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Study finds Barbadians like American values

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Barbadians have an inclination towards an American values system, according to the findings of a study that examined the country 50 years after it obtained political independence from Britain.

The report on the study “Barbados At 50: The National Values Assessment 2016,” was handed over to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on Tuesday night by the Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, Dr Don Marshall.

He told the ceremony that his organisation would be presenting the report on Tuesday, September 26 and while not going into details about the report, disclosed that the research suggested that there was an inclination towards an American values system.

Marshall noted, however, that individuals had a yearning to see people again looking out for each other.

He said that based on the over 1,100 individuals canvassed, including secondary school children, as well as interviewees, it was clear that Barbadians loved their country.

“People care about Barbados; they care about where Barbados is going. Some have nostalgic views about Barbados; some also labour with retrospective illusions, that is, they imagine Barbados the way it never was. Nevertheless, there was a sense where people felt they had to cogitate, reflect and write about what they feel are the values we need to retain and the values that we need to drop…”

The study was commissioned last year during the Independence celebrations to ascertain what are some of those features of Barbadian life that citizens would wish to reclaim, retain or discard.

Prime Minister Stuart said that his administration is committed to creating an inclusive Barbados where people can realise their aspirations.

He said the questions he posed in 2016 at the launch of the anniversary celebrations as to which features of Barbadian life should be retained, reclaimed or discarded quickly, formed the basis for the important study.

“I detect that there is some uncertainty in Barbados today as to where we are and what it is we believe. I agree the Barbados of 50 years ago is not going to come back ever; too much has happened over the last 50 years for us to reconstruct that Barbados.

“Our material foundations have changed and therefore we are not casting a nostalgic glance into the past and trying to reconstruct the old Barbados because again there was not everything good about the old Barbados either.

“But what we want to do is create a relevant Barbados that is inclusive, and a Barbados in which every man, woman and child can feel that he or she has a chance to make what he or she believes felt in the society…,” Stuart said.

He said that Barbados had changed much over the past 50 years, and he was therefore not surprised to hear Marshall's comments that citizens had a tendency towards an American values system.

Stuart underscored the importance of Barbadians determining what kind of nation they wanted, pointing out that a society was not held together by the material acquisitions which people struggled so feverishly to possess, but by shared values.

The prime minister said the study was commissioned, not for academic purposes, but for policy-making and charting a future for the country. He expressed profound gratitude to SALISES for the work done, saying that with the expected discussions, the needed path should be found.

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