By Donald Chambers
Prime Minister the Honourable Mia Mottley, Barbados became a Republic on November 30, 2021 (Feast of St. Andrew), severing political allegiance to the historically tainted British Monarchy.
This brave and bold move is like the interrelationship between the tide, timing and skills needed for surfing. Surfers paddle on their surfboards out to the deep open waters. They patiently wait, timing the arrival of a powerful tide. With accurate skills, they catch the high tide and ride it skillfully and gracefully to shore, and then celebrate victory over the tide.
Mottley timed the tide of Republican status perfectly. As with many Caribbean states, the people, since Independence, envisioned complete political and psychological separation from our slave and colonial conquerors and oppressors. The tides of success and achievement in sports, literature, economics, science and technology, religion, music, and cultural expressions, were tidal signs of our readiness to free ourselves from a foreign Head of State, whose family lineage and history were responsible for our oppression and dehumanization.
Mottley knew that the Caribbean people and the Bajans have been at sea waiting patiently for the Big Tide. When will it come? We must be ready for it. Mottley saw the coming tide – victory at the election polls with more than a two-thirds majority in Parliament and the leeway in the Bajan constitution to separate. With the psychological devastation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, Bajans needed a psychological boost. What would it be? The Republican Tide.
Mottley saw the tide. She timed the tide. She stood up on the surfboard of the people’s imagination and said, “Let’s take this tide to final independence from foreign rule.” She rode the tide and celebrated victory with the people.
Who best to make a national hero? Not a dead person, but a musical icon whose tide has placed Barbados on the global stage.
What lessons can the remaining Caribbean states learn from the Mottley tide? Be courageous and time the tide. Our people are ready to take the tide of full separation.
Post Script: Perhaps the next tide on which we wait, is the TIDE OF REPARATION. It will come. We wait and work patiently.