Colonial and Independent Barbados

Britain's Prince Harry is greeted by the guard of honour after arriving to Bridgetown Port to commemorate the 50th independence anniversary of Barbados November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Barbados, in many ways, is more trapped within the colonial epoch than many are ready or willing to admit but sometimes the gravity of the situation is all just too much. Nothing sickened me more in all my life than seeing Prince Harry of Wales being saluted by a Barbadian Honour Guard until I saw him, in all his military regalia, superseding the Governor-General, Sir Elliott Belgrave at Barbados’ 50th. Independence Anniversary Parade. I. Was. Literally. Sick.

Mind you I love a piece o’ parade. I was a member of The Barbados Cadet Corps. However, something inside of me said, “William. This is fundamentally wrong”.

I actually was eager to watch the arrival; just to see the marching and everything. I went online and tuned in when I saw the advertisement flash across my screen. I then saw the sight and, to my surprise, my insides churned. Funny, I was churning as I saw in the United Kingdom. At least it was Northern Ireland (another oppressed land) and not the mainland.

That is what really made my insides hurt. It was the guard-of-honour’s salute to Prince Harry. It was the use of the National Anthem during that salute. It was the full of play of the Barbados National Anthem for the oppressor (a rarity and something done for those at the highest level) .

No apology from me. The physical and economic rape we endured in so many different ways. The contemporary economic oppression by a world system these people dominate. These things rile me up but they do not sicken me. The bowing of our people to them; that sickens me.

I realised at that moment when Prince Harry stood on the ship taking the salute that it was the first time I really encountered colonialism. I read a lot about it. It is part of my research . We experience it in so many ways today; especially through the imperial economic regimes but to see it unfolding so blatantly before my eyes. I was now really experiencing it.

When I saw my Governor-General walking behind the Prince. I came, once again, face-to-face, with the oppressor. 50 Years as a period really do not constitute a long time but it it is long enough to truly become independent.

When Will People Take Control of Their Lives?

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In democratic societies, especially the liberal kinds, the electorate is often faced with the challenge of weeding out, from among those who offer themselves for public service, those who ‘know’ and those who think they ‘know’ but in reality do not. It is a peculiar case for any people to have to carry out such an action because it means we have to think. Each eligible person and even those under the age of voting, to a lesser extent, must peruse their minds about what they want to see become of their country, whose message resonates with how he or she feels and who is the person most likely to make this happen. Unfortunately, thinking or maybe I should say critical thinking is quite lacking among the general populace. Even those who think they think critically do not.

Ever so often, about every four to five years, the Caribbean people in particular are faced with a melancholy. They must elect without knowing the candidates. Arguably, aside from politicians in very authoritarian democracies and dictatorships, Caribbean politicians enjoy a large cushion of protection from scrutiny. I should say here that when I say Caribbean I really mean primarily those in the West Indies. Yes, that place which like most other post-colonial regions adapted the British West Minster System into ‘models’ to ‘suit’ the New World Environment.

When one really thinks about the whole situation, there is little surprise coming to mind as to why the people do not really know the policies of those they elected and those who want to be elected. The ‘models’ we have, we, as a collective, did not make. We trusted our pioneers and founding fathers to make certain decisions such as the construction of our Constitutions which dictate almost every facet of our living instead of taking a stake in the pie. Yes, one may argue that West Indian Constitutions are Acts of the British Parliament and not even our leaders of the time really had a say. Yes, we may also argue that the ‘we’ about which I speak really means our foreparents so today’s people are not to blame for what we experience presently. Surely, we know all of that to be erroneous.

We are the ones living today and every day we let pass without engaging the very nucleic forces of our society is another strike taken off of the ‘we’ of the past to be marked against the ‘we’ of today. The politicians need not go beyond a manifesto to debate because we have hardly ever challenged them to do it. Think about it. If it is that those who sell goods and services usually provide a certain quantity and quality commensurate with market they serve then would not it be reasonable to assume that our leaders (trade union leaders, parliamentary members, clergy, teachers, government administrators) would respond to our demands since we are the market and the only market to which they can ply their trade? Normally markets are held captive but geography and nationality hold our suppliers captive; making us their masters and them our servant-leaders. 

