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“Barbados youth comments on 50 more years”
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“Barbados youth comments on 50 more years”

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Lyn-Marie BlackmanBarbados has made significant gains since attaining independence in 1966, writes Lyn-Marie Blackman, 29, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Barbados. But with several societal, institutional and governance issues facing the island, where can it go from here?

Being a Commonwealth Correspondent has been an enriching and rewarding experience that I would not trade for anything.

My articles usually call for us falling under the Commonwealth umbrella to examine ourselves – past, present and future – to see whether our actions have helped to develop our countries in a positive way. This article does not intend to offend (although it might), but is really meant for Barbadian nationals and Commonwealth nationals to do some serious introspection of who we are and where we are going as a community.

Barbados, my beloved island, is celebrating 50 years of independence on November 30, 2016. This is a wonderful milestone that we have reached. The government has deployed BDS $7 million towards the effort, and a symbolic broken trident (part of our national flag) is making its way through all eleven parishes in the island.

As a Commonwealth Correspondent from Barbados, I will not paint a picture of a false bed of roses of what is happening here. Barbados is a beautiful island but at times, we can sully its beauty through the ways we interact with each other.

As a small open economy, Barbados has done well with the tourism sector. We have developed in a way that has made us the envy of our regional neighbours. Our educational system is superb, and we boast of a high literacy rate. Crime levels are relatively low and we pride ourselves on our human resources. However, is everything all right in Bim? From where I stand as a young individual, I reckon no.

Free university education in Barbados ended in 2014, and now comes at a much higher cost to Barbadian students. The health care system has deep-seated administrative issues. The government has sent home approximately 3000 employees, resulting in further unemployment in the island. Additionally, we have divisions among ethnicities, which become even more evident in the disparities in business ownership and management.

Many of our youth feel that turning to crime and other anti-social behaviour is the easiest way to make a living, while many government employees do not value their jobs. In fact, the public sector is plagued by low productivity levels. One has to watch individuals gaining employment based on nepotism rather than drive, talent and visionary capabilities. This brings tears to my eyes as a youth living here.

From 1966-2016, the first 50 years, our governments have done marvellous work for the country and we must continue to applaud their valiant efforts, but we can do so much better than we are at the moment. From 2016-2066 – 50 more years – what is the transformation we need to see?

Let’s have a celebration on November 30th, but come December 1st, should we go back to the status quo of passivity and nonchalance? Or do we challenge the status quo by realising that this is our home, and acknowledge that in order for the home to be fully functional, its occupants must be united in vision and mission?

photo credit: 50 via photopin (license)

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About me: I am a conservative and articulate individual with an innate desire to see love, peace and unity triumph. My interests lie in medical research. I enjoy researching medical news from around the world and reporting it in my monthly newsletter entitled L.I.F.E.

I love biomedical science and believe it holds the key to a healthier society. I aspire to become a medical researcher and writer. My focus now is obtaining more exposure for my newsletters: L.I.F.E. and The Believer.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/
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