Thursday 3 December, 2020

Barbados PM wants students, parents, society to be excellent

The Hon. Mia Mottley speaks at the 2019 Speech Day at her alma mater Queen's College

The Hon. Mia Mottley speaks at the 2019 Speech Day at her alma mater Queen's College

- by Keisha Thompson

It was a Speech Day with a difference in the hall of Queen’s College on Wednesday afternoon. For the very first time, the featured speaker was both a past alum of the institution as well as the sitting Prime Minister of the country.

In an inspirational feature address, the Hon Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, implored present students to recognize that the pursuit of truth and excellence was a journey and not a destination, while encouraging them to always follow their purpose even amidst challenges.

Queen's College Speech Day 2019

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In highlighting that the use of current technological devices can amplify failure for those of the younger generation, the Prime Minister encouraged them not to lose sight of what really matters in their lives. She called for better support systems for young persons to aid them in negotiating and navigating the successes and failures they will undoubtedly encounter in life. “I believe that we as schools, as families, as communities, as societies have to do a better job at talking with our young people and not at or to [them].” 

She, however, called on students to realise that they had the responsibility to capitalize on the opportunities presented to them. In articulating this she emphasized, “I also want young people to understand that you have benefitted, for the most part in a way that no previous generation of Barbadian has benefitted and ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’.

"You have the opportunity to be a global citizen with Barbadian roots. You have the opportunity to decide and define what your purpose can be, unconstrained by geographical boundaries because of what technology affords you. If the world is now your oyster what is the most important asset that you must carry with you? I want to suggest it is that commitment to the pursuit of truth and excellence.”

PM too stresses academics alone is not enough

The retention of social skills was also a focal point of the PM’s speech as she insisted that the human element should never be forgotten but rather human relations should be considered just as valuable as individual achievements. “This is not just about academic excellence,” she stressed,” This is also about your ability to manage people, manage relationships, manage friendships.”

In her poignant parting comments Prime Minister Mottley stressed that it will take a collective effort to propel Barbados forward but reminded the prize winners, “The measurement of your success is not in scholarships and degrees alone but it is in the content of your human character.”

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