BARBADOS-POLITICS-Barbados celebrates 50th anniversary of political independence.

Barbados is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its political independence from Britain despite the inclement weather that has forced the postponement or cancellation of some of the activities to mark the occasion.

Britain's Prince Harry, who arrived here on Tuesday, is the highest profile guest for the celebrations that includes the 'Reveal of the 50th Anniversary of Independence National Monument 'at the famous Garrison Savannah later on Wednesday night.

The ceremony will be followed by the Golden Anniversary Spectacular Mega Concert at the Kensington Oval,

But the 50th Anniversary Independence Day Parade, scheduled for the Garrison Savannah has been postponed and the authorities have said that the 'Toast of the Nation' will take place at 4.00 pm (local time).

The heavy rains have blamed on an upper level trough that has also affected the Lesser Antilles.

In his Independence Day message, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said that the island had made significant socio-economic and political strides during the past 50 years and that the pursuit and achievement of nationhood was never intended to be an end in itself.

'It was not just a search for psychic satisfaction. We pursued nationhood in order that we might take our destiny into our own hands and mould that destiny in such a way as would develop to the fullest extent possible the hidden potential of our people.

'Today as we look back over the past 50 years, we have every reason to feel satisfied with and proud about what we have been able to achieve despite sometimes daunting odds. We have so diversified our economy that sugar, while still a feature, now plays a role subordinate to tourism and international business and financial services.

'Our manufacturing sector continues to show commendable stamina, while two new sectors, the Cultural Industries and the Renewable Energy sectors, are on the rise. Our housing stock has improved vastly, not only in respect of the conversion from wood to stone, but also because most homes are now equipped with electricity and waterborne facilities,' Stuart said.

But he said that while health and healthcare have improved, the system is now being forced to deal with, and has been responding to, the unacceptably high incidence of a number of life-style diseases, otherwise known as chronic non-communicable diseases.

Stuart told the nation that any objective evaluation of the progress made over the past 50 years, would show 'that our decision to proceed to...

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