EDITORIAL: YOU NEVER MISS THE WATER

anguillian
By anguillian July 3, 2017 13:37

 

 

How often have we heard the phrase “you never miss the water ’til the well runs dry”? Which basically means that we never truly appreciate some things until they have gone – be it an airline service, a ferry service or an important building or landmark. Or, most importantly, a person who is no longer around. Most times, the phrase is used when referring to the effect that the severing of some relationship has on one of the parties in the relationship – whether it be a marriage, business partnership, friendship, mentorship and the list goes on. However, it is equally applicable to the situation in which a country loses one of its stalwarts: an advocate, a leader, a social activist, an academic, a sporting icon or other luminary.

Somehow, we seldom seem to tangibly recognize the value that people bring to our society, or the way in which their presence enriches our lives, until they are no longer around. It is often only on their death that we come to the realization that they were essential threads in the fabric of Anguillian society. This is truly unfortunate, and it is one of the regrets I often have when people are awarded posthumously for their contribution to Anguilla. Those people would have died not knowing (in many cases) that their contribution mattered and was highly appreciated by others – by country. This is something we should strive earnestly to correct. I believe we can do this when we begin to acknowledge the value in each other.

The phrase “a man has no honour in his own country” should never be true of Anguilla but, unfortunately, it is. Our “crabs in a barrel” approach – where we seem to be more content at pulling each other down, destructively criticizing each other, undermining each other’s success, and the like – has made us deliberately blind to each other’s value and, I daresay, has crippled our country’s progress. How much further along would we be if we were willing to acknowledge and utilize each other’s strengths, support and encourage each other, and give thanks and recognition where they are due? Undoubtedly, much further than where we are presently.

As a country, we need to do a better job of appreciating the contribution that each of us makes to Anguilla and, where appropriate, giving national recognition to that contribution while the contributors are still living. There is little point in writing letters, heaping accolades and giving flowers to the dead. However, we continue to do it for probably one of three reasons: to appease their family and other members of the community, to assuage our own conscience, or to attempt to correct some grievous error or oversight. Whatever the reason, our actions are of no significance to the departed. However, if we practice saying thank you on a daily basis, pausing to appreciate the contribution of each member of society, we will find that there is little need when they are gone to “make up” for what we did not do while they were living.

I have written in previous editorials of the need for more meaningful support for recipients of the Anguilla Badge of Honour and Queen’s Certificate. I hold fast to the position that more is needed than meeting a portion of their funeral expenses. These persons should actually benefit, while they are living, from perks that can actually make a difference for their quality of life. For example, reduction in the cost of medical care or geriatric services, discounted electricity bills, even grocery vouchers –benefits that would demonstrate that, as a country, we will help to take care of them just as they strived to take care of us. But it does not stop there.

Our rising sport stars, activists, innovators, entrepreneurs and all those who are in the prime of their lives trying daily to make Anguilla a better place for themselves and others, are also deserving of our appreciation, assistance and support. Otherwise we risk losing them to our neighbouring islands, or the wider world, simply because we did not recognize the value that they brought – or had the potential to bring – to Anguilla. We have seen this happen time and time again. Sometimes we lose our brightest and best. However, I appeal to all of us to make a conscious effort to build up each other. It will only make all of us and Anguilla stronger.

anguillian
By anguillian July 3, 2017 13:37

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