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ONE CARIBBEAN PEOPLE

We are one Caribbean people. It does not matter in which West Indian island we were born, be it Cuba, Antigua, Nevis or St. Vincent, we are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Photo: Internet Source
By Lorna M. George

We are one Caribbean people. It does not matter in which West Indian island we were born, be it Cuba, Antigua, Nevis or St. Vincent, we are brothers and sisters in the Lord. We share a common heritage.

Our ancestors came to the West Indies packed like sardines in the bowels of slave ships to work on the sugar plantations. Our past links us together as one. It does not matter whether we are Kittians, Barbadians, Dominicans, or Virgin Islanders; we are all island people whether you are from up island or down island. 

In 1981 when I enrolled during the fall semester as a medical technology student at Tuskegee University, USA, I was elected by the other International students as the secretary to the International Student Association.

I felt honoured by the confidence that the other International students placed in me. The President and the Treasurer were from Guyana, the Vice President was from Nigeria, and the least among the group, Lorna M. George from the British Virgin Islands.

Brothers and sisters looking down their noses would say, I was truly humbled and did not take my position lightly.  I vowed to serve to the best of my ability.  I loved all the International students dearly.  We were a family.  I cared for all of them.  Each one held a special place in my heart.  As leaders, we looked out for the welfare of the International students and helped them to adjust to college life.  I stood in solidarity with all International students as we faced discrimination and ridicule on every level on a Black University Campus.  This was a culture shock.

Our Black American brothers and sisters look down their noses on International students. The African students complained that the Black American students would throw soaps at their doors.  This was a way of telling the Africans that they were smelling stink and needed to bathe their skins.  What an awful thing to do.  How cruel can we get?  These were the kind of complaints that I was bombarded with on a daily basis.

I encouraged my International students to turn a blind eye to the ignorance of our sick brothers and sisters.  I carried the burdens of the International students in my heart. During my nightly prayers, I prayed and wept for my International student family. I prayed daily that God would help us to succeed, although the rejection and adversity we faced daily.  I told my fellow students to put their trust and faith in God and nothing could conquer our spirit.  Our only ambition was to get our university degrees; nothing else mattered.

Today, I feel very sad for my country of the British Virgin Islands. Our behaviour toward our other Caribbean brothers and sisters is pitiful, if not shameful.  This results from a lack of knowledge. We Call ourselves a Christian community, but we lack the love of God in our hearts. Many British Virgin Islanders look down their noses on our other Caribbean brothers and sisters.  Such behaviour is despicable and an abomination to God who created us in his own image and likeness.  In this so-call Christian Society, hearts are not transformed by the power of love. We are spiritually blind.

John Newton, who wrote the world’s most famous hymn,”Amazing Grace How Sweet The Sound That Saved A Wretch Like Me”,  was still involved in the Slave Trade after he was converted to Christianity. It is recorded that while he was in his cabin reading his Holy Bible, he had human cargo in his slave ship transporting to the Caribbean. 

Didn’t John Newton know that slavery was wrong?  The hate, evil and bitterness that we British Virgin Islanders have in our hearts against our Caribbean brothers and sisters have blinded our spiritual eyes. We need to learn to forgive and forget.  We must stoop to conquer! I pray God to have mercy upon.

May I remind you that Frederick Douglass lived to see the pendulum of slavery swing from one extreme to another. During segregation in the United States, a Black person could not be buried in the same graveyard with White people. Black soldiers who fought on the same battle line with White soldiers were buried in separate graveyards when they came to America. Can you imagine that?

God rose up Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., a Black man whom he used to open the eyes of our sick White brothers and sisters.  If God can do that, surely he can help us here in the British Virgin Islands.  I thank God for the opportunity given to me to serve as the International Student Secretary. For that experience has truly opened my spiritual eyes to the fundamental fact that all Caribbean people are one.  We share a common past and we share a common destiny.

