His Excellency Dr. Nicholas J.O. Liverpool, D.A.H.
President of the Commonwealth of Dominica
I greet you on the commemoration of the thirty first anniversary of our independence.
As we proudly celebrate this event we need to give thanks to Almighty God for bringing us thus far and to congratulate ourselves for the progress that we have made in our social, political, cultural and economic development.
We should remain resolute in our determination to continue to work hard to build on our accomplishments; and always remember that the true meaning of independence must come from within ourselves – from our dreams and hopes for our country, and the kind of society we wish for ourselves and our nation.
We as a people and nation should be proud of the advancement which we have made in the last 31 years in the area of education where every child is given the opportunity to access secondary and tertiary education; in the area of health where senior citizens 60 years and older and children below 18 years have free access to health care; in the implementation of the "Yes We Care Programme" which makes allowance to provide improved care for our abandoned senior citizens, just to name a few. We must always remember the hard work of our farmers, families, the public and private sectors, non-governmental agencies, community based organizations, volunteer groups, and the efforts of our past leaders who paved the way for a better Dominica and made it possible for us to enjoy these 31 years of political independence.
We must now continue to advance with a greater determination, a greater utilization of available resources to accelerate progress, and to bring about an island in which our people live lives that are free of violence, greed, malice, disrespect, selfishness and free of fear. We owe this to ourselves as a nation and as a people, as we assist in the healing which our country needs so badly.
In the midst of our celebration let us not become complacent at what we have achieved in the last 31 years, neither should we be daunted by the grave challenges which lie ahead of us such as the global economic crisis, climate change, H1N1 influenza pandemic and the increased burden of chronic non-communicable diseases. Judging from the resilience of our people coupled with God’s continued mercy and grace, I am hopeful that as a people we will persevere.
We stand at a crossroad in our national development and many challenges lie ahead. Therefore as we look to the future let us recommit ourselves to be more tolerant of each other and to settle our differences without resorting to violence and contention. Remember this country belongs to all of us and we must make every effort to secure it for future generations.
My wife and I wish to take this opportunity to extend to each citizen and resident of this Isle of Beauty every good wish for an enjoyable and peaceful 31st independence anniversary.
May God grant us health, peace and endurance as we continue to develop this wonderful island with which He has blessed us.