A couple of events this month burst my bubble of Barbados being a paradise. Up until this point there was nothing I didn’t love about this island and its people. I was left wondering, should I have signed up to be here another year? Then I watched the address that Mia Motley gave on the weekend.
She began by addressing vaccinations. “We are philosophically opposed to the mandating of vaccines. That is not who we are as a people,” she said. Barbados’ overriding objective is to keep the country safe, but equally to keep the country united. An island that has only 166 square miles cannot have serious divisions. Can any country afford to have serious divisions? Can any family afford to be divided?
I stopped listening to the news a long time ago; too overwhelmed during COVID and even before. I feel fairly sheltered on this island; although, people tell me stories from their home. The Americans relay that they have family members who won’t speak to the Trump supporters in the house (even though, we know this guy is no longer in power, right?). Canadian Thanksgiving is going to be tricky for families where some members are vaccinated, and others are exercising their right not to be.
Mia explained that Barbadians are used to this, sitting at a family table where there are Catholics, and Rastas and Agnostics, who do not always agree. I love living in a country where the Prime Ministers says, “What we must never do as a nation is so deprecate the views of each other is to stop listening to each other.”
I love that the people of this island respect Mia and consider her to be their representative voice. As Canada ramps up to an election in September, I wonder if Canadians can say the same for our potential representatives. Mia certainly hasn’t bought their favor; the island is near bankrupted by the previous government. She hasn’t used what she calls fancy language to win people and prefers to stick to “straight talk.”
“We is we” is what Mia says is the most powerful words in this country. I have divested my life, fit my daily belongings into two suitcases, and come to an island that validates that it is really that simple – we need to look after one another and we need to act together. “We must dig deep and understand who we are, what is our DNA, what makes Bajans tick.” OMG Mia, that is exactly what I am doing here. You are speaking directly to me!
I would highly recommend checking out Mia’s address. In typical Bajan fashion, they are late starting, and she doesn’t come on until minute 4. The best snippet is between minute 19 and 23. She also starts talking about Barbados as a Republic at minute 38. Moving the nation from a deep colonial past to an independent future, putting a Bajan as the head of state as President. She has given up her right as Prime Minister to unilaterally appoint this person and has taken it to both houses (Parliament and Senate). They are appointing Dame Sandra Mason, a woman. Bam! I love you Barbados.