October 26, 2007
The family – The soul of the nation


A message from the heads of Churches of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of independence

The theme selected by the Independence Committee for this year’s celebrations is: “Celebrating 28 years of Independence – building a modern Civilisation”. As a Council, we have chosen to emphasize the most important building block of society – The Family. {{more}}

In our 28th year of Independence, we need to reflect objectively on where we were and where we are today as a family of people – the most important element in the life, growth and sustainability of any nation. There is no doubt that as a family, we have much to celebrate when we look back at our socio-economic, cultural and political journeys. No one can deny that there has been modest but important developments in Education, Economics, Sports, and Culture, driven by the hard work of civil society and the policies of succeeding administrations, which must never be slighted nor taken for granted.

As a family, we must rejoice in the fact that we have enjoyed relative social and political stability – a scarcity in some parts of the world. Despite all this, significant work still needs to be done in many areas of our national life. In building a strong and stable St. Vincent and the Grenadines, several aspects of development are necessary and must be taken into account.

As the driving force of our nation, education must not only provide academic instruction, but must also provide practical training in areas of construction, mechanics, carpentry and agriculture etc; skills that are needed to become a self-reliant and confident people. Education must also encompass the teaching of life-skills, so that our people can become good parents, be able to solve complex problems, be effective communicators and inculcate in succeeding generations the virtues of respect, discipline, tolerance and solidarity.

Another important building block which ought to guide our development process as a nation is respect for and an appreciation of our dignity and worth as a people. Too often, we denigrate each other by doubting our capability to produce, and to deliver service of the highest quality. Too often, we disregard the basic human rights of others, and thus create a culture of distrust and unease, which in turn leads to conflict. Too often, we turn a blind eye to evil and then call it good.

In recent times, the family has come under great pressure, and in some cases has sustained serious injuries, and, therefore, no longer holds the prominence that it once had in our society. Instead, we have substituted important family values for crass materialism and the disrespect for the value of life and living; which engenders greed and selfishness.

This decline in the importance of the family is sometimes reflected in the increase in violent crimes, which invariably are committed by young males; the disregard for the dignity and well-being of the elderly of our nation, and our indifference to and for authority at all levels. We call on all men and fathers to assume their rightful place in building and supporting strong family values.

As a Council, we are particularly alarmed by the many incidents of rape and incest perpetrated by some men on our young girls and women. The Council calls on all our people to save our females from this scourge in our society.

As a Christian nation, we urgently need to strengthen the family, so that our children and grandchildren will be the beneficiaries of hard work, discipline, respect, love and contentment – the fruits of a strong and stable family. By so doing, our future as a young nation will be secured.

The most important ingredient in family – our spirituality – must be strengthened by constant prayer and regularly worshipping together as a family. We are a Christian nation and, therefore, family must be built on Christian standards, values, peace, justice, love and togetherness.

Prayer unites the Family and Nation.

As a Council, therefore, we re-affirm that the family, ordained by God, is still the soul of our nation and must be given the necessary and urgent support by the Churches, State and all of Civil Society so that it again becomes the foundation of tried and tested values. Let us save our families. Let us save our children and our children’s children, so that ‘peace can reign from shore to shore.’

Congratulations to the People and Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the 28th anniversary of Independence. May God bless us all.

Major Henry King
Rev. Victor H. Job
Fr. Pio Atonio
Bishop C. Leopold Friday