It has been argued that the Caribbean has lost over five million people over the last fifty years. Data provided by the United Nations (2002) suggest that the Caribbean has one of the largest net migration rates which is spurred by the widening of the income gap amongst different regions in the world as well as an increase in labor shortages.
Excerpt from this UWI St Augustine publication.
Recently I read a blog post by lifeandstylesofkira. The story was beautifully told about her being 16 and pregnant. During the story she mentioned that she left for England to search for better opportunities for herself and her child. She did not want her daughter to feel trapped in Barbados like she did.
Of course my initial reaction was to disagree. I’m passionate about the Caribbean to a fault. I defend it like my challenged child, “Yes, we have a few major issues but we have so much potential.” Potential.. that word potential. Have you ever listened to a girl talk about a guy she’s interested in and she says “He’s got potential” and you inwardly roll your eyes? As one of my mentors Nadia once said “potential doesn’t pay the bills.” This is true but why have I not applied this thinking to the Caribbean?
Personally, I do feel stifled by the Caribbean at times. For example, in this blog I wish to explore more about make up but we don’t have the bigger stores such as Ulta and Sephora here. I am also not going to order anything online because even if they do ship to Barbados, the 10% NSRL plus all the other taxes hardly make such a purchase worth it. Other examples are style and clothing, unfortunately if you have a style different to what is sold in town you’re out of luck. There are no sales with dirt cheap clothing or huge warehouses where you can spend hours thrift shopping.
As a recent university graduate I’m feeling Nadia’s words haunting me, “potential doesn’t pay the bills.” In the Caribbean nepotism and “knowing someone” are the key ways to become employed. Actually applying for a job is similar to that of buying a Mega 6 Lotto ticket and hoping to win the jackpot. For us youth one major problem is jobs require experience but in order to get experience we need a job. Yes, the Caribbean has a lot of potential but are there any opportunities for me? Can I grow and succeed? Is it possible to have wild “rags to riches” successes in this region? Or is it best to do as many have done and leave in search of opportunities elsewhere?
Part 2 – Why I still continue to defend the Caribbean.
Thoughts from the mind of a Caribbean Youth, Til next time