B. V. Islanders continue to be resilient people since the British set them free in 1834 after torturing their forebears for more than a century. They have demonstrated what is referred to as the five pillars of resilience(self-awarenessself care, mindfulness, positive relationship and a keen sense of purpose) as they kept on the journey of Self-Determination. Nelson Mandella's passion in the following words echo their resolve:
"Our human compassion binds us the one to the other-not in pity or patronizingly-butas human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future."
They demonstrated over and over the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties whether it was the great fire that burned Road Town in 1853, or a sea tragedy like the loss of the "Fancy Me" in 1926 or two category five hurricanes-Irma and Maria-that they in September 2017. They understood how to adapt successfully to various challenging life experiences. Their mental, emotional, and behavioural flexibility stood the tests of time and enabled them to adapt quickly to internal and external demands. Their physical, mental, emotional and socal resilience rooted in their strong christian faith, was manifested in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Irma. As daylight peeped over the horizon in its wake, villagers crawling like ants when their nest is invaded, began cleaning, rescuing, and mending, while others prepared refreshments for the voluntary workers. Those initiatives came from the people, by the people, for the people. Government noined in the wake of the peoples' actions.
This resilience had been the bedrock of their survival duting the 85 years of domination by the Leeward Islands Federation (1871-1956), during the era of the pre ministerial government (1956-1967), and the era of partial ministerial government since 1967.
Christmas 2022 demonstrated that resilience mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. Most of the cellebrations centred avtkund strengthening family ties and relationships forging stronger societal ties and charting the course for 2023 and beyond, with the determination to reclaim their homeland.
The challenges ahead in 2023 invite them to invoke the fortitude of their forebears, the uncanny insights into the affairs of their existence, and the resilience, mentally, emotionally, physically. economically. socially, and politically to fight for control of their homeland. The apostle John reminds us in his gospel chapter 10 verseten:
" The thief comes go steal, snd kill and destroy I come that they might have life and have it abundantly."
This is the message of Christmas so in 2023 look out for the "thief". His mission is threefold, STEAL, KILL, and DESTROY. He will steal your joy of Self Determination by yhe sttlke of the pen. Be vigilant, Be resilient.
- Dr. Charles H Wheatley