Long-serving Prime Minister and doyen of Caribbean politics, Comrade Dr Ralph Gonsalves, was never one to hide his admiration of Barbados. He has venerated our orderly society, our emphasis on education, our infrastructural and policy developments, our strong political leadership, and importantly, our industrious citizens.
He has been a strident partner of Barbados on issues related to LIAT. Gonsalves has also stood along with Barbados on hemispheric controversies such as votes on hot button issues at the Organisation of American States (OAS) and at the United Nations (UN) general assembly.
When there was an apparent attempt to divide the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the last United States administration of Donald Trump, Gonsalves stood with our Prime Minister Mia Mottley. It was felt there was a move to isolate the then chairperson of CARICOM.
We know that in the present circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the way it has dramatically changed our lives and impacted the way the world operates, a 2014 commentary can seem like eons ago.
But it was on April 3 of that year, that the thoughtful political leader of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and former lecturer at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, penned what he described as The Idea of Barbados.
He said Barbados was “more than a nation-state or a national community.” As far as the regional politician was concerned, “Barbados’ success