With this small argument in mind, hopefully you recognize that it is within your rights to demand from those you employ the deliverance of what you want. It is also your right to do and say nothing to affect this occurrence. However, if you neglect your duty, even though you may benefit from the actions of those who demand what they want, in the long-run you, mostly likely, will also be neglected. 

The Caribbean Reality

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Drawing from the colonial period, which only functionally ended with the British West Indies’ labour unrest in the 1930s, the West Indian reality is today one of systemic un-freedom due to the maintenance of the plantation society which perpetuates a plantation-like socio-economic structure. To believe that the end of colonialism-proper means the end of authoritarian governments and anti-democratic mechanisms such as criminal libel laws to control the media would be a mistake. One must understand that the Caribbean in general, and the West Indies in particular, are substantially defined by colonialism. Consequently, the Caribbean may be seen as a post-slavery civilization with a mirroring politico-economic structure.

The influence of Euro-American foreign policy, facilitated through international aid, dictates the Caribbean development agenda; limiting the extent to which the region exercises its right to self-determination. This situation dates back to independence of the then colonies; being preceded by the implosion of the West Indies Federation in 1962. Though popular sentiment may resist Euro-American policies which, inherently carry with them the refashioning of the Caribbean way of life, there is a tradition of compromise with international powers to facilitate local development. This explains why, for example, even though in many Caribbean countries while corporal punishment is a popular statutory mechanism for disciplining school children, the UNICEF’s call for its end was not vehemently rebuffed as imperialism; but instead compromise was made by establishing ‘child-friendly’ non-‘flogging’ schools.

The Caribbean understands its dependent disposition relative to more developed economies and uses diplomacy to safeguard its future. This inherently means compromise at the expense of sovereignty. The Caribbean way of life, like Latin America, has a fixation on peace and investment in our greatest, and in the case of countries like Barbados, our only abundant natural resource; its people. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States’ (CELAC) declaration of our region as “a zone of peace”, and the exclusion of this hemisphere’s military and economic great powers, the USA and Canada, from its ranks at its establishment in 2011 are testimony to this fact. This concept of peace, created through mutual respect for culture and individual history guides the Caribbean, of which various Latin American and South American countries are geographically a part, in its quest for prosperity; however limited it may be. This exploration of the Euro-American Nexus’ relation to the Caribbean creates greater appreciation of the ensuing topic of Caribbean domestic policy.

Barbados proves the greatest case study for understanding Caribbean development philosophy and its inextricable link to education as evidenced by 14.27% (2009) of government expenditure allocated to that sector. Unlike Jamaica with an abundance of bauxite and Trinidad and Tobago controlling vast oil reserves, Barbados is without natural resources; circumstancing a people-centred society. Historically, Barbadian politics and economic initiatives were primarily constructed by the people’s needs. Consequently, profits derived were used for their benefit. With a size of 166 square miles and a population under 300 000, Barbados has over 70 and 20 primary and secondary schools respectively, leading to being among the top 5 literate countries at 100% in UNESCO world rankings.

Human development policy emphasis and the creation of the welfare state directly derived from colonialism and cannot be ignored. Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor designate of the University of The West Indies (UWI) and Chairman of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Committee On Reparatory Justice, in addressing the British Parliament in 2014 explains that Caribbean poverty is systemic because the British Parliament, “in 1833 determined that the 800,000 enslaved people in the Caribbean were worth, as chattel property, £47M [£3.892B Conservatively (2013)]” and in compensating slave owners for the loss of ‘property’, “provided the sum of £20M [1.656B (2013)] in grants”, while refusing compensation to freed Blacks. Compensation was denied and poverty institutionalized by way of British Emancipation Acts which gave Caribbean countries independence while holding that, “ ‘property’ cannot receive property compensation”.

