Submitted by William Skinner
In a recent post @TheoGazerts, suggested that my mirror image of our country, at this critical juncture, would be interesting. My mirror image of the country has not dramatically changed over the last fifty years. I still see an extremely conservative people, afraid of our past and extremely timid about our future. Too many are devoted to a nostalgic period, which is not returning and even those who profess to want change usually wilt, when the enormity of engineering it is revealed.
There are many who have thrown an old bed sheet over the mirror to hide the image they do not want to see. We have moved away from Little England and are now apparently living comfortably in Little Brooklyn. An amazing irony, of creating the often-maligned Diaspora, right here in Bim!
The cultural penetration, that most progressive voices warned of in the sixties, has been realized and there is extraordinarily little, that successive administrations, have done to curb our enthusiasm for things foreign. Our collective image of Barbados is one littered with sunworshippers from the tips of St. Lucy to Christ Church. Even the utter devastation wrought by COVID, and the persistent tremors in so-called source markets, from where we hail the blistered bodies with specks of sand, have not deterred us from putting our already slender economic future in such sunburnt fun seekers. But that is who we are and more frighteningly, whom we want to be.
We dare not remove the old bed sheet. The image of a well-functioning political engine, as our Prime Minister, now considered, the shining light of the Caribbean and a global political influencer emerges. Adroit at entering the kitchen and recreating dishes, which have been long tried and left to freeze, thawing them out and declaring those new recipes for development. The classical image of skillfully warmed-over soup now dominates our mirror image.
It is the image of a country, that obviously depends on the political docility of its populace to embrace and endure, the corrupt and sinister collective leadership of two political parties, which have long emptied their bowels of any remote semblance of progressive socio-economic policies.
I still visualize, a new and vibrant citizen emerging from our current predicament, within the next quarter century. Our youth are showing exceptional talents in business, the arts, and all aspects of social and economic endeavors. In many instances their ability to overcome the obstacles are rooted in the fact that most of them inherited no generational wealth, to propel them to the next level.
The story that recently appeared in the local press of a six-year-old girl, selling her first piece of art, is the best way to sum up the hope of the nation. We must invest in the cradle our end up as old broke and broken citizens in the grave.
Those who may want to declare this piece as pessimistic and a warped sense of a fading nationalism, should remember that optimism devoid of realism, is nothing more than delusion. It is high time to remove the old bed sheet from over the mirrors and see it for what it is; and change it.
Happy to oblige @TheoGazerts.
Viva the Caribbean