Well, 2015 has begun, and the New Year has followed on where the Old left us with matters of grave concern for the society, governance and economy of Barbados.
There is news of Sagicor relocating its parent company headquarters to another country, continued gun and domestic violence, and the possibility of further layoffs in the Public Service. Many people were also vocal about the non-appearance of the Prime Minister of Barbados at a meeting to select a CARICOM nominee for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General.
Throw all of this together with a rumoured Cabinet reshuffle, and we can already see that 2015 will be labelled anything but boring and uneventuful.
I am of the opinion that with the fast approaching two-year anniversary of the Democratic Labour Party Government’s second term, and basically the halfway benchmark of the said second term, that it is time for a speech.
It need not be as epic and nationally defining as the late Right Excellent Errol W. Barrow’s Mirror Image, or as uniting and inspiring of faith as the late Right Honourable David Thompson’s final address encouraging us to wrap ourselves in the National Flag, but this is a time when a speech woud be desirable. Moses, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama have all altered positions of adversity, and rallying people together to effect change.
People respond to stimulus, and, as shown, oratory has achieved great things, even in uniting the slaves of Saint-Domingue to winning a battle and claiming independence against the very powerful French, their European colonial masters at the time.
It is hoped that some rally, whether national, partisan, or even religious, could be given by someone who will ignite the fire and passion within Barbadians once again, replacing what feels like attitudes of hopelessness and despair, akin to a dead relationship or starting a fire amongst soggy, wet leaves. I crave a speech!
I crave a speech in which instead of the usual excuses given, realistic projections are offered; a speech where we are reminded what it is to be Bajan and how we always have and always will continue to overcome.
I crave a speech in which the Government of Barbados will commit to not continually intervening in private matters because the media cover it; to not seeking the manipulate said media –– and, if there must be Government intervention, that it is not costly through inquiries and the hiring of consultants to tell us what we already know should result.
I crave a speech to the youth asking those involved to halt the violence, to be positive forces and to understand that they have not been and will never be forgotten.
I crave a speech showing that rather than waiting on our usual foreign exchange gaining measures such as tourism and investment, we will effectively reduce food and energy costs and aggressively seek other methods to earn foreign exchange, and to sensibly pool together with CARICOM nations to reduce costs in procuring goods and services –– and that said gains and benefits be passed on to the consumer.
I crave a speech out of which market access and projections evolve into “market presence” and “work in progress”, and where our eloquent rhetoric is supplemented by the tangible asset of affirmative action.
I crave a speech on faith and a return to positive principles and values, regardless of religion, as these have guided and will continue to guide us past 300 years into the 400th year, where all people will respect and have tolerance for each other, as opposed to general fear of the unknown and to ignorance.
Finally, I crave a speech in which all of us are encouraged to dig the foundation to begin the process of rebuilding our nation; in which all negativity is dismissed and Barbados continues on its destiny as the most progressive “black” nation in the Western Hemisphere well into the 21st century.
After all, The Bible tells us in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes from hearing”.
Am I the only one who craves such a speech?
(Rommel St Hill is senior legal officer in the Legal and Institutional Framework of the Caribbean Community Secretariat.)