EDITORIAL: Review your mirror image
Wed, 03/16/2016 - 12:00am
“What I wish to speak to you about very briefly here this evening is about you. About yourself.
“I want to know what kind of mirror image do you have of yourself? Do you really like yourselves? There are too many people in Barbados who despise themselves and their dislike of themselves reflects itself in their dislike of other people.” – The Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, excerpt Mirror Image speech on May 13, 1986.
As Barbados looks towards its 50th anniversary later this year, it is time that every Barbadian takes that figurative look in the mirror and decide exactly what mirror image they wish to see reflected.
It has long been said that though this island lacks natural resources, Barbados’ greatest treasure is its people, with their friendly faces, welcoming attitude and accommodating behaviour towards visitors. However, while this may be true in one sense, it is evident that Barbados’ biggest burden is also its people; for although attitudes are positive and pleasant with regard to foreigners, when it comes to fellow citizens responses are more reserved and good customer service is lacking. This results in numerous slowed processes and inefficiencies in the public and private sector.
A clear example is the behaviour of many workers, especially in the public service, who blatantly refuse to do anything but the bare minimum in their job. For instance, simple things like opting to refill the tickets in a numbering system instead of waiting for the “stipulated” person to do so, or using good judgement to expedite operations and speed up the wait of customers instead of sticking to a set outline, shows initiative and common sense. Instead, there is frequently a display of indifferent behaviour by many workers who just do not care about anything other than the clock, and who are ever ready to let you know, with the support of their
representatives, exactly what they are not doing.
To be clear, we are not advocating that workers be expected to go above and beyond the call of duty without being compensated, but in all fairness, they should not become an obstacle to improved service either.
Furthermore, this attitude has seeped into society to morph the behaviours of increasingly younger generations into one that is apathetic to anything but their personal happiness, which usually means caring only about obtaining material possessions. Where once education was idealised and parents raised children to be ambitious and respectful citizens, nowadays school, it seems, is a form of free government day-care. Parents generally do not attend PTA meetings or show an interest in their children’s training until it is too late. In fact, parents themselves do not seem to think beyond the present. They fail to educate themselves and their offspring about the important things in life and instead rely too heavily on Government assistance, whether in the form of welfare, unemployment or the expectation that Government should be responsible for their housing and health care, while monies from any effort they give at employment go instead to their own pursuits.
Then there are those who appear to be more on track, at least financially, but who are helping to keep this country and its people down by their own selfish pursuits of the almighty dollar. While it is expected that people in business should be focused on increasing revenue, it is also expected that they do not just repeatedly take without sharing their success with committed employees and giving back to the community. No one expects it to be done to the detriment of a company, but an organisation is only as strong as the people who make it up and the customers who support it. It is a social responsibility.
In the end, there are several shortcomings that can be improved upon and each Barbadian is encouraged to do some soul searching and re-assess their mirror image.