There are so many things that make a particular Caribbean country and its people unique. For example, the way we speak, the food we eat, our history, colour of our skin or race and the list goes on. But to what extent are we actually different from one another? If you omit all the things that are uniquely Trinidadian, Jamaican or any other Caribbean country, would we be more alike than different?
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For many tourist and foreigners, there are few distinctions such as skin colour, language/accent or food. Some tourists decide where they visit based on these distinctions, missing the other islands that don’t fit in that box.
Unfortunately they return home believing that they have been exposed to the full Caribbean experience. How many times Caribbean nationals living outside the Caribbean, have been mistakenly labeled with the wrong nationality?
I am sure it is annoying to be wrongly labelled, I too have experienced this. It makes me feel that the person didn’t respect my nationality or is just naïve to know the difference or simply an innocent mistake.
We have been on this journey of a “single Caribbean” since the 1940’s. We have CARICOM and the West Indies cricket team as examples. But we have a far way to go before we can even consider the taste of success.
I think the first step is to acknowledge that we are more closely join together by the very same issues that divide us. The issue of rising crime and violence and the challenge to grow our economies affects us in villages or towns across the Caribbean.
At the same time we can continue to celebrate what’s unique but we can’t continue to ignore the fact that we are more alike than different.