Even as Barbados struggles to overcome the abjectness of a recessionary period in which there has been no significant growth in its economy for the past four years, the people are still keen to overcome all those things that would have made life more difficult for them in 2012.
The vicissitudes of different political parties’ approaches to the governance of Barbados have certainly been contrasting and telling. In one sense, there used to be widespread prosperity and this seems replaced by a paucity that is now mostly reflected in those persons that are unemployed, underemployed, or for other reasons have become disengaged from contributing to national productivity.
In another sense, many individuals can ill-afford the purchases of some basic foods, gifts, and the pretty but simple things that brought meaningful signals of gratitude and appreciation. Companies, in general, are not issuing the much anticipated bonus because things have become increasingly difficult for them, and profits have been unforthcoming.
In spite of all the tough times, the resilience of Barbadians remains intact. At this time of the year, and as the Christmas spirit spreads, people still long to reach out and give. There is much more talk of peace and love. Barbadians are still wishing others the best for a holiday season that coincides with an uncertain tourist season.
In the neighbourhoods and communities, hampers are being prepared and delivered by those who are genuinely interested in spreading joy, and by those who are eager to hold opportunity and attention. The carolling is sweetened by the bright reds and green; and many Barbadians look forward to meeting, greeting, and entertaining others in selfless ways.
Traditionally, the Christmas season in Barbados is one for which many families and friends would display an amicableness and sense of sharing, although this hospitality is often taken-for-granted at other times of the year. The spread of joy and good cheer emanates from almost everyone and in almost every fashion imaginable.
In many homes across the island there will be the blinking of bright lights, the smell of baked ham and turkey, and the tables laid with dainties such as with jug-jug and nowadays the macaroni pie. There will be the thrill of dressing up in colourful frocks and resplendent suits for Christmas morning in the park. People’s smiles, the laughing children with their toys, and church-filled assemblies all in Christmas chorus, make replete the festive occasion celebrating Jesus’ birth.
Notwithstanding the traditions of merriment, several issues have plagued Barbados for an extended period of time since 2008, inclusive of questions concerning leadership and pragmatic decision-making. Within the context of the economy, the Christmas gift offered by Moody’s to the Government of Barbados is undesirable. Instead, the better gift and one that all Barbadians can appreciate is Rihanna’s gift of $3.5 million in equipment to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Worthy of serious consideration as Barbadians welcome their families and friends, some returning to Barbados for the first time in many years, is the plight of those failing to appreciate the Christmas spirit of charity and those unfortunately that will sit alone without family, friend, or even gift.
As Barbadians, let us challenge ourselves to donate the charity that Paul the Apostle so eruditely wrote about in I Corinthians 13. Paul wrote: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. … And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
The political discussions and debates will more than likely continue through the Christmas season. Persons will speak of their preferences, speak out against their discomforts, and will move closer to being able to frame in their minds the candidate that will best be able to deliver regarding their expectations.
Let us all remember that we are Barbadians and that we love this paradise of a country. Let us commit to sharing and spreading love and peace, let us inspire and bring renewed faith in God and hope in our people.
Things may remain difficult in Barbados, but let us dare ourselves to be the best that we can be. I urge all Barbadians to be charitable at this Christmas time and beyond. God bless this country Barbados, and wishing a very Merry Christmas to one and all.