EDITORIAL: Pride in self and place
In the midst of the debate about downgrades and other issues of economic and financial import, this country still features positively in the international news, as some of our citizens in their chosen areas of endeavour demonstrate that our people can match their foreign peers and often outdo them.
Mr Ronald “Suki” King successfully defended his World Go As You Please draughts title in Italy, while concurrently Jamaal Bowen won the Taste Of The Caribbean’s Bartender Of The Year, and our international singing stars, led by Rihanna and Shontelle, continue their upward climb.
By any standards these are uplifting stories of Barbadians who are doing what they do best. They continue to show the value of individual effort and the personal and national rewards that such effort can bring.
They are not alone, for a moment’s recall places other well known Barbadians in the same bracket for high personal effort and international achievement. National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers, writers George Lamming and Austin “Tom” Clarke, horse trainer Sir Michael Stoute, champion jockey Patrick Husbands, Olympic bronze medallist Obadele Thompson and World Championships gold medallist Ryan Braithwaite come readily to mind.
The connecting link between the several achievements must be the individual nature of the work undertaken by each of these worthy citizens. It is true that in some instances team spirit and collective effort brings honour and this must be encouraged, but even where this matters, the personal effort that attracts extraordinary attention will still be necessary.
Each one of must therefore be conscious of the fact that our personal effort, either taken alone or in conjunction with others, can bring more productivity, national wealth and increased gross domestic product, if we use the economic jargon.
It is worth pointing out, although it must be obvious, that many of these enterprisers determined their path from a relatively early age; and this is a lesson that must not be lost on our younger citizens, because downgrade or not, difficult international economy notwithstanding, the future belongs to them.
It is a bequest to them by those freedom fighters who reflected on their past, considered their present situation and decided that the future had to be made better. They each made their personal and individual decision to stand together against the prevailing conditions. It was clearly a question of what they could do for their country.
All countries are built on the personal effort of each citizen collectively joined, and in observing our past heroes we see reflected in some of our present citizens that acknowledgement that all hands must be grabbing the plough or otherwise must be on deck.
This country requires the use of personal skills that can materially assist in pulling it upward and forward. Each one of us must examine our personal reservoirs of ability and work out how we can use that ability to improve the national well-being. Individual effort may be driven by a personal desire for achievement or wealth, or it may be more altruistic in origin; and yet its impact will always enure to the common wealth and national well-being, for as John Donne so truly said, no man is an island.
We are each responsible in our own way for the future of this place, and when the going gets tough is when our pride and industry are most needed.