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Oh, what a difference 52 weeks can make.
Just one year ago, Barbados was awash with patriotic feeling. The month of November 2016 was a very memorable period.
It was the period of reflecting on the pride in this small island nation with a difference.
Because November 30 is the date of this island’s anniversary of nationhood, it is a month-long celebration.
Last year marked 50 years of independence when the country celebrated its golden anniversary of moving from under Great Britain.
So last November the Barbados national flag seemed to be visible everywhere; no one could miss the gold and ultramarine with the black broken Trident.
The patriotic music was evident from The Merrymen to Aziza with the Royal Barbados Police Force Band and a very wide assortment of entertainers in between. They all made us all feel proud to be One People, One Nation.
Of course, the 50th anniversary is a special anniversary, be it in the life of a nation, a marriage, a birthday or even a business. A celebration to mark the golden anniversary is indeed unique. Big plans are undertaken by a country; a couple makes a big bash of the occasion; and even a woman who doesn’t want anyone to know her age and fears getting old will announce with pride that she has reached the milestone. She eagerly treats herself if there is no one to so do.
But this year the bunting seems to be lacking, the flags aren’t flying from almost every vehicle as was the case last year and the music isn’t even knocking down the radio, well except for Larry Mayers and Carol Roberts. The feeling simply isn’t there.
The roundabouts I’ve seen are not stand outs and it is only those very patriotic Bajans who have their outfits, make up and paraphernalia reflecting true pride of a Bajan.
Thank God for the Lighting Ceremony and the Spirit of the Nation shows. Of course, NIFCA always brings a touch of class. These are all standard bearers.
But the question still lingering is why there’s the seeming lack of interest in celebrating the 51st anniversary.
Could it be the NSRL?
Well the rise in the National Social Responsibility Levy from two to ten per cent is certainly showing in the hike of food prices. I’ve noticed that there has been a sharp spike.
For instance, Gain liquid detergent is up, so too is the price of the non-dairy creamer, the Greek yogurts and the cereals. Even in the Cheapside market the vendor whispered on Saturday that the price of eggs was going up.
The price of everything has been touched, or so it seems to me. You must now go to the supermarket or warehouse outlet with a list, and you have no choice but to stick to it. Two bags and the bill says $340.
People out shopping are asking if going to Miami and shipping home a barrel or container will make sense, since you have to get the foreign currency, pay the two per cent levy and then be at the mercy of Customs.
Money may very well be at the root of why people not in any mood to show their patriotism and nationalism; not after leaving the supermarket.
Some people are just getting into their vehicles and turning on the radio.
If you turn to Starcom Network’s The Beat on 104.1 FM then the independence mood ain’t there either. That station is playing Christmas music, and has been all month long. At least the local performers and songwriters should be getting a little berry in royalties thanks to this effort.
The Christmas music in October or November doesn’t matter much to me, but is welcomed in my household. Christmas gets the nod over St Andrew’s day, which also happens to be the birthday of national hero Charles Duncan O’Neal.
There is still some hope. I believe the parade on Independence Day anniversary may save the occasion.
The people will turn out to see the armed and unarmed units on display and show their support.
But the blues will still be here. The Christmas season will truly be on us from December 1 with Christmas trees, new curtains and cushions. The feeling of consternation may only get worse.
No one recognizes the 51st anniversary. Perhaps 55 and certainly 60. So we may have to wait until then to get that patriotic feeling. But, the prices gone up and not ever coming back down.