Less than a century ago, Barbadian children attended school barefooted while pit-toilets and outdoor kitchens fuelled by firewood were commonplace. In fact, these conditions are but some of the reasons for the labour unrest earlier mentioned. This reality is only but a half-generation (25/2 years) removed from the general populace but various aspects are a mainstay in contemporary Caribbean life. Circumstances like mass child labour prompted Caribbean countries, to compromise with the economic (white planters) and political (black descendants of the enslaved as well as indentured servants) majorities in order to secure the universal right to education but it was Barbados that made it free up to tertiary level.

Contextualized by these maladies, one is dismayed by the Barbadian government’s decision in 2013 to limit the access to universal education. Until then Barbadians enjoyed, through heavy direct income taxation (20% to 35%) and indirect value-added taxation (17.5%) tax-payer subsidized education up to university level. The ruling party’s argument during the Fiscal Estimates Debate (2013) highlighted education as exponentially increasing government spending to uncontrollable levels; resulting in debt of student fees to UWI exceeding $100M BBD ($50M USD). In accordance with the ruling party’s solution students now pay tuition fees while the economic cost is tax-payer funded.

While this seems fair, understanding the Caribbean reality illustrated above, the payment of tuition fees is a barrier to social mobility for the average Caribbean person because Barbadians still pay heavy taxation rates in addition to this new barrier. What placed Barbados ahead of many Caribbean countries including the more historically powerful Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and what makes Barbados’ achievement the Eastern Caribbean countries such as St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis is the rapid transformation of the socio-economic status of individuals unilaterally facilitated by way of ‘free’ education. Though great strides have been made, the reality remains, that systemic generational poverty bars many from being able to pay the tuition fees. Notwithstanding the assurance of loans being available, the impact of high cost of living induced by heavy taxation makes the loan repayment simply impossible.

The generational revolution is under threat!

The Occupied Mind

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        The occupied mind, today, is a level of consciousness predominantly consumed with something called ‘happiness’ which is, in actuality, a ruse for control over the individual and Collective’s labour. The central point to be made about the mythical ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ is that it does not bring the glories of life which we imagine. If it did, surely by now, the world, not just a miniscule fractional percentage of global minority would be enjoying the fruits of their labour. Something must be wrong when a world predominantly obsessed with reaching material nirvana not only fails miserably in the endeavour but catapults itself to the opposite pole; impoverishment.

            Evidence to the idea that ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ is a ploy to keep the eyes from seeing beyond the nose is the fact that, though many of our countries claim Democracy as a fundamental pillar, it is systemically corrupt to the point that our very elected representatives are unresponsive to the organic calls for reform. This unresponsiveness about which I speak has been facilitated by the blind generally called ‘rat race’ in which many of us are actors. We are so consumed by this pursuit that we turn away from policies and politics of the day. Beyond and undergirding the facts and figures published by others which speak to this truth is a philosophical question; better put, a collective idea expressed by the mouths, feet and arms of those who dare to protest. These demonstrations beg us to inquire into the extent to which, in general, we truly own the land, air, sea, skies around us and more specifically, our governments, families and bodies.     

            Many of us are set to work from early ages, toiling away behind a desk, on the road collective refuge, in some factory or call centre of some sort and at the end of it all, when the road comes to close and retirement looms happiness is still fleeting with even funds promised after saving for years being refused or limited to the point where living becomes brutal survival. The story of this pursuit is like the story of the dog and bone. In order to gain the riches others such as ‘elite’ businessmen, politicians, labour and corrupt civil rights leaders have placed before us, unlike the dog who did it unwittingly, we give up the internal joys we have such as our youth, time with family, satisfaction and peace of mind in old age as well as autonomy over ourselves.

            In order to save ourselves from this damnation let us recognized that today’s humanity is in a confluence age where change is indeed possible as well as the furtherance of this seemingly perpetual melancholy of exploitation. Exploited is our dignity and labour with nothing in return for it. Surely, better days lie ahead but only for those who gather the air in their lungs, stamina in their feet and swing their arms. The occupied mind need not be a mind consumed with trivial matters that only serve the interests of the exploiter. By now you must see that the occupied mind may be consumed by whatever you want so simply want better for yourself than the life of a tool.

