Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of submission from residents of Bequia about developments on the island. This piece is in direct response to the one accessed via the link below. Earlier submissions can be accessed via the links at the end of this article.

In support of Bequia expats

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

Dear Lucille,

Your letter has made me realise that I was guilty of generalising about the character of recent expat arrivals in Bequia. Thank God Bequia has continued to attract caring, concerned people from abroad. I, as a citizen of a great country that was built on emigration, have never underestimated the value of newcomers to a society — their new ideas, skills and wealth can only benefit. And I do think we have been fortunate in the arrival of many who express care and concern for the island and continue to make a positive contribution. However, you must admit that the island has suffered an influx of people seeking only expensive real-estate — a magnificent view, a good return on investment but no wish for anything more except to see their investment protected, no matter what the disruption to local society. I am amazed and disturbed by the disrespect and ignorant stereotypes displayed toward local people in bars, on the beach and on Facebook by these people.

I guess the other thing I am guilty of is nostalgia for what seemed a more honourable time in Bequia’s history. When I first came I was struck by the self-sufficient nature of most Bequians, and by the tremendous respect and admiration by which they were viewed by outsiders. I have spoken already of the ship-builders, the various marine skills that were recognised internationally. I can’t believe that Bequia has ceased to produce such people. Are they being repressed somehow? Or am I one of those people who think that things were better in the old days.

My feeling is that much as Action Bequia has filled many of the gaps that have occurred in the absence of local government, Bequia needs an elected council of prominent citizens to effectively govern certain aspects of its affairs and to provide a forum for people to express themselves. I cannot think of a democratic country today that does not have mayors, citizen councils, etc., separate from the central government, to manage strictly local matters and to pressure central government to fulfil their obligations on such matters as security, allocation of tax dollars and immigration requirements. One begins to fear that the gap between peoples is widening; gated communities means a certain segment of the population does not trust another. And wide gaps between peoples create conflict. Who else but the other can one blame when things don’t go well?

Lucille, no matter what differences we may have had, we are united in our love and concern for Bequia’s past, present and future.

Marie

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The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].