"Respect"

Written on 8th March, 1989
by my father, Andrew Desmond Sheppard

(transcribed from personal family memorabilia)


It is a natural human tendency to look up to a leader - to respect such a person and to endeavour to emulate the behaviour and personal traits of such a person who has been chosen to lead other human beings.

Ever since the beginning of recorded time we have seen and have been told of great men and women whose exploits fill the pages of historical literature.  They range from good mothers and fathers, kings and queens, political and military leaders, religious and medical leaders, musicians, artists, etc., etc., ad infinitum.  Those who stand out and are most remembered are those who are respected for their achievements, those whose character has left its mark in the memories of mankind.  In other words, those who believed in what they were doing and who did it to the best of their ability.

Human values have been so abused and neglected in recent times that many of life’s problems and miseries have been self-inflicted and at times appear to be insoluble.  Loss of respect for one’s self and for one’s neighbour has led to this precarious state of affairs.  People whom we have placed in positions of trust which require integrity have become overcome with greed and lust and have been devoured by their own behavior.  Every day the media exposes some politician, religious leader, business entrepreneur, parents, teachers, lawyers, doctors etc. or others, who have been qualified and entrusted to conduct certain functions and they have let themselves down badly by losing their self-respect and the respect of others. They are no longer respectable in the eyes of the public.

These are exciting times and we have grown to expect great improvements and inventions which most of us accept as a matter of course.  Technologically, the world which we know is a heaven on earth because of the tremendous accomplishments of the scientists and inventors in forever striving to improve conditions for mankind.  BUT - They have lost sight of the implications of their deeds.  Just look at the ever-increasing problem of the reduction of the ozone level of our atmosphere.  Only yesterday, the future King of England, Prince Charles, expressed in no disguised terms, the very real fear of concerned people that unless the leaders of this world respect these warnings of the deterioration of our environment, we are all going to end up being in a microwave oven.  Man is destroying himself.  He has lost his self-respect.  In the name of progress, we have been using and abusing the good things of life without a thought for tomorrow.  Chemicals are poisoning our food and water supply.  Most of us are dependent for our daily existence on the consumption of chemically produced preservatives in our food, pesticides penetrate our vegetables and our meat is contaminated with the introduction of growth-inducing hormones in cattle and other animals.  A better price, a greater profit, “watch the bottom line”.  These are the guiding lines for the people who feed us.  We want a better world for all but not at the expense of our health and that of our children and their children.  

The Surgeon-General of the U.S.A. has now directed that all containers of alcoholic beverages must carry a label warning consumers that wine, champagne, beer, whisky or whatever could adversely affect your health, your driving and pregnant ladies should desist from drinking alcohol as it might affect the health of the yet unborn.  Will this warning be read?  Will they respect the advice of the Surgeon-General who is the highest human authority on health in the U.S.A.?  This warning is similar to that placed on cigarette packages which now state that smoking them is dangerous to your health.  So they stop smoking cigarettes and are playing with marijuana, cocaine, crack, which are much, much worse - and the manufacturers and suppliers of these products of the Devil are just getting richer and richer and are corrupting the world with their money.  Yes, leaders of countries, armies, police and businesses are victims of their own greed for power and evil gain.  They will all eventually succumb because they have become disrespectful and have lost the respect of those who looked to them for leadership.  They now have to hold their positions by bribery, corruption and by being constantly surrounded by sycophants, drug dealers and personal armed guards.

As a deviation to my observations of the sad state of the world in which we live, I now wish to draw to your attention one of the redeeming features of our life.

From this evening, 8th March, 1989 until Saturday 11th March, 1989, this tiny island-nation of Barbados will be graced by the presence in our midst of our beloved and highly respected Queen Elizabeth II and her devoted husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who are paying us an official visit and who will perform many official functions during their brief stay here.  The news of Her Majesty’s visit has come like a breath of fresh air.  Everyone in Barbados loves and respects our Queen. She epitomises all that is dignified and graceful and is universally considered to be the enduring and loving example of human leadership.  Her Majesty loves Barbados and respects us for our stability and sense of loyalty and faith in a system of government which has stood the test of time - 350 years of unbroken parliamentary democracy.  That is the “bottom line”.

While we welcome Her Majesty and Prince Philip with open arms we must ask ourselves - but why us?  Her Majesty has chosen to visit Barbados above many other destinations and has visited us more than most other countries within her domain.  She knows that we are a God-fearing and loving people who have an innate sense of decency and respect for things traditional.  In fact, it is said that even now we are more British than the British.  Respect - that is the word which means so much.  Respect is to be earned by example.  Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, our Queen, has earned the respect of the entire world.

And now, we salute you and in one voice state “GOD SAVE OUR GRACIOUS QUEEN, GOD SAVE OUR NOBLE QUEEN, GOD SAVE OUR QUEEN”.

Andrew Sheppard
Barbados
8th March, 1989