         In short, I urge you to occupy yourself with justice; not only for yourself but for all. If you do not know what justice is just think about what it surely is not then look within yourself for what you believe should be in place in your life and the lives of those around you. Somewhere in there you will find justice and hopefully and better yet; fairness. Let not your days to come be filled with regret because of inaction. Move forward to your own salvation and occupy yourself.

An Introduction to The Barbadian Ideal

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The length of this article will constrain, to some extent, the efficacy with which my points are carried to your mind but I am sure you will be able to pick the sense and construct your own opinion in reply. For the sake of ourselves, in the memory of our ancestors and for the promise of tomorrow let us do a short but very needed preliminary inquiry into the nature of the Barbadian psyche. 

I love my people but I detest some of their ways at times; especially that knack for holding the tongue in periods when it should be unleashed. It is this  seemingly minor peeve that brings me to more widely question the extent to which we, though seemingly free in body, are, in reality, free in mind. I think, if only but for clarity in understanding what makes the Barbadian tick, we must ask questions like these.

We must ask. We must prod. We must debate. We must analyze and evaluate. It is only when we do these things that we can create for ourselves the lives that we truly want to live. I believe we have failed, if only because of time and circumstance, to undertake proper scrutiny of our lives. Consequently, the Barbadian in particular like many Caribbeans in general is wandering in a quandary mixed with sediments of self-denial, inferiority and superiority complexes, schizophrenia as well as economic, social, political, cultural and ultimately spiritual instability.

Firstly, we must distinguish the Barbadian from other Caribbeans; not for reasons of superiority or inferiority but simply because we, at this juncture, want to focus on the particular traits that make Barbadians, at an essential level, who they are. Unlike other Caribbeans who also have their own unique, inspiring and notable histories Barbadian history is universally one of development through consensus. There is a reason why, besides the Battle of Jamestown, few slave rebellions and the 1930s Riots, Barbados has been a sanctuary of peace throughout the centuries. This consensual state brings great admiration from regional and international leaders who laud The Idea of Barbados and challenge their people to create an idea of their own but is the Barbadian Ideal made in the Barbadian image? 

It is at this point that I want to challenge the extent to which Barbadians are aware of the Barbadian Ideal. It seems to me that this ideal is more of an external construct by those who see Barbados as a bastion of hope but for the Barbadian this ideal is but a series of painful compromises made over time to appease those who would wilfully destroy any chances of a happy life for our people. The Barbadian way of life at this point, instead of being characterized as a people charting a path of their own choosing, may be better described as a people given limited liberty by past masters to choose their own path within already prescribed parameters.

I cement this claim by noting that I believe (yes a belief and not a ‘fact’) most Barbadians dead and present, regardless of political and ideological affiliation, if they have or have not, are fundamentally unhappy with the way Barbados since gaining Independence from Britain has developed. The people may be appeased by the garnishes such as the standard of living and strength of the dollar but at a personal level they must feel as though their truest potential is untapped, restraint, retarded and eroding.The Barbadian wants more but knows that in order for more to be had a great fight may have to be made with short-term and even long-term consequences reminiscent of previous projects of outright self-determination even if more subtly created in this new age of global diplomacy. It is with this in mind that I charge that the unhappy Barbadians, unable to truly act in their own right, appease the spiritual, universally felt but hardly ever spoken disquiet with the platitudes given them by the very people who constrict their souls.

Barbados is truly a model for the Caribbean because this country’s history shows others how to navigate waters that they do not own but this ideal must end; for though it created a good way of life where the people may enjoy the modern things it also created a people fettered to the whims of others. I caution those, however, who will take my argument to mean that Barbadians are outright slaves and should be shunned. Barbados’ history shows the resilience of those who were enslaved and their ability, knowing their positions and dispositions of power,  to negotiate the harsh realities of life while creating their own space of living.

