Recently I went into a manufacturing concern here in Barbados to make some enquiries about an item. On my way out I said to one of the three persons in the multi-level display area: “There seems to be fewer people here than the last time I visited.”
“Of the 72 staff members 35 have been sent home,” he replied.
That is the face of unemployment, neither a statistic nor a percentage, but human beings out of work. We must together begin to confront this problem.
Before continuing to write I stopped to pray to the Father for His divine love and for wisdom. We all need more of His love and His wisdom if we are to traverse more difficult times in the future than we have had to date. Yes, times will be different as every large country or block of countries face greater turbulent economic, social, political and food supply times; Barbados will be no exception.
With this country facing elections, probably within a few months, now is perhaps not the right time to ask for a joint response to our troubled times. If I could have asked for a joint meeting of the minds, here are some of the things which I would suggest might possibly make Barbados a unique destination.
With the advent of the deep water harbour intermediary ship-to-shore transport, the lighter, became obsolete. These vessels may be described as human propelled barges. I don’t believe that we had the foresight to maintain at least one such boat so what I am proposing will require research and reconstruction before action.
Let us build at least two or more lighters and create progressively, bi-annually, a Barbados Lighterman Challenge, a Regional Challenge then a World Lighterman Challenge. The rowing challenge will be over distance and time. The vessels may be empty or weighted up to, say, 400 kg. The crew sizes will be from two to six. I can see off Brighton and Brownes Beach as main contest areas. Of course the lighters can be towed to other areas for fun contests.
How many countries still have headquarters which housed commanding British generals set in a recreation park? The stables could have different replicas of saddlery used by the cavalry over the centuries. The theatre could have video loops of the infantry and cavalry “in action/on parade” drawn from archives around the world.
One fee would cover the stables, theatre and the area which has sometimes housed a restaurant. In this area would be alcoves with busts, cast of clay and appropriately painted, of as many commanding officers we could find from inception of the headquarters through the Barbados Regiment to the Defence Force. Samples of local food could also be offered. The tour guides, male and female, could also be ‘period dressed’ variously from boots to brocade or from sweeping to mini skirts. Visiting the art gallery would be free.
An interesting touch would be to have rotating actors dressed as the Queen’s Park Commanding Officer. There might even be the changing of the guard by fellow actors. A visit to Queen’s Park would be part of the City heritage tour.
Many people are fascinated by the military.
Codrington College has many memories for me, first as a scout camp and second as the residence of a number of training courses for Caribbean media personnel called “Communicarib”, which I had the honour to lead between 1974 and 1981. The college is, uniquely, the earliest institute of higher learning in the English speaking Caribbean to offer degree courses over several decades.
The scout camp saw us learn how to boil eggs, to use an outdoor latrine, to put a suspected broken leg in a splint, to dig a trench around the tent to direct the rain water away, to deal with centipedes and to swim in the enclosed pool which had constant flowing spring water. Much of the camp ground is now covered in bush.
The reinvigorated college could become an Institute of Higher Level Thinking. This would require new dormitories, conference facilities, library, kitchen, dining hall and the like.
A more immediate restoration could be the rebuilding of that spring-fed pool, place in it large versions of the energy emitting devices now worn by many people and offer to soak feet for ten minutes of spring-fed energy water or some such. The run off can be used for irrigating tree crops.
The student chapel could become a Chapel of Miracles; not because we promise you miracles, but we offer you a quiet space to pray for a miracle in your life. Only the Father can grant you a miracle.
On the lawn we can marry lawn tennis with road tennis to create Paddle Lawn Tennis. Codrington College has endless possibilities.
Of course, I like many others, have many more ideas but what I want to suggest is that we engage the young people in the process of change. I am asking all young people, either independently or in groups, to come up with a single suggestion which makes Barbados unique in the world. Describe your ideas in writing and send it to me.
One thing which will surely make Barbados unique is if we all prayed sincerely for the Divine Love of God to permeate our souls. Try it you will like it. That will surely take us well beyond 2020.
— Michael Rudder