator Fortuna Belrose who Thursday likened her government to the biblical leader known as Joshua who led the children of Israel into the land promised to them by God.
Belrose strongly hinted that just as Joshua delivered the children of Israel into land promised to them by God then the government will deliver to Saint Lucians this year.
The Minister then played around with the number 40 in light of Saint Lucia turning 40 years since its independence from Great Britain on 22nd February, 1979.
She asserted that biblically, 40 years is usually the year of deliverance and underscored this by telling the story of the children of Israel wondering in the wilderness for 40 years before being delivered into the promise land.
“We know there are many who have been caught in the wilderness, the wilderness of doubt, the wilderness of disbelief. They do not have the confidence to move as they are trapped and confused. But I want to assure them that liberation day is near,” Belrose said.
She added, “This year of deliverance, we ask our citizens to continue to improve on themselves and set their goals to take advantage of the many opportunities that may become available. It’s our country and we all belong and we must be ready to partake and contribute” Belrose said.
The Minister, however, fell short of explaining in greater detail what exactly she meant by this year being the year of deliverance, leaving to speculation that maybe she was referring to her government significantly reducing youth unemployment which today stands at 38 percent.
She may even have led many Saint Lucians to speculate that a reduction in the national unemployment rate that now stands at 21 percent or there about, according to the latest figures released by the government statistical office drawn from a labour survey for the third quarter of last year, may occur this year.
Her failure to say exactly what her government will liberate Saint Lucians from this year was felt among some in the small gathering she addressed Thursday at the Independence 40 press launch. Belrose however also used the time allotted her at the launch to report that the majority of Saint Lucians are proud and want to succeed that they relish a better society and value the encouragement of leadership in their life’s journey.
She noted that her government is one which listens to the pulse of the people and is mindful of the realities and is responding to those realities.
“Our country is moving into deliverance mode and we all must be in as the theme of this independence celebration says. But we must be in with the right attitude, we must be in with the right mindset, we must understand the value of respect of our fellowmen. We must believe in love and the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. We must believe in give and take. We must understand that we do not bite the hand that feeds us and expect everything to be alright,” Belrose said.
She added that at 40 years, Saint Lucia is very clear about where it is headed and what it is about after all at 40 one is expected to be very mature.
“We must watch what we do. We as a nation must understand that we must be prepared to work and must acknowledge there is no free ticket to lunch anymore. We must work at achieving success and we must be committed and disciplined to reap the rewards that we aspire for. So the good book has said that by the sweat of thy brow thou shall eat bread, not reserving your sweat and sitting and waiting. If you want to eat you must work and in the year of deliverance, this year of deliverance, we ask our citizens to continue to improve on themselves and set their goals to take advantage of the many opportunities that may become available. It’s our country and we all belong and we must be ready to partake and contribute,” Belrose said.