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Our Paradise Is Under Threat

by Dickson Igwe
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Dickson Igwe, socio-political columnist

Now, a certain politician loves pontificating on the beauty of these Virgin Islands. Most aliens arriving on these shores swiftly appreciate the safety, beauty, and wholesomeness of life in the Virgin Islands. These Virgin Islands are truly a garden where life should be glorious and wholesome.

A drive around the inhabited islands at night reveals a majestic little place with homes lit up sitting high on divinely sculpted hills and hilltops, while the sounds of gushing waves offer serenity, melody, and peace.

Once upon a time, before the adoption of a new culture of prosperity driven by tourism and finance, residents who lived off the land would have had a far greater opportunity to appreciate Nature’s providence.

Virgin Islanders sat on their verandahs in their simple clapboard homes and gossiped under a wonderful full moon. Women toiled in the outdoor kitchen and cooked up delicious dishes for their menfolk who exhausted themselves daily under the hot sun, fishing, planting food for the community, digging at the basic road infrastructure that allowed the wary donkey to travel from village to village, building, harvesting provisions, producing sugar and rum, rearing livestock, clearing bush for farming, and more.

A simpler time that was agrarian and religious must have been a great deal more secure than today, in that it offered greater certainty of outcome.

Residents lived by their own strict moral and social codes. The church and prayer meeting were at the center of rural life. The first schools derived from this religious culture, driven by the old evangelicals: Methodists, Anglicans, Seven Day Adventists, Roman Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness.

Today all that has changed. Toxic fumes threaten the health of natives on the west of Tortola. Traffic is a hazard. Fast boats are a menace.

A materially driven society has become fragmented and isolated. Neighborliness is practically nonexistent. The rise in violent crime in certain sectors of the community reflects the blind pursuit of material wealth notwithstanding how obtained. Dishonesty and deception ingrained in the culture have led to white-collar crime and corruption, and in very recent times a Commission of Inquiry, that threatens direct UK intervention in the daily affairs of a self-governing territory of Great Britain. The preceding is a disaster and would herald a return to a time the UK ruled these islands directly.

No one can honestly state that the present day is better than a yesteryear when the word community meant true neighborliness, close-knit families, and the village looking out.

Hearts and minds make a country not the economy and material prosperity. For the Virgin Islands to return to some peace, tranquility, and sanity, people will have to understand how far we have fallen from where we once were.

Young men especially will have to understand their reckless behaviors are in no one’s best interest especially their own. They simply end up on the scrap heap of society, prison, or the grave, as they proceed on a downward path to destruction.

The solution to overcoming the present predicament begins and ends in adopting honesty and kindness as a way of life, and not aping alien cultures where the pursuit of money is the beginning and ending of everything.

This Old Boy has observed aliens who are under the mistaken belief that the woes of the native population is none of their business. In that, they are hugely mistaken. The day this island erupts, in whatever way it does, all will suffer. The world is a cycle, and until we die, we are all part of its motion.

Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe is an education official in the Virgin Islands. He is also a national sea safety instructor. He writes a national column across media and has authored a story book on the Caribbean: ‘The Adventures of a West Indian Villager’. Dickson is focused on economics articles, and he believes economics holds the answer to the full economic and social development of the Caribbean. He is of both West African and Caribbean heritage. Dickson is married with one son.


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