“We in this society need to cultivate this new tradition of celebration. To gather and rejoice in our lives, the beauty that surrounds us, our creative genius and love. In a celebratory mood, we’ll focus our intellects and creative problem solving capacities collectively and convert our human societies such that they become truly woven complementarily into the broader fabric of life that is this living earth” – Excerpt from are article entitled ‘Celebrate!’ by Bob Wetzel – www.harbingerproject.com

This past week was filled with profound diverse experiences which made me focus on the need to celebrate life. You will forgive me if I begin by celebrating the birth of our first grandchildren, twins to boot, Joshua and Maia. Children are born every day but when there are so close to you one gives thanks for the miracle of life. Congratulations to Kevin and Nadia now that Nadia has been delivered of her collective eleven pounds of joy. Maia the girl was, of course, dominant in the womb.

As is said to graduands at a graduation ceremony this is the real beginning of your journey to contribute to development, similarly here we can say that the real journey of parenthood now begins. Our advice to them was, in the words of Sigmund Freud, ‘I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection’ and, in the words of Helen Hunt Jackson, ‘Motherhood is priced of God, at a price no man may dare to lessen or misunderstand’.

At the other end of life’s spectrum, Dr. Bradley Niles and Mrs. Janice Millington-Robertson have departed this life in the prime of their careers, in the sense that there were many more who could have learned from their wisdom and example. We do not understand these things and it is not for us to question why.

Bradley was a professional colleague of my wife and me over the years. The immediate Millington and Springer families socialized for as long as I can remember and last year I was made aware of a connection in the wider family tree at a Springer family reunion. This bond was enhanced forty years ago when we were students in London where my wife Kean and Janice were both pursing respective musical curricula. My parents and sister were also in London at that time. Janice and I were both Commonwealth Scholars in London and the Commonwealth Scholarship fraternity kept our families in close touch. Thirty years ago when we returned to Barbados, the friendship continued through the broad musical interest which Kean and Janice shared. As we celebrate their lives on earth, we extend words of condolence to their respective families over their untimely loss.

Last week, we met to plan the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Barbados Cancer Society later in the year. Dr. Dorothy Cooke-Johnson and I have served on the Council of the Society for this entire 25-year period and have witnessed both peaks and valleys in the growth of society. It has been a challenging task as we have attempted to contribute to the alleviation of pain and suffering from cancer. The challenges continue, but as we reflected on our success we are convinced that there is reason to celebrate as we educate the populace and take them on a journey consistent with our mission. We shall soon announce our plans to raise much-needed funds on the occasion of this important anniversary.

Last week also I attended a meeting to discuss the formal launch of the newly conceptualized Barbados Environmental Society. Here we will celebrate the beauty that surrounds us and the conversion of our human society so that it becomes truly woven into the broader fabric of life in this island. The BES consists of many independent entities concerned with the marine and terrestrial ecological environments which are of course necessary for sustainable development. The challenge here is to convince the general public who are currently taken up with survival on a day to day basis in their respective cocoons of comfort or discomfort to recognize the importance of doing things today which protect Planet Earth for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

Finally, we celebrate in the new life for the governments of the UK and the Commonwealth of Dominica which must now face the challenges of the day. Mr. Tony Blair, in his traditional speech in Downing Street following his audience with the Queen, indicated that in this unprecedented third term of the Labour party he would be focusing on five main areas representing a mandate of the people. His Government will (1) strive to build on the strength of the existing economy, (2) continue to focus on improving health and education services and reforming the public service, (3) address the creation of more jobs and ensure that pensioners are not disadvantaged, (4) examine the immigration policies for mutual benefit of immigrants and the local population, and (5) reverse the trend of disrespect and antisocial behaviour which tends to be pervasive in the schools, streets, communities and over the entire country.

Let us gather in our lives, the beauty that surrounds us, our creative genius and love.