Letters & Opinion

Have we forgotten that charity begins at home?

Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

I often hear about growing or producing for the export market. I know that traditionally it has always been about foreign exchange, but if we review our domestic policies, we may discover that charity begins at home.

Take for instance the big hooray today about sea moss: all you hear about is how the rest of the world, appreciates the quality of our sea moss, but domestically you cannot walk to the average shop and find sea moss in any form.

It’s all about Rude Boy and carbonated soft drinks, beer, wine and box juices etc. But for whatsoever reason our home grown or local produce is the last to be considered as a commodity on our shelves.

Some of the arguments by the locals are usually about cost, standards, packaging and the lack of consistent availability. Granted all these issues are valid, but we can reverse that trend if we are serious about local consumption and support.

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Let’s start with the tourist trade. We boast having thousands of rooms and visitors by the thousands via the cruise industry, and the many other visitors who visit our shores daily. But do we offer our guests our local menus? Is the daily breakfast cassava, or a slide of fried breadfruit, or bananas, a slice of avocado, or a glass of soursop juice, or mangoes, or pawpaw, or an occasional cowheel, tripe or pork soup?

It’s always about what is familiar, but never about penetrating the system by injecting local values.

So I ask: What about us that make us think that imported goods are better or more nutritious, or healthier for consumption? When we travel, we adapt to what’s on the international frontier, but at home it seems to be a no-no.

Buying imports can only make others rich, but not supporting local can only lead to more frustration among our providers or producers.

How often do you see fruits of all types fall to the ground or go to waste? Why is Kentucky better than Kiliwoo? Why should pizza be like a national dish especially amongst the youth population? Why do we have that kind of mind-set or anti-local attitude?

Can we not see that we are swimming against the tide, or contributing to our own downfall? Do you not think that based on our local population and the number of visitors coming, we can make a change in our consumption patterns?

Why is it always about these foreign bands or music, or all our clothes must be ready-made? Why do all our shoes — and everything else we wear or use — must be of top brands from overseas?

When do we change course? When will we look inward? Why do we continue to keep our people hooked on mental slavery? Can’t we be more real, more nationalistic, more accommodative, more Lucian?

I strongly believe that we do not try hard enough to reverse that trend among our locals. It is time that we look inward. We have to grow our economy through national support.

Slavery is self-inflicted today because we refuse to change for the betterment for our nation. But failing to go in that direction will only breed more hardship for our nationals.

I believe that It’s time to review, revise, re-educate and remodel our lives.

I therefore humbly suggest that all the educated sons and daughters of our country show their true love for our country, start to show slate, contribute to national growth and help in building our nation.

Let’s stop trying to follow the Joans and Joneses. It is time to become less foreign in attitude and Just Be Us, Be Lucian, Be West Indian and retain our African heritage. Otherwise “crappo” will smoke more of our pipes again!

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