Category: Island Talk Created on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 06:47
Montserrat we love you! Yeah! Montserrat we love you! Yeah! Yeah! Certainly, I can only but wish I can attribute those opening lines to myself, but they belong to revered Montserratian Calypsonian, Everton ‘Reality’ Weekes, from the rendition of his classic song, ‘Lucky Land’.
Today, the Caribbean island of Montserrat recognises seventeen years since the Soufriere Hills volcano sprang to life on July 18, 1995. This single event and its subsequent effects, has brought lasting change to the island, impacting the future of all Montserratians and those who adopted the island as home.
So today as Montserrat pauses to reflect on seventeen years with an active volcano, what does the future hold for the island?
The idea of Montserrat’s future is a concept that has occupied discussions since the acceptance of a return to the island's capital, Plymouth and its environs, took root in the minds of the island's citizens.
Montserrat has lost much, and equally the island has gained significantly due to the sheer will power and fighting spirit of her people, who both occupy the remaining physical space on the island, and those who reside in what is now commonly referred to as the Diaspora.
Despite the challenges of the past seventeen years and the disagreements that may be encountered from time to time to do with the policy initiatives and how they will impact the island’s future, there is but one immovable fact, and that is Montserratians love the island many refer to simply as ‘home’.
As I write, that song by Calypsonian, Everton ‘Reality’ Weekes that I mentioned previously resonates deeply. 'Lucky Land' he sang, and perhaps in his composition all those years ago he was inadvertently writing a song of hope that would repeatedly touch the lives of Montserratians everywhere.
It is that love for Montserrat that draws her people back home in droves year after year, despite the focus on rebuilding taking place on the island. These nationals and lovers of Montserrat return to partake in the rich traditions of our culture; to reaffirm our heritage and spiritually bond with the land they call home.
There are never any certainties when we think of the future. The best-laid plans are often put to rest when forces unseen intervene. Montserratians may fight over what direction the island's future should take but the comfort derived from such disagreements is that they are resolved often over a good round of banter at one of the island’s many watering holes. As the songwriter sang, “Man we lucky we don’t have terrorism!” This is lucky land!” Despite our differences we settle them amicably.
We have seen the ravages of earthquake damage to Haiti and the subsequent loss of thousands of lives. We have seen the devastation hurricanes have brought to many of the islands that make up the Caribbean chain. There is often this sense of frustrating uncertainty that comes with many natural disasters. Despite this uncertainty, Montserratians have never flinched. In the face of uncertainty resilience was born, fear of the unknown was conquered and a view towards the future is now the rallying cry.
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