Barbadians still want to hold on to their traditional community values, even though many have now adopted an ‘American’ way of life, according to the findings of a national values assessment survey.
The research, which canvassed over 1100 views, was carried out by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) on behalf of the Government of Barbados.
SALISES Director Don Marshall presented the first copy of the report to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart during a ceremony at Ilaro Court last night, ahead of the September 26 official launch of the report.
In providing what he termed “a sneak insight” into the document, Marshall said “there is strong evidence that we’re driven to an American manner of society, but there is also a hankering for a return to some ideas of the politics of the common good, [of] looking out for your brother and your sister.
“Those values oriented around the promotion of the common good seem to trump the crass individualism that is revealed in the comments that [are] written and from the interviews that we had,” the political scientist added.
During the launch of the island’s year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of independence last year, the Prime Minister had posed three questions for reflection by the average Barbadian.
These are: “What features of Barbadian life have we lost that we need to reclaim?; What features of Barbadian life have we not lost that we need to retain?; and What features of Barbadian life we have not lost that we need to discard as quickly as possible?”
Marshall said that Stuart’s three questions provided the context of his team’s research, which revealed a strong national sentiment among Barbadians.
“There wasn’t any single returning form where the [respondents] stuck to the five, six, seven lines that were on the paper. They would turn the back and continue to write.
“People care about Barbados, they care about where Barbados is going. Some have nostalgic views about Barbados, some also labour with retrospective illusions. That is to say they imagine Barbados the way it never was.
“Nonetheless there was a sense in which people felt they had to cogitate, reflect and write about what they feel are the values that we need to retain, and the values that we need to drop,” he added.