On February 12th 2020, while standing in the long queue at the Immigration line in Belize, I received a text from one of my high school classmates who informed me that our classmate Kalyn Thomas died. Here I was in Belize attending the funeral of a special friend who died in her sleep suddenly and then to get the news about the death of another friend shocked me more.
Our country is small in that we know everyone and somehow we are all related to one another and so when there is tragic, all of us are impacted. I am saying all of this to say this that with all of these things (sudden deaths, crimes, so many people with health issues) happening in our country, we really need to unite as one people.
I know what happens in the Turks and Caicos is not unique to TCI. Our issue is that due to the size of our country both in population and geography, the things that take place in our country are exposed faster than what happens in other countries. Like other countries, we are divided.
Of course there are many factors that created the division among us but I believe the two main ones are based on the island of origin and our affiliation with a political party.
Turks vs Caicos and vice versa
Prior to Providenciales becoming the economic engine of TCI, Grand Turk and South Caicos were the main islands with economic activities and as a result people from the other islands migrated to these islands for a better living and even for further education. Unfortunately, many of our brothers and sisters from the other islands were not treated as if they were from TCI. Some of them still reflect on those bad memories and still believe that there is prejudice and discrimination based on the island you are from.
I really thought that our relationships had improved considering that so many of us from Grand Turk and South Caicos migrated to Providenciales and the fact that many of us are married to individuals from the other islands.
I know as a people that for the most part that is how we are, we are fixated on the island that we were born or raised on. However, I believe we should always see ourselves as Turks and Caicos Islanders and stop seeing ourselves as being from Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos and Providenciales respectively.
We should also discontinue making statements about which island cooks the best, which island dresses the best, which island has the most educated people, which island has the most ambitious people etc. These statements can cause further friction among us even though we may pass them of as a joke.
PDM vs PNP
Most of us see one another as PDM and PNP supporters respectively rather than seeing people for who they are. As a result of our political persuasion some of us do not speak to others, some of us do not support each other businesses and some of us only praise and support individuals in the same party as us. Some of us are tearing each other down all because of who we are affiliated with politically. Ironically though, some of us are making a clarion call to unite but the actions of some of these same individuals say otherwise. Some of us are even quoting and sharing scriptures from the Bible about love and forgiveness but we passed each other like we don’t know them. All they see is blue and yellow. If I had anything to do with our political process, I would eliminate the party system as it is not healthy for the country. Let us have individuals run for ministerial positions on an island wide basis.
Until we come to a point of realization that we are one Turks and Caicos, we will continue to harbour negative feelings among each of us causing us to divide while those expatriates are uniting and in so doing controlling almost everything in our country.
It is ok if you want to align yourself with one of the main political parties but do not let you alignment alienates you from others because they do not support the same party. It is ok if you are proud of the island you are from but do not put that first before our country.
I believe we have a great opportunity to restore and unite but we must be sincere. Let us act on what we say we want.