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UNDP CYTT Independence Message for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Commemoration Of 33 Years of Political Independence

By Jamal Browne

jamal browne
Jamal Browne, member of the UNDP’s Caribbean Youth Think Tank for St. Vincent and the Grenadines

October 27th, 1979 marks a historic moment for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. For some, it is seen as the culmination of a century of struggles towards complete political autonomy, and for others it is also viewed as the base of a self-determined climb to the zenith of national development. Hypothetically, we are 33 years into this climb, and many are the notions of our progress thus far.

Our political transition from Crown Colony to a fully independent nation is in itself a remarkable story — a synthesis of lives and processes — processes driven by ordinary people making extraordinary contributions. The tale of our post-independence experience maintains the same; however our nation has struggled immensely amidst the rapidly changing global scenarios of the past three decades.

As a nation we have encountered the unstable and slippery slopes of struggling dominant industries, the rugged trails of fluctuating global commodity prices, the turbulent hillside winds of natural disasters, and the counter-productive gravitational pull of social and moral decay. Nonetheless, the climb continues, and it is imperative that the people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines remain hopeful.

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It was hope that fuelled the ambitions of the pioneers of this multi-island nation’s political self-government, and it is this very hope that would take us forward even where grim global prospects defy.

As the mantle of self-government was handed down to succeeding generations, our predecessors are likely to have taken for granted that their successors clearly understood that the responsibility must always be matched by the resolve in order to attain absolute success.

I am instantly reminded of the theme of this year’s Caribbean Youth Day, “Youth Harnessing Positive Energy for Caribbean Development”. It is a theme that acknowledges the optimism, vibrancy, and creativity of youth – linking these to development within a region so severely impacted by foreign dynamics.

Given the legacy of the pioneers of our political independence, and the many lessons learnt after 33 years of self-government, the message here should be crystal clear. As the time draws near for the next generation of leaders and citizens to take on the mantle of self-government, we must first develop the resolve that matches our responsibility to our nation and to our people. Happy 33rd Independence: To the people and Government of the State of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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