The consequence of colonization throughout the world has had far reaching results that we must come to grips with here in the still colonized Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and the wider Caribbean for that matter. The system was pretty simple and straightforward. Squeeze as much natural resources etcetera as possible out of the colonies for as little cost as possible and send the riches to the Motherland.
These ideals still exist in the form of capitalism, as well as in many countries in the Caribbean where we traded in the ‘Motherland’ for a local benefactor. These local benefactors could be political parties and their associates, ‘prominent’ families, businesses or other examples. You have many angling for the opportunity to eat from the people’s trough or more importantly control of who eats at all.
How can my brothers and sisters from independent Caribbean countries say they are truly independent if their leaders continue to practice the same ideologies many of their founding fathers fought against? Have we truly emancipated ourselves from mental slavery? We are running a race that was not invented by us nor was it for the benefit of us. Think about it, many if not all of the so-called first world countries have or continue to benefit from the natural resources of so-called third world countries.
The designation of third world country has always made me laugh because it suggests such a separation that first world is so much better. Why, because they have cities build off the backs of slaves or indentured servants? Has any third world country ever made it to first world country status or been recognized as such? How about moving to second world status? No, you have never heard of that either.
So these false designations are just to keep the order of things. And for the politically correct amongst us, we now use developed and developing countries/states or emerging markets.
So what does all of this have to do with the TCI? As I said in the article “The Power of One”, we believe that only one person could specialize or be the ‘go-to’ person in any given area. What I didn’t mention was that this mentality is the legacy of colonization. How? Simply because if the persons being administered to believe they had the capacity to do what their overseers did they would likely be harder to control as they would soon realize the overseer was no longer needed.
So as with many things it has to be one person at a time as we don’t believe we can have several successful persons at the same time. As a result you have persons in authority believing that they are where they are simply because they are special and are a gift to the TCI. I’m sure we all can identify several people that fit the bill. What they don’t get is that their positions are more a product of opportunity. The saying goes that “luck is when opportunity meets preparation”. This is true; however, no matter how prepared you are without the opportunity you are not getting anywhere.
Another consequence of this type of colonized mind is that we do not believe in each others’ ability and must rely heavily on what is foreign, or as the saying goes ‘foreign is better’. This mentality and way of thinking is flawed and is prevalent throughout the Caribbean, such that not only do we believe foreign is better in terms of the use of North American or European “experts” and I use the term expert loosely, we have an unwritten pecking order of who believe they have the most sense in the region.
There is nothing more interesting than seeing a Jamaican, Bajan, Bahamian, Trinidadian or Saint Lucian flexing their aptitude in a regional forum, each trying to assert their supremacy. But then again we have been divided into the Greater and Lesser Antilles so it is a wonder the Greater actually believe they are greater? But I digress.
So can we in the TCI do what many of our independent regional brethren have not done in overcoming a colonized mind? Yes. Will it be Easy? No. Nevertheless the first step in any treatment plan is to identify the problem. Therein lies this article. We have work to do in believing not only in ourselves but also believing in other Turks and Caicos Islanders’ potential, ability and aptitude. If you haven’t heard it, I’ll be the first to say it. I believe in you.
Colonization may be used as a method of absorbing and assimilating foreign people into the culture of the imperial country, and thus destroying any remnant of the cultures (WIPI, nd); but right now the only "one" colonial master, and that is the one who is currently being tried in the Courts' and it seems that we either can not get over it, or we are just stuck in stupid, hoping that there is more to come!