Barbados Friday celebrated its 52nd anniversary of political independence from Britain, with Prime Minister Mia Mottley saying the island has regained its ability to 'punch above our weight again'.
Mottley, the island's first woman prime minister, told citizens that 'Barbados shall forever be friends of all and satellites of none,' an apparent reference to the present economic situation facing the island.
'Barbados will join the clubs when we can afford to pay the dues,' she warned.
The island has had to seek support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a bid to turn around an ailing economy and as she departed from tradition and delivered her Independence Message at the military parade at the Kensington Oval, Prime Minister Mottley said 'We have come to Kensington Oval today on November 30, 2018, to say to the people of the world and to say to Barbadians that we too can punch above our weight again in this country'.
Prime Minister Mottley told the nation that her administration is planning a grand celebration for all Barbadians in 2020 as it would coincide with her administration's perfection for the brightest possible Barbados.
'We will be inviting all Barbadians, those by birth, those by marriage, those by choice to come home during the year 2020,' she said, noting that the home-coming would start with the residents of the parish of St. Lucy in January 2020 until all the parishes are accounted for on a monthly basis ahead of November 29.
'And then from November 30, 2020 to the 31st of December we invite the whole nation to celebrate as we confirm the gathering 2020 on the people of Barbados. For this is our statement to our own and it is our statement to the people of the world,' she said.
Mottley said that her administration would also be placing much emphasis on getting young people more involved in sports as well as learning foreign languages.
She said the young people would be given an opportunity 'to know what it is to play a sport because in playing a sport you learn to play together and to play in partnership with others.
'To be exposed to an artistic discipline because being exposed to an artistic discipline you learn to think and you learn to care and you learn to be tolerant and finally to be exposed to entrepreneurship and business because nobody is going to give us a living in this country.
'We need to make a living in this world for ourselves,' prime Minister Mottley told the nation.
In his first ever Independence...