As part of the commemoration of Commonwealth Month in Antigua and Barbuda, Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, His Excellency, Sir Rodney Williams continues to educate the nation’s youth on the meaning and relevance of the Commonwealth.
On this occasion, the Governor General journeyed to his home village of Swetes and the learning institution that bears his
mother’s name, the Irene B. Williams School.
Sir Rodney, in setting the tone for the students’ understanding of the relevance of the Commonwealth which was formed in 1949. The Governor General traced the political history of Antigua and Barbuda dating back to1951when adult suffrage was attained when everyone over the age of 18 years could vote irrespective of their material assets. At that time the Country had a Chief Minister.
He continued with the nation’s achievement of statehood in association with Britain in 1967 and becoming independent in 1981.
The Governor General highlighted the Commonwealth’s vision, mission and guiding principles which he noted we should all be grateful for.
Sir Rodney further explained the importance of the Commonwealth and highlighted some of the benefits received by the twin island nation such as technical assistance in tax management, legal and financial services, delineation of marine boundaries and the annual Commonwealth scholarship. Additional benefits, he noted, are derived from the Commonwealth Games, held every four years, that affords athletes from the Commonwealth the opportunity to compete against one another in preparation for the Olympic Games held in the following year.
Sir Rodney used the opportunity to take the students down memory lane when he shared some amusing anecdotes of his days at the institution, then called the Swetes Government School and which was headed by his mother, Mrs. Irene Williams.
He commended the principal and staff for their significant achievement of upgrading from a primary school of 58 students to a secondary school of over 200; the recent attainment of their first medal in the Coca Cola Inter-Schools Track and Field Championships, in the 4 by 100 relay as well as achievements in other sporting disciplines.
Sir Rodney encouraged the students to think more about the Commonwealth, understand what it means and the opportunities it can open to them.