On being Antiguan and Barbudan

When tourism becomes the main source of a country’s livelihood, it is incumbent on that country to safeguard every aspect of its existence with an alertness that is most extraordinary. In order to maintain its niche at the top of the tourism market, it has to be alert and always cognisant of the happenings in the world that can possibly affect its ratings in the market. It is not sufficient to assume that we have arrived.

Success in this field means that we must maintain a constant, perpetual vigilance that never flags, and will never fail. We can never change our climate, but we can maintain a state of health that is second to none. It is this vigilance that will serve to cause us to maintain our standards and keep in the forefront of the trade. There are those among us who advocate a “Back to Africa” course of action; we have no quarrel with that because it is the Constitutional right of each and everyone to adopt a philosophy by which to live.

What we do know is that, when judged by the standards of the leading countries of the world, Antigua & Barbuda can hold its own and maintain its place in modern society and advertise itself as a destination that is worthy of being visited. And, after a brief visit, it can also be considered to be a place worthy of being transformed into a permanent place of abode.

We would ask the sceptical to observe those who have chosen to live amongst us. Regardless of social class, all are in search of the vehicle called upward social mobility. And, having established themselves here, they declare as in the game of marbles, “Ah stick, no-clears ”. This another way of saying that they have found their new home and that their wandering and searching have come to an end. They have found their Haven of Rest and have finally put down their Anchor of Life. And, in local parlance, “Dem nah move; not even earthquake could move them from here!”

Whether they have come here via the agency of a church or of The Church, of a lodge or of the Lodge, as a practising member of a profession or of The Profession, they have all arrived at their haven of rest. Whether they married an Antiguan and Barbudan or whether an Antiguan and Barbudan married them, they have all come home. If you question them, they and their children will tell you “Ah Antigua me come from!”.

Let the rest of the world have its scare about the outbreak of Ebola and other harmful viruses, we in Antigua can rest assured about the high standard of our health care services and the high standard of living enjoyed by our inhabitants. Let us not falter in our confidence in the standard of living that our people enjoy. Our housing stock is in the forefront of the best in the Caribbean. Many people have never visited the other islands in the Caribbean, so there exists no basis of comparison.

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