I am Barbados
AS I REFLECT ON MY HISTORY and consider what I have achieved, I realise that I have always been a gem. I appreciate my uniqueness and close attachment to divine majesty. I am Barbados.
My name is as old as the old bearded fig tree, but my true independence was born in November of 1966.
For decades since then, I have had years of prosperous development even with the occasional setback. Nowadays, as I move from my youthful days and grapple with the more testing times of maturity, something seems missing and not conducive to my health.
I remember the days when I saw educating my people as priority. I ensured that education was not just for a few who could afford, but freely available to all from nursery through tertiary. At the primary level, school meals were made accessible to all because my children and their futures meant everything to me.
Although in the early days after 1966, and on occasions since then, many of my workers found it difficult, they worked and persevered with pride and industry.
I had a skipper who boldly steered his ship and he was followed by the adept management of Tom. All in all, I gave opportunity to everyone to the point that the shopkeeper’s son became a pillar of strength for my economy, and before him I had a humble servant who commanded trust despite being floored by mutiny.
As I matured, people respected me at home and abroad; they understood that nation meant more than individual prejudices or interests. Internationally, monarchs and people of high regard bestowed upon me honours and respect. World leaders uttered many accolades because I fought valiantly and performed well above my body weight.
But since passing 40 years of monumental developments, and having had the commitment of my people to always fight for a better life for all, lo and behold I was thrown backwards.
My capacity to bring prosperity to all was constrained by divisiveness that grew out of political mischief. Perhaps, it is a case where those who now claim to be dear loving people misunderstood what it means to do rather than just talk.
I have long said that talk is cheap and my people must always keep their hands to the plough. Today, although the good intent may still be there, I hurt.
My pain is lamentable because too many things are going wrong as I age. My people have become careless and are not the strict guardians of their heritage as I anticipated back in 1966.
I am not yet on my death bed, but the anguish of those who like to blame and shame is damaging. I cringe at the thought that those whom I had a special hand in helping up now look down at the depressed with utter contempt.
I mourn for those who take things for granted, not realising that thousands over the years sacrificed with blood, sweat and tears so that I could be a nation of virtue.
I will break free of these debilitating times. I will get up again. I shall once again write on history’s pages.
I shall narrow the gender gap. I will establish a woman because the men have had their chances but have relinquished their responsibility to lead . . . . She must be familiar with overcoming adversity and ready to meet the many diverse challenges of the day.
I am Barbados, I am resilient. I long to be productive and globally competitive again. I strive to be the best that I can be for my people because their livelihoods are my priority.
My nation’s survival and my people’s aspirations will help me to reach the top. I refuse to be weakened by my small size or become wayward because of any recent setbacks. I am Barbados.
Upward and onward we shall go. Inspired, exulting, free; and greater will our nation grow in strength and unity. I am Barbados.
– ANDREW GLASGOW