|The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, addressing the Joint Sitting of Parliament. Looking on is the Countess of Wessex. (A. Miller/BGIS)|
Addressing the Barbados Legislature yesterday, during the historic Joint Sitting of Parliament to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, said it was the hard work of generations of Barbadians, complemented by visionary leadership that had created a parliamentary democracy which was stable, an educational system that was well-ordered, and a population dedicated to building strong family structures and communities.
He noted that this country was highly regarded within the Commonwealth and the United Nations for its respect for law, human rights and the adherence to the principles of good governance.
“You have earned the distinction as a champion of the cause of small states, and as a passionate advocate for the creation of an effective global response to their peculiar economic and ecological vulnerabilities. And, within CARICOM, your commitment to regional integration and your leadership role in the building of the Caribbean Community and its Single Market and Economy have been acknowledged as exemplary,” Prince Edward added.
He also praised the island’s recent listing of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, describing it as “a significant achievement for which you are to be congratulated”.
“Preserving your architectural heritage and historic buildings, even those which document the more traumatic experiences of your history, demonstrates a mature and self-confident nation; one which seeks to actively learn from the past. It also teaches us how far we have come to serve as a constant reminder of the mistakes that we must never repeat and to give us confidence for the future,” he told the Parliamentarians.
Cognisant of the ongoing economic recession, Prince Edward suggested that the island’s future development would hinge on its citizens being creative and employing “common sense traits which have long characterised the Barbadian spirit”.
The Earl of Wessex added: “With trust in the resilience of your people, confidence in the future and faith in the Almighty, Barbados’ continued development will be assured."