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The Sixt dynasty

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

The Sixt dynasty

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Regine Sixt is part of a German family business dynasty that has put its stamp across the globe. As Barbados’ Honorary Consul General in Germany, she is working to make this country known not only in her homeland but, as far as possible, wherever the Sixt brand appears.

“I fell in love with this fantastic island when I spent my honeymoon here with my husband Erich Sixt. We were totally enthusiastic from the very first moment we set our feet on the island,” said the accomplished businesswoman.

At her west coast home last week, she reflected with Easy on her love affair with the island to which she was first introduced by her in-laws. She also spoke about the commitment which has seen her lend her patronage to the St Peter’s Parish Church’s annual fund-raising Flower Show And Garden Festival.

Her father-in-law Hans Sixt and his wife spent many a winter vacation at their West Coast home here, and Regine is following suit. In memory of her in-laws, she has placed a plaque in the St Peter’s Parish Church. She also donated the intricately hand-carved reredos in the chapel at the church in their memory.

The elder Sixts, both now deceased, loved the song Beautiful Barbados and their daughter-in-law still sings it to her sons Konstantin and Alexander whenever they return to Germany after a Barbados vacation.

“Please come back where the night winds are blowing! Please come back to the surf and the sea. You’ll find rest; you’ll find peace in Barbados. Come back to my island and me” are haunting words from the popular song that keep the rhythm of Barbados alive in her head even amidst the hectic schedule of her work once she has left the tranquility here.

“There are places in the world that always draw you back to them. Barbados is on top of that list for me. On Barbados I really feel closer to God than anywhere else because of the abundance, uniqueness and beauty of nature on the island.”

Sixt regards Barbados as a perfect example of what can be achieved with co-operation and believes it is a “fantastic achievement” for the island to be holding the 57th position on the United Nations development index. That this tiny dot in the Caribbean is ahead of several European countries with this standing is a feat that inspires Sixt to spread the Barbados message wherever she travels.

“I am proud of the long way that Barbadians have come from slavery to Independence, to becoming a respected member of the international community,” Sixt said.

That the island is setting an example to the world in the area of protection of the environment is another plus in Sixt’s books. “This is a good basis of co-operation between Germany and Barbados because a common passion is shared.”

Sixt Rent A Car is present in 105 countries, with more than 220, 000 vehicles. With her responsibility for international marketing for the expansive company, Sixt said: “Wherever I go, I take a bit of Barbadian sunshine into the world and spread it around. I am a strong believer in the values of Barbados.” They are values she thinks the words “Upward and onward we shall go, inspired exulting, free” in the island’s National Anthem so aptly express.

“Barbados is really a great example to the world of a country striving towards ambitious goals and ensuring that a high level of education and living conditions is available for its entire people.”

Sitting on the front porch of her Barbados home framed by majestic trees, lush vegetation and the blue canvas of the Caribbean Sea, Sixt shared her passion for philanthropy directed particularly to children. The Regine Sixt Children’s Aid Foundation with the project “Drying Little Tears” continues to do humanitarian work in diverse places for the world’s most vulnerable people – its children. The Foundation has already installed 80 projects in 70 countries.

“I just try to help as many children as I possibly can” Sixt explained.

In Barbados she gives support to the St Peter’s Parish Church day care school programme, assisting with the expansion of the school building, and she looks forward to doing more of this sort of work on the island.

It is the kind of contribution for which she has been recognised in her homeland and in Israel, where she was honoured with the Citizen Of The World Award of Hadassah in Jerusalem, for her continuous engagement for Israeli and Palestinian children.  Hadassah was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and such people of note as former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perez and actor Harry Belafonte have also received Hadassah’s “Citizen Of The World Award. Hadassah Medical Center treats Jewish and Palestinian / Arabic children alike.

As for Barbados, Sixt said with pride: “Wherever I go on this planet, I act as an ambassador for Barbados.”