As I sit to reflect on all that is happening throughout the region: economic uncertainty, political upheavals, increase in domestic violence and abuse towards children, increases in violence and crime towards fellow citizens and visitors alike, I see so many opportunities for us as citizens of the region to transform our societies.
In times of crisis, there are two paths which we can take. We can either take the path toward hopelessness or the path toward opportunity. On the path of hopelessness, we worry, complain and become frustrated. However, on the path of opportunity, we meet fulfillment, success, and joy. Doesn’t the path toward opportunity sound so much better?!
It is easier to sit and complain about all that we believe is not going well. We can talk incessantly about what our leaders are not doing and what we think they should do and after we have exhausted the conversation, we throw our hands up and say things like, ‘That’s the system’ or ‘What else can you do?’. There is a famous saying ‘Be The change You Want To See’. Being from Barbados, I constantly hear these kinds of statements being made especially now as the country faces many challenges including job cuts, wage freezes and growing youth unemployment. These kinds of oppositions are also occurring in many islands in the Caribbean. The question many are asking in these times is “What can be done?” It may seem hopeless on the surface but I hope to challenge that notion a bit.
“Crisis gives us an opportunity to tap into that part of ourselves we never would have…”
In economic turmoil, we can become entrepreneurs and tap into our amazing creativity. Gone are the days of having to use our energies for making others successful, we can do that for ourselves and create a space where we can be our own boss and use our talents to not only benefit ourselves but present new and enticing products for others. Are you concerned and passionate about a particular social issue that is plaguing your nation? Become a member of an organisation that is dedicated to speaking out against these issues. Domestic violence and child abuse are two such areas that you can become involved in. Many of these organisations are desperate for ‘young blood’, young people with new, fresh ideas who are passionate for these causes. They are looking for individuals dedicated to the organisation and movement and who will be able to one day lead a new generation of members and effecting real change.
Do you believe that political arena needs to have significant change? The voice of the youth is badly needed to transform the ‘old boys’ club of the politics in the region. Some Caribbean countries will be engaging in the electoral process in 2014. Don’t only be concerned about placing an ‘X’ on the ballot or just ‘talk’ about the campaigns but get out there and demand that the standard of politics be lifted by raising your discussions. When you demand more, politicians must oblige.
Crisis gives us an opportunity to tap into that part of ourselves we never would have, if we were not driven off course and needed to plot a new destination. Where are you destined to? Don’t be a passenger but be a driver on life’s journey. Visualise where you want to go and what you want to see happen and chart that course. It is inside of you; don’t let this opportunity pass you by!
Deswyn Haynes is a regionalist with special interest in international relations and issues of the environment. She holds a B.Sc. in Political Science from the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill and is currently pursuing a M.Sc. in Integration Studies. When she isn’t travelling across the Caribbean, she spends most of her time involved in church activities and enjoying island life in Barbados.