A few weeks ago, the Daily Gleaner in Jamaica published a letter from me lamenting the latest squabbles and conflicts between Caribbean countries, specifically Barbados and Jamaica. I asked then and I ask now: Why do we Caribbean people quarrel and fight with each other so? Do we not have shared histories, heritages and origins as well as geographical closeness? Do we not look the same? While English, Spanish, French and Dutch are spoken in various territories, are there any truly significant differences between us?
While there are numerous areas of cooperation between Caribbean territories – the media (CMC, Sportsmax), trade (Caricom and OECS), education (University of the West Indies), to name a few – what of the people of the Caribbean? Is it not true that much of our isolationism comes from individual distrust and dislike of each other? Are we unaware of how similar we are because we just do not know each other?
With this apparent widespread ignorance in mind, I would like to invite Caribbean persons of both genders and every age, size, skin colour, religion and occupation to get to know other members of their Caribbean family.
They should be part of an email community which could be a starting place to breaking down the insular walls that divide us, where we can not only get each other’s views on all kinds of Caribbean matters, but eliminate the distrust and dislike by getting to know each other’s way of life and experiences in our particular country.
Let us face it: a unified Caribbean (not necessarily politically), presenting a united front and single purpose could reap tremendous economic, social and other benefits, helping us put the dark shared history of slavery behind us and positioning us as a ‘First World,’ not ‘Third World’ people.
What say you, Caribbean people of promise?