2008 closed on a euphoric high for those of us of African descent, when Barack Obama was elected President of The United States of America. That we have arrived at this point in history, 40 years after Dr Martin Luther King Jr. told us ‘I have a Dream,’ the election of an African-American president was testament to the phenomenal change that has taken place in the lives and expectations of people of African descent in the Americas.
Not all was positive however, as the closing of the year also revealed a looming economic crisis. The depth and extent of this ‘downturn’ is yet to be fully appreciated and the Caribbean will certainly be impacted. The extent of that impact however, is so far uncertain. The recent Economic Review of Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, (ECCB) was cautious, suggesting ways that the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) could buffer the expected downturn in tourism, direct foreign investment – which directly impacts the construction industry and remittances.
As is often the case during periods of challenge, opportunities also exist; not least among them is greater cooperation and considered action by governments, the private sector and communities. The OECS Authority of Heads of Governments and Ministers of Finance who make up the Monetary Council of the ECCB met recently and stressed the need for greater cooperation and cohesiveness in implementing clearly defined strategies for supporting vulnerable sectors, and for providing a social safety net for the most vulnerable in our communities. Individuals also have to take considered action in managing their finances; conserving rather than spending, looking to traditional foodstuffs rather than imports, and even turning to the kitchen garden to reduce our food bill.
Notwithstanding the gloomy economic forecast, life goes on, apace with preparations on the way for the first cricket test of the season between The West Indies and England. The West Indies A-team held their own against the English side here in St. Kitts last week, raising great hopes that the major team will do even better for the series.
As part of Black History month in The Federation, The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society in conjunction with partners Nevis Historical and Conservation Society, the St. Christopher Heritage Society, the Department of Culture in St. Kitts, the CFB College History and Heritage Club, the St. Kitts Archives, the Department of Education in St. Kitts hosts the annual History and Heritage Week of Activities from 15 to 21 February. Check our events page for more information as it unfolds.
Of course we couldn’t forget Valentine’s Day and to help you celebrate we launch a new service; why not send your loved ones and e-card through Kittivisian Life?