As we draw closer to the time Barbadians will be encouraged to participate in a national debate about a NEW Constitution, one suggestion is to allow Barbadians- who for different reasons- have settled overseas to be able to vote to elect a Barbados government. Especially Bajans who although the primary address is foreign, they have family, property and other interest still in the land of birth.
The suggestion to create a Diaspora Constituency is a controversial one for obvious reasons but we should discuss it.
The truth is the truth. As I told you recently , I am not a paragon of any virtue known to mankind. But, I value intellectual honesty. As you have said we have our differences but we are heading the same place. One of the great pillars of intellectual honesty is to admit that you’re are not infallible and to quickly acknowledge when you are wrong or even half wrong.
Quite frankly, among overseas Bajans, I am considered a baby. And they tell me that almost every day. I know Bajans who have been away from home fifty years and over. There is a lot of success and a lot of pain. By the time they have achieved success , they have lost family, friends and even visits are a bit depressing because they are seeing the children of their family and friends and don’t know them. It’s a vicious cycle, when one , on the quest for some improvement , has to give up almost anything that is worthwhile at the end.
There is also a cultural dimension. I have a friend, who has lived more of his life in Brooklyn than than Bim. About ten years ago, he brought home his children to the rock for Crop Over. His daughter, a born and bred American, fell in love with Lil Rick. I am informed that she has not listened to any American rapper since! She is into pure kaiso.
Children need roots. A Canadian lady now in her fifties told me that on a visit home, around the age of seven or so, her uncle taught her how to catch a lizard. She has never forgotten that!
I can write a thousand stories. I have advised friends and family , to not give up a job or anything to come chasing the American dream. The price is high…..very high.
The Caribbean Diaspora must be seen as a part of our new horizon in a different way. And for many different reasons. Indians born and live on the rock then they go back to India to find spouses for their children; Jews , Irish and all other groups are in their Diaspora ensuring that their countries and culture are fully and properly defended. When progressive voices talk about the Diaspora , they are talking about he big picture and not only about barrels or who is Dee or Bee.
However, the mere fact that Caribbean people throughout the Diaspora want to be more involved in their countries is testimony that when all is said and done, home is where the heart is. And after mingling with those who call me a baby, I say they got on a plane but they never left Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana or any other island and if they tell you they really left, dey lie !