To thrive is to be more than brave!
Without a smithereen of doubt, we as a nation and as individuals must continue to count our blessings –– however large or small, and in spite of all the economic woes we may be weighed down with. Gratitude for small mercies is no commission of a crime.
And while we cannot help but agree with our Prime Minister Freundel Stuart that our Barbados enjoys no “special dispensation under the laws of international economics” and is unlikely to escape the jolting end result of any global financial upheaval, we aver that we still have to stand actively on our proverbial two feet and do what is sensibly required and essential to our very survival –– and that of our progeny.
Yes, by all means, let us acknowledge and be thankful for our assets and our treasures –– all of us together –– but let us not be incognizant and dismissive of our jinxes and scourges. Our blessings we must embrace; and our curses, exorcize!
We fear that without the metaphorical exorcism, this economic adversity and inertia we are now faced with will be for more than Mr Stuart’s “moment in time” –– no mistake about it –– spelling a virtual ingress or pathway to an “eternity”, the possibility of which the Prime Minister would rather not have us consider.
We are not unobservant of our Prime Minister’s coolness, calm and serenity (God knows we need such composure and placidity in times like these), but we require, as well, some accompanying personification of urgency and action –– of the timbre of “shock and awe”. And it is not outside the competency and will of the Barbadian spirit, whose much touted resilience the Prime Minister himself alludes to.
And, yes again, we agree with Mr Stuart that “history does not unfold in a straight line” and that “there are ups and downs”; but when the lines are crooked, we do not let them remain such; we straighten them. And, when we are knocked down, we pull ourselves back up by our bootstraps. Our renowned reputation for resilience has not come from enduring the pain –– not even for “a moment in time”. Our intestinal fortitude has always been manifested in relieving the ache itself.
We can only continue to boast of having the ability to turn our current economic strain around by actually doing it. Our employment of philosophy and supplication by themselves will not.
We are not suggesting, of course, that “panic-stricken, hurry and worry” solutions –– to which the Prime Minister has an aversion –– are a worthy breakout from the economic fetters that restrain us. We believe the point needs to be made that while we may pat ourselves on the back for a limberness and successful effectiveness in the process and advancement of political and social issues of the past, we seem today at a standstill, not getting very far forward with the challenges confronting us.
It is not enough that we as “a resilient people” must commit ourselves to “always exhibiting an exemplary strength of character and indomitable courage” ostensibly to no avail. It is not advisable that we should boldly perish in the face of the tests that not beset us on the strength of memories of successes of the past.
We need to take charge!
It would be unreasonable to expect the Stuart administration to solve all of our societal problems in one fell swoop before Christmas; but the critical ones at the top of the list could be addressed –– and should be! We cannot resist placing health care and national sanitation up there.
In respect of the still ubiquitous large mounds of uncollected garbage that are a breeding ground for flies and rats, we ask: why are our powers that be exposing us to a possible epidemic of dysentery, salmonella, typhoid, tuberculosis and leptospirosis –– a people already crippled by chikungunya and paranoid about Ebola?
We really do need a reformation in thinking of our national hygiene and health care. We have been fortunate to live in a nation where health care was considered paramount. Not so any more, it seems.
We cannot risk frustrating our skilled and dedicated physicians and nurses through unavailability of proper medical equipment and necessary effective medications at our Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The health of our nation is cardinal.
We may all begin with this. The litterbugs ought to be punished; and so too those responsible for our garbage collection mess-up. Our QEH and polyclinic sustainability must obtain –– aided and abetted by a greater contribution from us nationals by living healthier lives ourselves.
There are responsibilities we all have –– Government and people –– which we must carry out, no matter what! Such execution, and such alone, will determine if we are truly still made of the mettle we constantly boast.
We are reminded of the American writer and futurist Jamais Cascio’s observation that “resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected” and that “the goal of resilience is to thrive”.