Message from Prime Minister Mottley to mark the start of Ramadan 2021

At sunset today, April 13, 2021, as members of the Barbadian Muslim faith join the worldwide community to celebrate the start of the holy month of Ramadan, I am sure at the forefront of your minds must be the state of our world after more than a year of battling COVID-19. Yes, as a global community, we have come a long way since last April. One year ago, our anxieties were fueled by COVID’S unknowns.

We watched what has long morphed into a pandemic from a distance as it trekked a not-so-slow path across Asia and Europe, with ever-growing tensions in the Americas. One year later, our concern is no longer the unknown, but whether our world has been wise enough to absorb and understand what should be the obvious lessons from this pandemic that has taken almost three million lives and afflicted nearly 134 million so far.

Perhaps, Ramadan provides us all, not just Muslims, with an opportune moment to pause and focus on the values of this season — values which, if observed, will no doubt make for a better world, a kinder world. A world that takes seriously compassion, gratitude and generosity, particularly at this time when communities are devastated, not just the ill-health that comes from the virus, but the economic disaster with which so many are grappling daily. And these are lessons that are not just for ordinary citizens — but especially our leaders.

The patterns of recent months, characterized by spikes and falls, variants and mutations, lockdowns and eases, make it clear that eradication remains a distant goal. Even the hopes and promises offered by vaccines will mean very little if our world does not work together. As long as just one corner of this globe remains vulnerable, then the world as a whole will remain at risk.

Today, therefore, as I wish Muslims in Barbados a blessed and peaceful holy month, I invite all of us to reflect on these values as we strive for a better life for everyone. And may we also apply them as we think of our neighbours in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as they live under the weight of an active La Soufriere volcano.

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