“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12.
The family is widely recognized as the fundamental building block of society.
As I contemplate my own family, considering our lineage, life experiences, and the legacy we leave behind, I feel compelled to share portions of our story. I do so with humility and a sincere desire to inspire others and benefit future generations.
Some 30 years ago, after my second visit to Singapore, I returned home and penned a letter to the editor of the Barbados Advocate entitled “Barbados: the Singapore of the Caribbean”.
That letter was the catalyst for a weekly series of articles that continues to this day and covers a diverse range of business topics. By the grace of God, it will soon evolve into an audio version, leveraging the power of social media to reach an even larger audience.
Our family lineage features richness on both sides, stemming from my Barbadian grandparents’ families – the Springers/Barrows and the Coziers/Clarkes. These roots, coupled with my wife Kean’s Caribbean cultural, musical, and literary diversity, yielded three children who ventured into different careers.
Karen pursued a career in medicine, specializing in public health and epidemiology. She now serves as a medical advisor for her brother Bevan’s communications company, which is based in the United States. Kevin followed his interest in the aviation industry, rising to the rank of Airbus (A380) captain with Emirates Airlines in Dubai. He has since found a new home with Caribbean Airlines in Barbados. Lastly, Bevan has become an accomplished public relations, communications and marketing advisor, primarily in the travel and tourism industry.
Bevan made a significant impact at the 1994 United Nations Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Barbados in 1994, where the late Dame Nita Barrow, then Governor General of Barbados, served as the patron. The conference, which was a direct outcome of the influential UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, elevated Barbados’ global profile, and resulted in the creation of the Barbados Program of Action which set the global agenda for the sustainable development of SIDS.
The program addressed capital inequity, climate change, and sustainable tourism, empowering islanders to to be shapers, not takers, of their destiny, a cry recently sounded by Prime Minister Mia Mottley during CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace 41 in Barbados.
At the age of 22, Bevan played a pivotal role as the conference editor of The Islander, an official conference newspaper published by the Barbados Advocate. Today, he spearheads Marketplace Excellence (MPE) and the nonprofit Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx), organizations that have introduced groundbreaking communications products and services. These initiatives embody the goals set forth in the 1994 Barbados Program of Action.
Effective communication of the conference’s outcomes was essential for islands separated by vast distances and continents, which is why “The Islander” newspaper played a crucial role.
In tandem with the SIDS conference, the late Dr. Colin Hudson, supported by Dame Nita, created the “Village of Hope”. This unique space aimed to promote sustainable development. The overwhelming success of the village led to the establishment of a permanent exhibition site by the Future Centre Trust. Driven by Dr. Hudson’s visionary guidance, I had the privilege of serving as the first chairman of this Trust. Together with a team of dedicated trustees, we pioneered the Future Centre model.
Following my retirement as chairman, Vivian-Anne Gittens assumed the leadership of the Trust. More recently, Barney Gibbs has taken up the mantle, leading an extraordinary project known as the Barbados Trailway. This transformative initiative aims to repurpose the old Barbados Railway reserve, which operated from 1881 to 1937, into an accessible pathway for pedestrians, runners, roller skaters and cyclists. It has the potential to become a sustainable and enticing tourism attraction.
As each of us traces the line of decisions, actions and events of import in our lives and communities, we begin to see and confirm that the power and influence of the family unit in shaping society cannot be understated.
Reflecting on my own family’s journey, I am grateful to be able to share some of our stories, with the hope of inspiring my readers to become agents of positive change, shaping their own destinies and leaving their own lasting legacy for future generations.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is email@example.com. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com).