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After fifty years – what?


Everette W. Howell

After fifty years – what?

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AS WE CLOSE in on our first fifty years of Independence, our visionary planners, politicians and educators will be 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.

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 occupying our limited landscape.

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 fifty years, to be sensitive to the relationship existing between our ecology and our economy.

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, 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.

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, home making etc.

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 insuring 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 an 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 fifty years our 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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