By Marc A. R. Bean MP
My wife Simone and I have been touched by the love and support we have received over the past year, from our friends, and family throughout the Caribbean. As we celebrate our daughter's first Easter, we are filled with excitement at the potential within our Caribbean region.
A former minister of environment, planning and infrastructure strategy, Marc Bean is the leader of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party (PLP) and is the Member of Parliament for the Warwick South Central constituency. firstname.lastname@example.org
Easter evokes so many positive feelings for so many of us. Whether it is the knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus and his triumph over death, kites, fishcakes and hot cross buns in Bermuda, bun and cheese in Jamaica, or saltfish and mackerel in St Kitts, Easter unites us together, as one people, with one culture.
This shared heritage transcends all that divides us and, like the Christmas spirit, it is a feeling we wish could be experienced all year round.
As a time of renewal, Easter represents an opportunity to reflect upon where we are in our personal, community and regional development. Despite so many of our brothers and sisters having lost their jobs and struggling to make ends meet, we remain a region where there is still a sense of hope that better days are ahead.
Despite our fears and worries, more and more of our true spirit as a people is being revealed. We have witnessed workers offering to take home less pay to keep their colleagues employed. We have witnessed families feeding and clothing their neighbour's children. And we have witnessed a level of charity from Caribbean nationals that proves that, when it comes to love and compassion, we remain our “brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.”
Compassion for others, and cooperation must continue beyond our economic standing.
We believe in a Caribbean where every national who wants to work will have an opportunity and where everyone who wants to provide their family with a brighter future will be able to do so.
However, we cannot do this as a people who lack self-pride, and lack belief in our capacity for hard work, intellect, and talent. If we bad mouth each other, look down on each other, and are unwilling to give each other an opportunity, what can we expect from those who make the real decisions regarding jobs and opportunities?
We must change; our future depends on it.
Let us use this Easter holiday to reconnect with our families, bond with our neighbours, and renew the sense of community that we all know exists within each of us. Let us further commit to looking within, and deciding that going forward, we will stop referring to our fellow Caribbean nationals as lazy, stupid or any other negative connotations.
Let us begin to play a part in the elevation of our people with a more encouraging, nurturing, and protective attitude towards each other.
That change of mindset by itself will not create jobs or put more food on our tables. It will however begin the process of making it less socially and economically acceptable to treat Caribbean nationals like second class citizens when it comes to jobs, opportunities, and having a say in the running of our region.
That change of mindset will make each of us more open to working with each other, by cooperating, building success together, and competing. When we trust, respect, and work with each other, there is no limit to what the Caribbean can accomplish.
From our island of Bermuda to yours, we wish you a safe and happy Easter.