In short, I am grateful for the compromises which afford me this opportunity to want more but now I argue that the time for compromise is over because The More calls the soul to unchain itself from appeasement. My challenge to the Barbadian is to use the foundations laid by the sacrifices of personhood made in the past to construct a true Barbadiana.Though stagnant for so long, inherent in the Barbadian Ideal is a sense of action which must be re-kindled.What this means is that our tongues which were held in order to survive must be unleashed in order to prosper.  Let the feet walk, the arms swing, the lungs fill with air and the voices bellow. 

 

The Marketing of Homosexuality

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Note Well – The word ‘homosexual’ in this piece is used to include all non-heterosexual variants.

Though many people may be naturally homosexuals, to say that every self-proclaimed homosexual is that way naturally would seem to be an error. This piece investigates the idea that there may be many present-day homosexuals who are that way due to social construction. If, by any chance, the contents of this article offend you then so be it. The offense is all yours and your right to take. Keep in mind that it is my right, as well, to articulate my views in the way I choose and it is your right to state your views in the comment section.

Immediately what may come to mind for those who support the gay rights movement or those who see themselves as liberal thinkers is that an argument for homosexuality being a social construction is an argument against the homosexuality being a natural phenomenon. I argue that the two can co-exists. There is little doubt that there are people who are born with a natural affinity against the social norms of heterosexuality, however, to register the appreciation of homosexuals “coming out of the closet” as simply the now open demonstration of already closeted people is a fallacy. Take note that many of those coming out as gay today were not alive in the days where open homosexuality would result in obvious death in the Western World. Though some older folk are openly declaring their once-hidden sexual orientation and younger ones do manifest tendencies at an early stage in life, does anyone wonder why it is that so many young people are, now declaring themselves homosexual?

One could argue that today’s socio-political environment, though not ideal, is much more conducive to homosexuality than it was in the past and that is true but that does not negate the ability for another force to be at play in the shaping of sexual orientation. The gay rights movement, by way of Capitalism, is a powerful force in the contemporary world advocating for equal rights. Ironically, it may be the Marxist dialectical tenet of a passage of quantitative change into qualitative change that may have made the difference for the gay rights movement. There is little doubt that the recruitment of powerful gay and pro-gay business leaders in joining the movement has done much for the gay agenda (not used in a negative way). Through this mechanism, in the capitalist world, public policies have taken dramatic changes in favour of gay rights. This occurrence was enabled by owning politicians by the funding of political parties by the gay rights movement.

However, owning politicians is but one step in the homosexual parade. The reason Capitalism has been mentioned so often is because it is primarily in the capitalist world that homosexuality has been so wide-spread and it may be reasonable to suggest that Liberalism’s moral principles of social indifference mixed with Capitalism’s infiltration of the political system has been used as a vector by the homosexual movement just as it was used by businesses and various organizations in the past as to create mass re-socialization. This time the re-socialization is in favour of homosexuality.  In these very countries up until very recently recently homosexuality was abhorred with glimpse of a homsexual-inclusive society yet a rapid contrary change occurred. Logically, this quick about-turn would mean that the now lauded mass acceptance of homosexuality in Western Societies is neither a naturally occurring phenomenon nor testimony to the humane nature of humanity and our evolution of logic but a simple bi-product of the use of money to change the minds of the people. This use of power accumulated by way of wealth carries the gay rights movement away from an argument in favour of rights, towards an active agenda engaged in amassing geo-political dominance for self-interests.

Therefore, it must be acknowledged that there is a substantive difference between the logic of the gay rights movement and the homosexual agenda. The former is a logic of civil rights while the other is one of political influence and social domination. The two are often conflated which then makes arguments against the political manipulation employed by the homosexual agenda seem as though it is an argument against the civil rights arguments made by the gay rights movement.

Note well, once more, that this is not an argument for or against the homosexual agenda (to say there is not one is play a fool’s part). This is a discussion of the idea that homosexuality today is marketed to the people as a product to be consumed and many will consume it though they are not naturally that way.