5 Responses to “ONE CARIBBEAN PEOPLE”

  • 1 (04/01/2019, 18:58) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    another good read
  • Comment (04/01/2019, 21:54) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ms. George,

    I understand that everyone is equal in God’s eyes, this is not to be disputed, but I believe that this battle is not about nationalism and racism.

    This battle is about keeping control of one’s house, keeping one’s house in order, one’s nation, one’s heritage, and about securing one’s offspring’s inheritance. This is something that the Lord Himself stood beside His people for.

    Your article is a bit one sided. For one, there are many nations throughout the world that downgrade immigrants, as you mentioned the Americans and the Virgin Islanders but let us add our sister Islands of the Caribbean to the list because they too share this sinful behavior. I am sure that many residents of the BVI who lived on near and distant shores can tell a story or two about name calling and bad treatment of immigrants in their countries of origin. Is any of this correct? Not at all, but it is human nature and grounded in fear of loosing control over something or someone.

    What we must remember is that humans are humans. We are all filled with sin. We love to control, and to control especially our homes. Be it America, St. Kitts, the Virgin Islands etc. In fact, we would love to control our neighbor’s homes as well, ‘if we could’. That’s human nature too! But do our neighbors allow us too?? ’Not without a war on our hands.’

    The last revolt in the Virgin Islands was caused by Europeans attempting to govern the financial system of free Africans of the BVI. The people felt out of control in their own country and fought to gain control to feed their families.

    This is my concern...Question? Throughout history have you ever read about a nation giving control of the governance of their homeland/nation to a foreign entity without bloodshed?

    This too is human nature, and no human rights article can stop this turn of events. Only God Himself can.

    I would say...pray for the people living in the territory ‘all of us’ because the political climate is heated and we do not wish for history to repeat itself. The two pillars that are the strength of our economy each sustains us all, but they each will fall if a civil war begins over governance and control of these lands. This will cause much more devastation than the two hurricanes of 2017.

    Only prayer can help us all. This is ‘why’ the BVI is coined a Christian Nation, it is the wisdom of God that sustains us and with His help we Christians ‘who are called and chosen’ will live through any future devastations and become more refined by it.

    And yes we all do share a common destiny... we are Givers. All of our ancestors have given their strength, and lives to ensure that their offsprings could have a life of freedom and self-control one day...and none were foolish givers.

    Because of their sacrifice we live, and enjoy our Caribbean isles and we have inherited something fantastically priceless to pass on to our offsprings.

    BVIslanders should cherish this legacy, and preserve their birthright for their children as their Caribbean brothers and sisters who continue to call their beautiful Caribbean isles home continue to doing.

    -In these times we should all pray for God’s nature to guide us with wisdom and not human nature which can be destructive!
  • So true (05/01/2019, 14:30) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with you wholeheartedly. It is not about treating anybody badly. It is about the level of respect and the quality of persons entering the BVI. Many come here with preconceived notions about BVIslanders and are filled with so much hate. I am a mixed breed of BVIslander and Kittian and my father would never behave or treat anyone here the way these folks behave on arrival. There is also the need to protect your own. We are the minority in our country. Our ancestors fought for us, BVIslanders to enjoy the BVI, just like their ancestors fought for St.Kitts, Jamaica, St.Lucia, etcetera. If you don't like it here or the people here leave, don't say we are evil. Evil people are everywhere. Good people are everywhere. Have an open mind, and stop being negative.
  • @so true (05/01/2019, 18:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Soooo true!
  • Nationalist (07/01/2019, 11:04) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    While I love and respect the author of the piece and agree that we are in fact one people, our lives and the way be think and behave could not be more different than theirs. We tend to be very generous and kind hearted towards everyone who comes to the BVI to make it their home but the truth of the matters is that some come for one thing only which is to make money, thus care very little about the people of the BVI and their culture and way of life. As one commenter said we are a minority as is right now and it will continue based on the trend. That’s why I am against giving citizenship to anyone born in the BVI not of indigenous BVI parentage. It’s not about disliking anyone. moreover, it’s about protecting what’s ours as indigenous BVIslanders.


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