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We shall overcome

When I first thought about writing a to plan our strategy for the turnaround of

historical novel based in Barbados, I had wanted to focus on the business aspect of Barbados and the fact that, in spite of being such a small island, it was the wealthiest and most influential colony by the end of the 17th century. However, after realizing that much of the wealth of the nation was built on the backs of the slaves and indentured servants, I decided to change the theme

of my book and focused instead on the relationships that existed in that day.

Yet, in spite of the way that Barbados became rich, I still have to admire the persistence and resilience of the people of the island – planters and slaves. The hardship we are experiencing today seems to pale in comparison with what they endured from the beginning of colonization.

From the threat of war and civil war, to fires, plagues, drought, hurricanes, disease, crop failures, taxes on sugar exports and social unrest, Barbados was afflicted with just about every issue that a society could face. Still, in spite of these severe challenges Barbadians, planters and slaves, survived and made Barbados into one of the most successful English colonies at that time.

That gives me hope for our situation today. Yes, we are faced with uncertainty about the economy and the value of our dollar and we have concerns about the level of our foreign reserves and about the level of crime and violence in our nation, but in spite of all these things I am convinced that we shall overcome and that Barbados will rise again because there is a destiny on this island and nothing will stop it from being fulfilled.

So now that we are at the top of the year, let us put off the tiredness and the pessimism lingering from last year and begin

Barbados. What can you do on your job, in your business, in your life to help the nation?

It may be something as simple as buying more local produce. Every day in the supermarket we are tempted with imported foods that are draining our foreign reserves, while if we would give the local food a try, we may find that it is often as good as our better than what we pay premium prices for. This is a message to myself as well.

There are a number of people who can afford to take more than one holiday abroad during the year, but I implore them to consider taking a Staycation at one of our luxury hotels if they feel the need to spend $30,000 on a holiday. Think what that would do to boost local businesses, although the luxury hotels are probably not feeling the pinch as much as the smaller hotels.

Stop putting off that book you’ve been planning to write or that business you’ve been thinking about starting and consider how you can earn foreign exchange or encourage investment through these means. We can’t sit around waiting for the axe

to fall; we have to begin to think of ways to stay the hand wielding the axe and that includes Government.

A 30 per cent pay cut would not be palatable to anyone, let’s be realistic; but many people have taken at least ten per cent. We all need to share the sacrifice; it can’t be one set of rules for the private sector and another for the public sector, and ministers in particular.

One of our family members, who is a doctor mind you, was thrilled to tell us over Christmas that she had reaped her first set of sweet potatoes that she had planted. My

husband has herbs planted in barrels and is planning to plant eggplants again. Growing your own food in a small kitchen garden takes very little effort and can save some dollars from the food bill.

TV and the computer are wonderful escapes from reality, but reading a book (even on Kindle) or spending time outside cultivating a kitchen garden can save some of the electricity charges. These are not huge things, but if we begin to think differently and work on the small things, I believe it will make it easier to handle the bigger issues.

Once we all agree to work together and do our part to bring our nation through this

crisis, including praying, I am confident, that as our ancestors overcame the difficulties that they endured, we too shall overcome.

(Donna Every is the business advisor and managing director of Arise Consulting Inc. and is the author of six books. Her latest novel The Price Of Freedom is now available on the Amazon Kindle store.


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