Many hold to a position that homosexuality is natural and anyone who confesses to being this way was always this way because no one chooses a life where he or she will be a social outcast but this is also an error. This argument creates a dogmatic adherence to a logic based on blind faith in a pre-conceived un-tested conclusion. This conclusion is more error-prone than it is truth-filled. To disprove it one only needs to find one person in the whole world who after confessing to be homosexual then confesses to not have naturally been. It would be better to acknowledge that just as people can convert from one religion to another, people can choose to be homosexuals.

The marketing of homosexuality takes many forms such as natural peer pressure, political correctness and television shows which consciously choose to include glaring homosexuality or hint at it. The ending of Legend of Korra represents a classic example of brand placement. The end of the season 4’s finales shows Korra and Asam* (two females) sharing a tender moment and walking into a light, happy and holding hands. This was a allusion to them being gay without it being expressly said. The argument can be made that television shows today, just as when they began including coloured people in the recent past, are just doing their part in reflecting a truer society.

*This link carries you to Bryan Konietzko’s (Avatar Creator) Tumblr page where he states the intended implementation of a homosexual relationship within the show.

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Scene from Legend of Korra Season 4 Finale.

Yet, firstly, the societies they are reflecting are not always the societies in which these shows are distributed. A television show with overt homosexuality is likely to be distributed from an accepting country to one where it is not. Not only is the show distributed but the values are as well; creating prime conditions for cultural erosion. This is marketing and a form of cultural disrespect and ethnocentrism.

Using captive markets like the Caribbean, the metropoles, controlled by homosexual power interests, pedal their culture to regions which have little control over the media consumed and re-program the programable while isolating the impervious. Why is it that Legend of Korra, a show distributed by Nickelodeon which caters to a demographic of children would choose to include this theme in its work? It cannot be by coincidence that children today are increasingly showing signs of homosexual tendency while the shows they are watching are doing the same. This leads one to a summation that homosexuality like any other brand is being marketed to youth with an aim of reprogramming the sex and gender paradigms.

Arguably, the lacing of media with homosexual innuendo is a dangerous marketing tool which is already manifesting drastic social and cultural changes such as the suppressing of freedom of speech to advocate against homosexuality in the Western World. I am not saying that these changes are to be rejected or accepted. Their source must be acknowledged and the impact assessed. The homosexual movement is a socio-political movement and must be treated with respect as such. This means that while society must respect the rights of homosexuals, homosexuals must respect the rights of society at large.

I put a position that just with political campaigns, the use of media for any socially transformative message must be clearly marked as such and not be legally allowable to be engineered as a covert message. Naive yes? Substantively, State regulation is key to curb this destructive social ill. The ill about which I speak is not homosexuality but the historical use of media to arbitrarily pedal messages without sympathy or respect for the stability of our societies. When I speak about messages I am not speaking about civil rights messages such as equality regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. I am speaking about messages which seek to coerce the mind in order to take control of power within society.

There is a common argument that societies force sexual orientation on children from early and that is wrong but it only seems wrong today in the case of heterosexuality. The homosexual agenda, today, seems to be forming into a minority tyranny oppressing the majority. This is of concern. The movement towards gay rights seems to be transforming into a movement towards gay supremacy. It seems that no matter the social conversation, economic class, social class, religious freedoms or gay rights the principles remain the same. Once one group gains ground it seems to naturally want to subdue the already entrenched group instead of creating a harmonious reality.

Conclusively, the marketing of homosexuality is an aversion to humanity’s freedom equal to that of forcing a person into slavery. The use of various media to covertly inculcate our people, young and old, into any lifestyle, religion or ideology is a perversion of democracy and a threat to the stability of our societies.  One must be vigilant in these times as always.

History’s Page

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To speak of ‘may’ or ‘could’ in relation to the world’s future often seems to be the mode in which many of us are set and for good reason. We often seek this path because we acknowledge that there are few certainties in life and to predict what is to come with certain words such as ‘will’ is almost but sure doom to the ego of those who speak the words. However, for the Caribbean region it seems that in this 21st  Century, there is little doubt that in as much as we may not be able to control or predict the future, we will have, at some point to make drastic changes in order to take control of our destiny which, hitherto this time and in this temporal point, was and is out of our dominion. Essentially, History’s Page longs for the day when the Caribbean will write itself into humanity’s annals with conscious self-respect.

