We loyal sons and daughters all, do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall are now our very own
We write our names on history’s page with expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage- firm craftsmen of our fate.
To Be Bajan
The level of brilliant inspiration that would have resulted in these lines being penned and subsequently selected to be the chorus of the Barbados National Anthem cannot be over emphasized. They clearly, concisely and effectively detail the core of what it truly is, to be ‘Bajan’.
That some of our former leaders clearly understood what being a Bajan is about is clearly reflected in their speeches and actions as leaders.
Right thinking Barbadians are therefore at a loss to understand how our ‘pride in nationhood’ is reflected in the macro policies being espoused and implemented in Barbados in the twenty first century- as articulated in recent budgets etc.
In the first place, the Government’s apparent obsession with Barbados being seen as a wealthy country and one that is adjudged to be among the ‘most developed’ is in itself NOT a core Bajan value.
The Best We Can Be
What our national Anthem and real national spirit actually espouses- is a country that is “proud to be the very best that we can be”. Naturally, depending on our level of success, we may indeed be among the most developed in the world. However, even if our best collective efforts failed to achieve that level of development our pride as Bajans would not be diminished…as long as we are doing our best.
What we have heard from the Budgets and indeed from the ‘Powers that be’ recently, is some need to attract the best foreigners to come to Barbados – while ignoring and in many cases bypassing what we have to offer locally. The goal seems to be “to bring the best of the world to Barbados.” Rather than “to make the best of Barbados” and to ignore Bajan issues and Bajans who fail to fall in line.
* We attract foreign Capital as a matter of policy and ignore local production.
* The Budget is designed to attract rich foreign entrepreneurs
* We Use foreign Consultants, Architects, Engineers etc so that Barbados begins to look like ‘anywhere’
* Our best lands, Views, Hotels, Banks, Insurance Companies etc are sold off to rich foreigners
* And our best institutions are handed over to foreign management.
All this is touted as a means of earning valuable foreign exchange and justified as prudent and enlightened management. Where is the pride in industry?
Where is the national honour?
Are we not selling ourselves short? The case of the beautiful teenager raised carefully by loving parents who then, identifies a way of quickly accumulating large amounts of ‘foreign exchange’ by swallowing her pride and selling her most endearing assets to the highest bidders?
If we were to carry this logic to its natural progression, then we would also invite foreign management into our political life and import leaders who understand the national vision and who can actually get things done. People who can run transport systems; solve traffic problems; plan world cup events; get public Sector Reform to work; etc.
In the same way that we would obviously not want this to happen to our cherished and respected leaders, surely we can see that our artisans and labourers also want to be respected and cherished.
As in the case of the beautiful teenager selling her assets, this initially does appear to be spectacularly successful, but it does not take long for the true fruits to be realized and for the endearing assets to lose their appeal.
Government Courts Foreign Experts While Ignoring Our Best & Brightest
How could our leaders steadfastly refuse to consult with local experts who were educated and trained at Government’s own expense – and now espouse a policy of seeking to attract “world class entrepreneurs” by offering tax benefits to foreign ‘experts’ that are not even available to equally competent locals.
Where does it promote “pride in industry” when we sell our best silverware to foreign interest while justifying such actions by pointing to the improved performance under foreign management? Is this not the ultimate self-condemnation?
How does our policy of sale of land to rich foreigners at prices deliberately inflated out of reach of the average Barbadian, support the concept of ‘these fields and hills’ being our very own?
Where does the CSME concept of changing the actual laws of the country to remove all Bajan birthrights and any advantages that Barbadians have IN BARBADOS over non-Barbadians, promote the core value of national pride?
To the extent that a Government of Barbados can find itself justifying the need to cater to NON Barbadians to the detriment of local interest. And to do so at the cost of our national pride while seeking to have us buy into that policy- is short sighted and dangerous.
And any attempted justification for such pride swallowing on the basis of economics and developmental gains lowers the traditional high standards set by Bajan leaders.
We must return urgently to our national values of respect for God and Self; to Pride and Industry and to ‘writing our own names on history’s page’
Government’s role is to facilitate, encourage, protect and promote the tried and tested concept of Barbadians being the best that we can be.
It is NOT about selling our pride, assets, bodies and children’s future while becoming lackeys of rich Twenty first Century colonialists.