Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has called on Vincentians to love their country “unconditionally”.
He made the call on Sunday — Independence Day — as he delivered his Independence Address to the nation.
“My brothers and sisters, my fellow Vincentians, we have done fairly well, all of us together. We know that things are not perfect but perfection is not attainable in this earthly city,” he said during the address delivered at the Military Parade at Victoria Park in Kingstown.
“What we have to do is to set standards and benchmarks to which to aspire, and to achieve,” he further told the large crowd of spectators — many of whom wore the national colours — and media audiences.
“We have to build our society on hard work and smart work. We have to make sure each of us make a special effort in his or her personal life, his or her family, community and nation,” Gonsalves said in the 36-minute address.
(Click here for photos of the Independence Parade)
“We have endured many challenges and obstacles in our history and our lives. We have survived and thrived. We are not daunted or overwhelmed by any of the current difficulties and those which may lie ahead.
“We are on the right developmental tract, but, as always, we need to do better and can [do] better together as one people under God, in solidarity with our neighbours,” he further stated as he called on citizens to be more loving and caring to each other.
“Let us be more human and walk well with our God. If we commit to him, our saviour, our plans will succeed. I didn’t say that, Proverbs chapter 16, verse 3 tell us that,” the Prime Minister further said.
“There are many of those among us who love our country in the abstract but they slight it or even hate it, in fact,” he further stated as he moved to the conclusion of the speech, which spoke of the challenges and triumphs of an independent St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“All of our compatriots must avoid this attitude of negativism. We cannot love our country on the one hand and refuse to lift it up,” he said to cheers.
“We cannot love it and at the same time daily be on the radio tearing it down, running it down. We cannot claim to embrace as a land of our citizenship, SVG, and, at the same time, despise it. Let us resolve at this Independence Day 2013 that we must love St. Vincent and the Grenadines unconditionally always,” Gonsalves further said and wished the nation happy Independence.
The event saw representatives of the various units of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, the Cadet Force, Scouts, Guides, and other uniformed bodies, including the SDA Pathfinder on parade.
There was also a unit from the HMS Lanchester, which included a Vincentian.
Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne inspected the ranks.
Among the spectators were State officials and members of the diplomatic corps.
After the events at Victoria Park, the parade made its way up town and concluded with the Prime Minister being saluted outside the Financial Complex on Bay Street.
Vincentians will also be granted a public holiday on Monday.
(This article was first published in our free e-magazine. Click here to read and download.)