Far too long has this region teetered, tottered and crawled on the edge of historical, geo-political and economic oblivion. With the armoury of excuses such as slavery, neo-imperialism and an “unready people” given us by our academics, politicians and national leaders we weave a narrative of and global role for ourselves as dependent, geo-political prostitutes suffering from the wrath of patheticism. The post-independence role of our region is not arguable when using a global lens. For the most part, we have made few successes and strides towards progress with many disastrous mistakes and falls. The few successes highlighted can be even further broken down into two camps; individual and collective. Manley’s Jamaica’s brief revelry in self-determination did not precipitate a chain reaction for the rest. Neither did Barbados’ ascent to global economic recognition facilitate growth in other Caribbean countries.  Instead, these individual triumphs remained individual while the collective region struggled to survive.

Likewise, as today’s St. Lucia runs to the top of the podium we do not see even its sister islands of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) holding a coat-tail. What one can ascertain is that the collective regional struggles about which many Caribbean leaders speak has been, from the dawn of colonialism’s toil in this earth, an individual endeavour. Quintessentially, the balkanized consciousness of this family makes our regional Community (CARICOM) a very paltry endeavour at best and void of life in the worst.

That is the past and must be seen as such. Even though the past informs the present, one must understand that it must only do so in modes of our own choosing. To live a present in the same stupor of the past which benefited us little is to accept a life as the perennial joker in the world court entertaining those who seek us no good will.

Positively, constantly living in oblivion allowed us to titivate our spiritual will. Though our backs are broad, we may need them broken in order to move forward. Arguably, it seems we need someone to save us by threatening to kill us. Whether it be by economy, policy or law, the outside world seeks to create us in its own image. This has been the case for many years but at some point there must be a time where what little identity we have will be at its last light. It may be at that last light that we momentarily extinguish finding re-birth like the proverbial phoenix.

I, however, hope not for that day because that would mean that, once again, it would only be from an external force that we feel the need to manage to ourselves properly. Hoped for but breath not held, is the second in the minute of the hour of the day where this region acknowledges its current state in its true form and builds from there. Rhetoric is spewed at the masses that we punch above our weight but we honestly do not do so now. For but a fleeting time in the yesteryear we may have fought a great fight but that time is not now. Complacency induced by delusions of autonomy at a time when we should have been forging ahead brought us to this point where we are to realise that our class compared to the rest of the world appears to be weightless.

The eyes of the world including others in what is known as The Third World, for long, viewed us as gross dependencies, prostituting ourselves to those who now no longer want our paradise; neither in mind nor body. We were happy to be given praise by others while they simultaneously told us our place in this world. Albeit subtextually.

Summarily, when we punched above our weight, as they say, we actually did not. We punched weight that was meant to be punched. Any weight we punch is our weight. Simple. To hold a view that we punch above our weight is to accept defeat at the hands of greater ones because in that statement is a dangerous seed; inferiority. Simply put, for something to be above us we, obviously, must be below it.

On behalf of those who see us as more than a speck of dust in the tale of a shoe and mighty in potential I argue that we shall never punch above our weight! The life under the shoe which was prescribed for us must, by us, be proscribed. It is time, as it always was and always will be, for the Caribbean to make its own room. Unrest the laurels, unchain the body and mind, and forge the brightest path. History’s Page longs for the day where we Caribbean people write a good story just as we cook and eat a good food.

Proud Cuba Highlights America’s Shame

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The recent announcement by President Barack Obama of The United States of America (USA) that there will be a concerted effort to establish congenial relations between his country and “nemesis” Cuba is welcomed news but it simultaneously highlights the historical reality that the world has failed Democracy. We welcome this new push towards geo-political democracy after years of uni-polar totalitarianism brought about by the neo-liberal agenda still afoot. The Republic of Cuba deserves to be able to freely exercise its right to choose its own developmental path unencumbered by any other entity; especially those who lack the various capacities to understand the metamorphosis which took place during the Cuban Revolution.

