An opportunity to lead by example of how a diverse culture can work together.
Though we are a small place, I believe the Turks and Caicos is in a unique position to lead by example of how a diverse culture can work together. We have multiple islands in the Turks and Caicos, but we are divided as too many of us still focus on the island that you are from rather than focusing on the fact that you are a Turks and Caicos Islander. We also have multiple nationalities (over 100) in the country. The same way we are divided over the island based on where you are from; we are also divided among ourselves based on the country you are from.
I think we need to put aside our differences, come together and work for a better and united Turks and Caicos. I know some of us may want the Turks and Caicos to be the way it used to be over 30 years ago where most of the people were living in Turks and Caicos were from Turks and Caicos. However, that is not going to happen and as our country grows at such a rapid rate, we will need more people. We must accept the fact that more people will come. We may not like it because this means that we will be outnumbered. If we can live in harmony, we can showcase to the world how a diverse culture can work together.
Turks and Caicos Islander Status
First, we are fighting among ourselves. We are tearing each other down. We have allowed our political affiliation and the island that we are from to divide us. Our focus should not be about if you are from Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos or Providenciales. If we learn to recognize and accept that we are from Turks and Caicos first, then we can come together as citizens and learn to work along with one another. We have a unique opportunity to unite despite the island you are from.
We have another issue in that some Turks and Caicos Islanders were born outside of the Turks and Caicos to Turks and Caicos parents, but we still do not accept the fact that these individuals are Turks and Caicos Islanders. I know that part of the problem is that some of these individuals have not declared themselves as Turks and Caicos Islanders but there are some that have yet we referred to them as any other nationality other than a Turks and Caicos Islander. Let us lead by example by embracing and accepting these individuals as Turks and Caicos Islanders. I also want to challenge those individuals who have Turks and Caicos status but still refused to call themselves Turks and Caicos Islanders. Declare yourself as Turks and Caicos Islander and assimilate with the people. We have a golden opportunity to work together.
We have many Turks and Caicos Islanders where at least one of their parents is not a Turks and Caicos Islander. That individual is a Turks and Caicos Islander but somehow, we do not refer to some of these individuals as Turks and Caicos Islander if one of the parents is a not a Turks and Caicos Islander. This is so wrong and is contrary to our laws.
We have another issue in that there are people who were able to get Turks and Caicos Islander Status other than their parents being Turks and Caicos Islands. Some of these individuals were able to migrate to the UK and live there and work there. However, some of these individuals still do not refer to themselves as Turks and Caicos Islanders even though it is through the Turks and Caicos status, they were able to migrate to the UK. In fact, some of these individuals have spend more years in Turks and Caicos then they spent in their birthplace or their parents’ birthplace, yet they do not consider themselves Turks and Caicos Islanders.
As I said in a previous article, a person with a Turks and Caicos Islander Status is a Turks and Caicos Islander and we should embrace one another.
The Different Nationalities and Races
We have over 100 nationalities and there is very little assimilation in the country. Most nationalities stick with their own and refer others to their own nationalities for business opportunities and do not mingle with Turks and Caicos Islanders and likewise there are some Turks and Caicos Islanders that do not associate with the other nationalities. Not only are people of the same nationality sticking together, I find that people of the same colour are sticking together.
I do not see the composition of our country changing anytime soon and so I think we need to put aside our differences. Mind you there are some that are working together but there is a significant amount that is not working together.
I was checking in a guest at one of the villas I managed. Somehow, the guest ended up telling me how she ran into another individual who told her that Turks and Caicos Islanders do not like them because they see them as threat. I was taken aback as I was not expecting to hear that from that nationality.
I think we have a golden opportunity to come together no matter what nationality you are. Our children go to the school with so many children of different nationality and this is great opportunity for those parents to mingle and associate with others. Somehow, I don’t know if some of us want to associate. I remember many years, when my oldest son used to play a particular sport and there were several kids and coaches of different nationalities, now today you can count the number of different nationalities playing this sport. Why is this so?
I think real progress in Turks and Caicos should not just be measured by the number of buildings, but it should be measured by the number of residents coming together and working to make the Turks and Caicos a better place.
I believe there are some people who are not Turks and Caicos Islanders who really want to help and come together but they are hesitant because they feel they will not be accepted. On the other hand, there are some that have benefitted so much from Turks and Caicos but still do no give the country credit.
I really wish that all the residents can assimilate and unite and stop focusing on where you are from or the colour of your skin.