Barbados is enjoying a season of goodwill and best wishes from the indigenous British people in the UK. Barbados TODAY spoke to some of them and they have expressed a belief that the country will return to its former glory. In some cases, they have been visitors for over 40 years and intend to return to the island for the foreseeable future.
Mr Trevor Robinson
I met with Mr Trevor Robinson, a retired solicitor who considers Barbados to be his second home. The retiree can be seen many times a year at his home at Port St Charles in St Peter and says he is at his most relaxed whenever he visits the island.
However, Mr Robinson is not content merely to lap up the sun and sea. His love for the island and its people extends to helping the islanders whenever he is able to do so. He has constantly been engaged in projects in efforts to satisfy his charitable nature.
The solicitor’s record of selfless service to the island is pretty impressive and has been spread over many years without the glare of publicity. Over 20 years ago, he co-founded the Barbados Ships Registry. Situated in London, it has served as a station for the international registration of ships and has been an unmitigated success in its drive to get high quality ships of all descriptions to fly the Barbados Flag across the oceans of the world. He has since turned the management and ownership over to a Barbadian who resides on the island.
Mr Robinson continued his involvement with the island by other means and was known to contribute unselfishly to a great number of causes. The donation of many computers to individuals and organizations has given him great satisfaction and the erection of children’s sports facilities at some playing fields has also added to his sense of ‘giving back to the community’.
As we spoke over the proverbial English cup of tea, I asked about his connection with and affiliation to the island and also if there were any plans that could be made public.
Mr Robinson said he had always felt close to the island and its people and that he always promised that he would help if ever able to do so. Moving forward, he added that he was saddened when a young boy drowned near his home a few years ago, probably because he could not swim. He therefore decided to set up a structured programme to teach people, particularly the young, to swim.
The lessons are sponsored by him and therefore costs nothing to the learner. Mr Robinson said: “Many months ago the classes started under supervision at Six Men’s Bay and the response was fantastic. I have therefore been encouraged and will continue to do them. We have so far completed the training and competence programmes for some 250 persons and plans are now being put in place to start the next phase.” This and other gestures of benevolence are credits to the self-effacing Yorkshireman and he would only say when pressed that he hopes other non-residents will join him in funding such projects on the island.
Barbados truly has a friend it can count on at this time.
Mr Roger Manners
Another Britisher from the south of England who has been a regular visitor to the island is Mr Roger Manners. Mr Manners has been travelling to the island since 1976 and appears to have fallen in love with Barbados. He did not exactly use a pin to choose his destination when he first visited but he is overjoyed that he chose the island. Many warm memories have encouraged him to relocate but in the end, circumstances might dictate otherwise. He says he is deeply passionate about the country and would like to put things in place to promote a sense of entrepreneurship particularly with the young people and in the fields of agriculture and cooking.
However, he said his immediate project is to produce a TV programme Islandish which would showcase the culinary skills of Caribbean celebrities from all over the Caribbean. Mr Manners added that the concept of the programme is to provide benefits to charities whilst promoting the emergence of Caribbean culinary skills and arts to the world.
But I wondered what would be the actual and residual benefits for the region, would it merely be just another TV Cookery programme? Mr Manners was quick to counter that the benefits could be multifold. He said: “As the programmes would be filmed in the Caribbean, the exposure for the region would be unquantifiable through the publicity in press, social media, TV and radio.” He added that he also saw this as an opportunity for the celebrities to mount a campaign to encourage local farmers to increase their production. While he accepted that it would take some time to realize, he said that is no reason it should not be started. Mr Manners said he is seeking funding initially for a pilot episode of the TV programme and that he has spoken to some interested parties.
The boundaries of Mr Manner’s ambitions appear limitless and he has joined with Barbados resident Mr Rahmat Jn-Pierre who is well known in the region for his work in film and TV. He said their partnership was founded in collaboration of their work on Islandish and Rahmat came up with the programme’s concept. The partnership is pitching to cover many areas, particularly in sport, education and agriculture.
Of prime interest is their commitment to work with young entrepreneurs to show them the ropes as they seek to grow their businesses. Mr Manners also detects a need to deal with 14-16-year-olds and will offer a mentorship programme which initially will be dealt with on a one-to-one basis. He foresees a position when he and Mr Jn-Pierre will conduct these programmes in groups of 20.
Mr Manners appears committed to working with Barbadians at all levels and says there are many plans in the pipeline. However, he knows that his projects will take time to come to fruition.
Another friend of Barbados is waiting in the wings.
Vincent ‘Boo’ Nurse is a Barbadian living in London who is a retired Land Revenue Manager, Pensions and Investment Adviser. He is passionate about the development of his island home and the disapora.