The North American Federal Republic only has itself to blame for Cuba becoming the antithesis of everything that is “Amurka”. Lest we forget that Cuba, like Puerto Rico, at one  point, developed a protectorate relationship with the USA after the Spanish-American War. In relation to Cuba, as a protectorate, arguably there was even more starvation, physical oppression, economic exploitation, political manipulation and despotism during the Cuba-USA agreement than when Cuba was a Spanish colony. It was as though Cuba had merely changed ownership from one Mother Country to another. These are the conditions which led Cuba to a revolution with a national ethos underpinning it.

We must let history speak truth to power and leave the media-driven demented drivelling demagoguery for the sheep’s grazing. Contrary to popular misbelief, Cuba’s revolution was neither communist nor socialist in origin. It was a child of the political and economic enslavement which occurred under the USA-backed totalitarian regime of Fulgencio Batista who, acting as the metropole’s puppet, ensured that American interests were served by enabling the extraction of wealth using Cuban labour, the total monopoly of Cuban utilities by American companies, the theft of Cuban land from its people and the brutal slaughter of Anti-American activists and political dissenters. Are these not reasons for revolution? These things should make people question the reality in which they live.

Americans and Caribbeans often speak about Communist Cuba disparagingly but Communist Cuba is a result of the USA’s illegal embargo of Cuba. Without anywhere in this Hemisphere, including the rest of the Caribbean Region, to turn it was only logical for Cuba to seek refuge in the arms of another geo-political super-power; The Soviet Union which was communist. Castro, like Lenin did in his time, found communism to be a cement more binding  than national pride and used it to establish Cuba as a geo-political juggernaut fighting off the wrath of the leviathan that was and still is the USA. Summarily, this embargo which sought to cripple Cuba, forced what one may argue was an unintended consequence to occur.

Yes! The United States of America, to a large extent by parasitism and embargo, created the Cuba we see today.

Cuba and Haiti, despite what certain media may tell you, are shining Caribbean Pillars of excellence in terms of philosophical and ideological fortitude. The Cuban and Haitian Revolutions bring true meaning to the word Independence which Caribbean politicians and “leaders” bandy about like a sex toy to romance the masses and rape the mind.  The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) established the First country of the Modern world to implement universal adult suffrage. Yes, Haiti, before Britain which granted limited suffrage based on property right and sex, France on sex and the USA on property rights, sex and race, granted universal adult suffrage to all Haitians without restriction. For winning its right to self-determination Haiti by economic circumstance was coerced into paying France for its freedom and Cuba paid the USA by way of suffering for decades under an embargo which retarded its economic growth. Yet, in spite of these obstacles, these two countries exist today and are making strides in developing in their own image much to the chagrin of world geo-political powers.

Cuba like Haiti, is a world symbol of determination and humanity’s ability to persevere even in the worst of times. For The United States of America, Cuba is a staining  record of its immature geo-politics and perversion of Democracy. The USA’s record on global democracy stands so far as a “one-size fits all” approach which we must know by now is a childish view of the world. Let us pray that the world, including the USA, uses the remaining time humanity has in this temporal realm to create a truly inclusive world where we learn from and with each other in order to grow and improve ourselves. The normalization of relations between The United States of America and Cuba shows that the time is ripe, as it always was and will be, for  a conscious revolution toward universal peace.

In Defence of Our Country, Region and People

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The Caribbean did not kill Brian Mulligan. Our deepest sympathy is with his family for we understand the value of life and we hold it dare. May Brian Mulligan rest in peace. The Caribbean, like any other place on this earth is a place of Read More…

The Folly of Intelligence

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One very annoying trait of humans is our ability to believe in ourselves so highly that we become delusional and high from our own sense of self-importance. Why is it that people, especially the youth, believe that they are deities lording over all others as a supreme being? Your intellect, however you measure and describe it, does not make you more important than any other person. Read More…