“The politicians cannot save us. Our allies overseas in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and China cannot save us…”
I was born in the small village of Boscobel in St. Peter. My family was poor, as were many around us. However, we did not let this reflect our state of mind. As was for many Barbadians, this provided the determination to create a brighter future. Better days were always ahead.
I saw a boy living in poverty. He stood proudly on the steps of his old house. The house was always about to fall apart and leaked when it rained. There was no running water, electricity or indoor plumbing. The boy went to school only because of free education, as did many other boys and girls around him. Without that free education these boys and girls would not have been able to learn, for their parents could not afford food, little more than they could books.
His father like those of others around him was absent either by will or culture. So his mother fathered him, as was the way. His mother worked hard to do all she could to help the boy into a better Barbados. I was this boy, and as much as this story is mine, it is also the story of many Barbadians. Together our stories reveal the history of a country that was built on hard work and determination to succeed, especially in the face of slavery and colonialism. A determination, as National Hero The Right Excellent Errol Barrow once said, that took a collection of small villages and transformed them into a proud nation.
Today, we see men and women who are forced to choose between paying the rent or mortgage, and feeding their families. The economic situation is not improving. It will not improve left on its own. We see boys and girls who go to school but cannot read or write yet we boast 100% literacy. We see young people unemployed with few opportunities to become active and progressive citizens. We see a decline in public standards and service, yet we talk of having one of the best tourism products in the world. We see an inefficient Government, yet we claim that public sector reforms are working. We see crime, and anti-social behaviour in schools, on our streets and on public transport. We see a country that is distrustful, apathetic, and struggling to understand itself and falters in crafting a meaningful response not only to current economic crisis, but also failing in setting out a vision for a prosperous Barbados of tomorrow. There is a future beyond the current economic crisis and political staleness that plagues this country. Continue reading