“God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

My last two columns were entitled “Staying young at heart” and “In time to come”. There has been some interesting geographically diverse feedback which is very gratifying and which I would like to share with readers.

Staying young at heart

Cyprus: “Thank you for the inspiring article as a friend and collaborator in Smart Partnership thinking and action, about staying and feeling young. A very well written article that helps. I fully agree with the simple but all embracing advice of feeling young: ‘smile, sing, exercise, think positively and have a goal’. Having said that, I should add that occasionally I am tempted to feel and think what George Bernard Shaw once remarked: ‘It is a pity that youth is wasted on the young!”’

Guyana: “Having just attained the biblical three score years and 10, your brilliant piece based on Milton’s poem has resonance with me. I endorse your philosophical approach to life and I do hope your column will be read by all those elders who need a boost to rediscover themselves. Hope all is well with you my friend.”

In time to come

Canada – “I am working on your charge to foster national efficiency and Caribbean unity.”

Trinidad and Tobago: (1) “My history lesson for today. Great Stuff.”; and (2) “Brilliant my boy! This is your heart felt opinion and it is authentic!”

St. Lucia: “Thanks for this information and you were right on the money with your theme in time to come, because it is always the hope of the people, talking of the common man that we will unite and work together to achieve. So the hope is alive and we must keep dreaming big because we all have a part to play in that anticipated change. Thanks again very well written article.”

Spain: “Political Parties are private gangs…(no formal structure) whose business activities rely on leaving things exactly as they are…Here is a thought…push for the removal of Political Parties from Cabinet, and replacing them with representatives from strategically designed NGOs who will separately determine its own length of term and conditions for recall of representatives. Barbadians can join the NGOs that they are passionate about and have a say in who the representatives will be. Accomplish that, and any development plans and collaborations would have a far better chance of moving forward.”

Belgium: “Thank you very much. I entirely share what you write and find it sad that the Caribbean countries are not able to work together more often. But men are good at making easy things difficult for the sake of their…egos. So, we need to live with what we have. But, as you say, let us hope that things will change one day. I have seen apartheid go in South Africa, I have seen a black President in the US, therefore with the help of God we might see political and economic changes come to the Caribbean one day.”

Barbados: (1) “Excellent proposals. Without unity in our countries we will go nowhere”; (2) “I read your article and I think that your recommendations, if accepted would have made a tremendous difference. Each estate in the governance system has its distinct role to play and it is made easier if Government has the will to pull them all together towards the overall good of the entire community. Hopefully, your article would be read by those in authority; (3) “Profound Brother B…nice article! The unity must ‘come’, lest we all perish!”

(4) “It seems as if the Springer family has been at the epicentre of change in Barbados and the wider Caribbean. I know about Rt. Excellent Sir Hugh and I have heard much about Chris, your other uncle who has been described as a Math genius. But I only knew of Charles Springer in his role as a Magistrate. Were he still alive, many historians would have been happy to question him regarding Sir Grantley’s Prime Ministership of the Federation and his relationship with Dr. Eric Williams and Norman Manley. My only interaction with your dad was in the Magistrate’s Court in relation to a traffic indiscretion. I believe he read the dread on my face and he let me off, smiling as he spoke. Thanks for the article.”

Thank you all for responding, much food for thought!

The Caribbean is at the crossroads. In the absence of a regional government, each country is fending for itself with lip service being paid to a regional agenda. Cricket, the University of the West Indies and tourism are three examples where the region has made its presence felt in the international arena.

The More Developed Caribbean Countries have not led as expected. Jamaica is geographically diverse and has gained international respect in reggae and track and field. Trinidad and Tobago is relatively oil rich and known for its steel band, calypso, carnival and is culturally diverse. Guyana should have been the bread basket of the Caribbean.

Barbados has traditionally been an exemplar in governance but is now falling in grace. Oh, if we could only find a way of combining these features with the unique characteristics of the Less Developed countries of the Caribbean.

Today is election day in Trinidad and Tobago. Will the outcome of this election provide a ray of hope, maybe to design a framework to create synergy in the Caribbean Basin?

Let us trust in God so that we can build the confidence that is necessary to clear the obstacles that are in the way as we continue our quest for Caribbean unity.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)