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After 50 years, what next?

Everette W. Howell

After 50 years, what next?

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CONCLUDING OUR first 50 years of Independence, we are forced to make conscious adjustments as we move towards and plan for the second 50 years.

We entered the first 50 taking for granted that our education up to college level would be paid for by someone else – the Government. We were confident that such a delicate matter as the health of the people of this great nation would always be secured and underwritten regardless of the cost, by someone else – the Government.

The free transportation to school for our children would be an untouchable imperative – paid for by our Government.

We have reached a stage in our development where to have easy access to imported packaged foods of empty calories consumed becomes a sign of our progress and economic independence.

Throwing our garbage behind us as we walk and drive, our plastics and outdated appliances deposited in our streets and gullies, become our contribution to providing employment for our sanitation and health workers.

At the end of our first 50 years, our visionary planners, politicians and educators are forced to make strategic adjustments in the interest of economic survival and the preservation of those intrinsic values which we treasured in the past and which have made us a proud nation of Bajans.

Children’s future

We must realise as individuals that each of our actions has a consequence, good or bad, on the future of our children, our families and our nation.

We are all a vital part of our environment and our ecology. Barbados is our house, our home. Any action in which we engage ourselves, selfishly or thoughtlessly, which will negatively impact our present or our future, must be abandoned so that 50 years from now, we still have beautiful beaches, clean water resources, more green in our communities than concrete, and no shanty towns.

Our home, our island, must not be used as a dumping ground for the refuse of developed friendly countries. It must be maintained as a sacred place where all life has value and that life – human, animal or otherwise – is respected and nurtured.

Economy and ecology are related and interlocking words. They both have to do with house management, whether our personal homes or our island home. It is impossible to efface, mess up, disfigure or damage in any way anyone of them without affecting both of them. Our present influencers of thought must be engaged in training our succeeding generation, the managers of the next 50 years, to be sensitive to the relationship existing between our ecology and our economy.

United effort

Our political leaders must not be the only ones expected to visualise a better future and a better Barbados. This must be the collaborative and united effort of educators, health professionals, ecologists, economists and the clergy, with opportunity for public input.

A progressive and successful next 50 years demands a change of mindset which can embrace the following:

1. Training our youth to be self-reliant and proper managers of the limited natural resources available to them.

Moral boundaries

2. That in the pursuit of new ways to satisfy our pleasure urges, we do not leave behind or jettison the moral, ethical and spiritual boundaries embraced and treasured by our foreparents.

3. Create a conscious awareness, at an early age, about the importance of proper nutrition and health necessary for the prevention and control of illnesses and diseases.

4. Teach in high school, practical skills, money management, investment and business skills.

5. Encourage the use of more indigenous products as well as being involved in research to produce value-added to what we generate on our island.

6. Securing and preserving our coasts from further erosion, while ensuring that nothing is done to deplete our fishing reserves, so vital a food product.

7. Guard against exchanging our heritage and our sovereign rights to the highest bidder who may see our current economic challenges as opportunity to establish outposts as a part of their new colonial outreach efforts.

8. Every day, for the next 50 years, each of us will be given a blank sheet on which to write or design the future of which we want to be a part. When in 50 years your contribution is evaluated, may it be of such quality that your children, your family and our country can be very proud. What you found as a seed was nourished into a fruit-bearing tree.

– Everette W. Howell

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