I am particularly peeved when someone says
There is nothing for Barbados to celebrate
And all that person can see is the last few years
And the challenges confronting us here of late.
It really appears that our memory is short
And that past successes have been cancelled out
And given the struggles that we currently engage
We say there is nothing really to shout about.
While I truly appreciate that these times are rough
And the ship of state is tossed high and low
Yet I am reminded of the good times we have had
And the mercies of God that so unceasingly flow.
To sum up fifty years in the last five years or so
Shows far more than a smattering of ingratitude
And when present challenges obliterate all the past
I must ask from whence came this ungrateful mood.
A sincere reflection over the last fifty years
Speaks to tremendous growth and development
Of a nation though small and lacking in resources
Yet striving and holding its own with Godly intent.
For we boast of God being the people’s guide
And boldly confessed His presence by our side
Yet in a moment of challenge and failing policies
That same God we are willing to openly deny.
For to say there is really nothing to celebrate
Is to say that God has done nothing for us
That there is nothing for which to be thankful
And therefore what is the need for all of the fuss.
Fifty years and still being able to recollect
Is a profound and God given opportunity
And a people granted such a welcome privilege
Should raise hearts and hands to God in unity.
Through much we have come ‘tis true, ‘tis true
These first fifty years post independence
There were times we plateaued and times we grew
But we put our hands to the plow without reticence.
Today there are challenges as there were in the past
That with trust in Almighty God we overcame
This is the opportune time that we look to Him again
Rather than spend our time in apportioning blame.
There’s much to celebrate just look around and you’ll see
Our colleges, our schools and our university
Churches of differing faiths flung far and near
And freedom of religious beliefs is still regarded here.
Having had ten elections since nineteen sixty-six
None of them were rigged and none of them were fixed
And on four occasions when the government was changed
It was done peaceably as though Divinely arranged.
Our dollar has remained steadfast its value unchanged
Unlike several of our Caribbean counterparts
Though threatened and battered time and again
This little nation has never lost heart.
Like most countries all around the globe
Crime has shaken us at our very foundation
But not all of our youth are going this way
For many have been taking a different direction.
And relative to many countries around the world
Barbadians still enjoy certain basic human rights,
Let us celebrate those rights that still remain
And persevere to preserve them with all our might.
Yes we have lost some gains and that hurts to the core
Like free university education and the like
But let’s celebrate Community College and the Polytechnic
And praise God for such morning, noon and night.
And in our celebrating let us spare a thought
For those Barbadians who are severely disadvantaged
No water at their taps and no reliable bus service
Who can blame them for feeling sabotaged?
And after a prolonged period of unprecedented drought
The long sought for rains have finally come
Let us celebrate the freshness of all nature
And the faithfulness of each and every morning’s sun
For nothing to celebrate is to dishonor the Creator
And at Him an accusatory finger direct
It’s an indication that He has done nothing for us
And therefore not worthy of our respect.
It is so easy given our differing political ideologies
To completely castigate an opposing view
But let us celebrate the contributions of all and sundry
The DLP, BLP, NDP, the ancient and old and even the new.
And the political balance they bring to our nation
And let’s celebrate too the several pressure movements
Which over the years have made an invaluable contribution.
Nothing to celebrate is a misguided and untruthful publication
Designed to bury us in the graveyard of pessimistic advocacy
But counting our blessings spread over the past fifty years
Is worthy of celebration and praise to God for His undying love and mercy.
HAPPY FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY BARBADOS
Stewart Russell © 2016