Your Brother’s Keeper

I met a man on the beach. He told me a fact about Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley. After she finished her law degree in London, she managed a calypso band. She toured the world with them.

He knows this because he knows her. Barbados is a small island! They went to school together, though he was a bit younger. Mia Mottley was in his older brother’s year. He said this experience of managing a calypso band changed how Mia saw the world. It broadened her horizons. She was like, ‘you know what – I’m going to come home and become Prime Minister.’

I’m making that last bit up. She was planning from birth. Still, there is something about being in a country with a female prime minister at the moment. Especially a popular and well-respected one.

The BBC brought this point up with the Prime Minister. The interviewer asked her why many of the countries dealing well with this pandemic are the countries run by women.

‘Because we care,’ was the crux of her response. I want to drop what I’m doing and follow Mia Mottley around the world. Preferably with a calypso band.

There is much emphasis in the news here about being your ‘brother’s keeper’. It carries that old-fashioned language of religious overtone. But it leaves its mark. The radio is full of these public announcements. From washing your hands to being kind to your loved ones.

The Prime Minister has just finished speaking late on this Thursday night. Her team announced that retail shops will fully open on Monday. With the increased vigilance and protocols set in place. We will all be wearing masks while we buy pyjamas. And swimming cozzies! My old one is so stiff it could go to the beach on its own.

Meanwhile, the second largest cruise ship in the world is here. At over a thousand feet long, Harmony of the Seas has come into port. It is the largest cruise ship Barbados has ever hosted.

It’s mission is to disembark its crew. Collated from many cruise ships in the Caribbean basin, an offloading exercise has begun to get 4,000 crew home – to all parts of the world.

The Nation News states: The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is one of several companies which accepted Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s offer for Barbados to be the gateway for repatriating crew, as several ships were turned away by ports around the world in an effort to protect their borders against the spread of (COVID-19).

‘What do you think of the situation right now in Barbados?’ I asked the man on the beach. It’s hard to gauge it from our position – anchored on the edge.

His eyes twinkled. ‘One thing has happened which none of us expected. The strength of the grassroots. Farmers, fruit and veg sellers. People are still cooking for others and making drinks. Those of us who are normally struggling for business on this island have prospered. It’s evened things out a bit.’