(SNO) — As Saint Lucia celebrates 40 years of independence from Great Britain on Friday, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet called for unity among citizens in the pursuit of a common goal.
He stated that as a nation, much has been achieved, however, there are times the pursuit of a common purpose has been lost.
“Together as one nation, we have achieved much,” he said in his independence address to the nation. “But we must admit there have been times when it seemed we had lost sight of our goals, our aspirations. We started to see ourselves as victims and in the process gave up control of our own destiny. Instead of sticking together as a small island threatened by a new world order, we permitted ourselves to turn on one another. To tear each other down.”
He stated by standing together, all Saint Lucians will be able to take care of the country.
“Only by standing together in pursuit of a common cause; only by holding on to our faith in ourselves, in our values, will we find the strength to take care of our country. Let us demonstrate, to ourselves and others, that we have not lost our ability to love, to care for one another as Saint Lucians.”
The prime minister pointed out that all citizens must stop blaming each other and acknowledge their shortcomings.
“Only then will we be able to begin overcome them,” he pointed out. “So here we are: an independent nation that has come through a period when our survival depended on the generosity of others who may not have shared our own priorities.”
According to him, at 40, the country has no choice but to accept its responsibilities.
“The first being to guarantee ourselves, and those who rely on us, a better now and tomorrow—regardless of impediments, come rain or shine,” Chastanet said. “We can no longer afford to be distracted by small-mindedness and selfish considerations.”
He stated that it is only with united determination Saint Lucia will move forward.
“Even as we celebrate our achievements, we must also look back on our shortcomings, on the past actions that made our national goals that much more difficult to achieve,” he remarked. “We must now recognize the difference between difficult and impossible. With united determination, we can reverse negative trends and get back on the road to national fulfillment. It is never too late to recommit ourselves.”
Chastanet admited that there are too many Saint Lucians who are living in what he described as “less than ideal circumstances”.
“We need to provide proper health care for all our people, we need better housing, we need to establish an education system that meets the demands of the modern workplace,” he said. “Above all, it will take a united effort between government and all Saint Lucians to guarantee safety and security for all. Success will only be achieved if we work harder and smarter as a country. And we must do so, together.”
He added, “The message in the Independence song penned by Ronald Boo Hinkson, one of our inspiring national icons, could not be clearer. It says in part: ‘We’re all in the journey. Let’s shape and share a brighter future. This is a call to action, to every Saint Lucian. Lift one another, so we can progress together…’”
“The truth is, we are stronger together. And we only do more damage to ourselves when we turn away from our neighbour in need,” Chastanet said.
Saint Lucia became an independent nation on February 22, 1979.