Let's talk about something people do not address; something real. I always say I feel sorry for everyone who did not grow up Caribbean and I really do. It's really nothing at all personal, rather; my reasoning stems from being a product of all Bahamian parents and an all Bahamian family. My reasoning stems from both growing and being a product of the best possible environment to raise a child. I love my country with all my soul, and this is evident to all people that I meet both natives and foreigners. There is an unwritten rule that I can't say I love my country, while choosing to work or do my schooling abroad. I know this because every time I boast about paradise, I get "so if your country is so great, why do you choose to reside here?" (Here being Uncle SAM). I'll tell you something you probably won't want to hear. They are absolutely correct.
Why do we choose to abide by the laws of another country who makes our resident status outrageously difficult to obtain when it is our birthrights to live in peace in our own country? And does it make me any less of a Bahamian? Any less patriotic then? If my roots and heritage are so worthy of my praise, then why do I choose to physically live apart from it? I read this quote once and it will stick with me forever "the truth is rarely pure and never simple" (Oscar Wilde). It's no secret that like any other country, my little archipelago has its problems. Problems that individually, we cannot move. We all want to be able to contribute to our country in a meaningful way, but often the opportunity is simply not presented. The truth my friends, is that we're selfish. We become bright, educated young people that exude potential, but our selfishness does not allow us to go back home to live and execute our talents. The excuses, of course, range from the typical we won't be paid enough, the stigma of being "average", seeking better opportunities, and more. We're selfish because instead of sharing our gifts and attempting to solve the problems within the country that everyone knows is there, we run and beg for citizenship somewhere else to build up another place while our own country begs us to stay.
In the interest of total transparency, I will admit that it is nice to get away to a private life you build from scratch, start over in a new place, thrive and still have a tropical oasis to go home to. It is nice to know that you come from a place where the beaches, climate, and simple flora and fauna are envied. Most of all, it is nice to have the freedom to boast about how you come from this world-renowned tourist destination but still have the ability to escape the problems associated with that place whenever you feel.
We are not blind to the salary/wage limits that cripple our people financially and it is the top reason most of us stay away. I implore you my friends, realize that the only way forward is together and evidently the only way to make a change is to be the change. The leaders will not be youthful forever, and when the time comes, there has to be a future prime minister, future cabinet ministers, future CEO's and future Innovators. I believe it is time to start thinking about how much we really love our country by what we are willing to invest back into it and what we are willing to sacrifice for growth. I get asked if I plan on moving back home every day. My answer has always been "Not right away, but in the future I will. I can't see myself settling anywhere else". I must be able to help myself before I could help my country. That isn't selfish, it's the truth in its rare, pure and simple form.
If you have taken the time to read this post, I encourage you to make this pledge on your social media platforms. You are not expected to pledge to live at home forever as the intention is not to restrict your freedom. The pledge simply means that you will use whatever platform you have to advocate for a better Bahamas with opportunities like never before. Wherever you are in the world, whatever gifts and talents you have, your pledge will be determined entirely by you through which ever medium you choose to utilize in efforts to become an ambassador for what could be.
This is not to bash, attack, or ridicule any one in any way. Your life is yours to live and I respect that. It is your right to agree or disagree as you choose but this is my personal opinion of the way forward. I believe people should do whatever makes them happy in this life.