Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015



Here's a story you might have missed. On Sunday evening, the Prime Minister of Barbados made an important confession. Speaking to members of his DLP Party, Freundel Stuart admitted he finds it "awkward to stand up and pledge allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen" at the beginning of every meeting. He didn't stop there.  Next month, he will enter a bill in Parliament to renounce the monarch. Hopefully, the transition to a full republic should be finalized before the 50th anniversary of statehood in November of 2016.

It's true: Barbados is not a major player in World Politics. BUT... It is the home of beloved Pop Music star Rihanna. Therefore, this blog is important. Here's how it all began: Evan Rogers of DefJam Records was vacationing near the capital, Bridgetown. At a club, he heard a 16-year-old girl perform covers of Beyonce and Mariah Carey hits. In addition to amazing vocals, she had dance moves and a million dollar smile. Within seconds, Evan got on the cell phone to Jay-Z and the rest is Pop Music History. Rihanna has a whopping ten #1 hits and 21 Top Ten Hits.

You're asking: Is this blog about Rihanna or Barbados? Well, to understand Rihanna is to understand Barbados. See, she is a very typical Barbadan. A whopping 93% of Barbados' population are descendants from African slaves. From 1625 to 1810, Britain imported over a million Africans to this tiny island. This number is twice as many people as the entire USA imported. But Barbados is half the size of Rhode Island. This legacy of the human genocide has not been forgotten on Barbados.

Also...like Rihanna...the economy of Barbados has been on the upswing for the last decade. While the other British Commonwealth nations in the Caribbean (Jamaica, Trinidad and the Bahamas) have struggled, the standard of living in Barbados has increased since independence. They boast the third highest such rate in North America, trailing only Canada and the USA and besting Mexico and Costa Rica. In addition to the thriving tourist trade (where Rihanna used to work), the island produces lots of Rum. The Mount Gay Distillery employs thousands of people.

Hopefully, by years' end, it will be all be official. Barbados will leave the Commonwealth, form an independent legislature and plunge into the international scene with a bright future ahead. While few instant economic windfalls will occur from the move, the symbolic gains will be immediate. Four centuries of colonial rule...good and bad...will be forever in the past. Finally, Queen Elizabeth's portrait will be removed from all Barbadan coins and bills. Who will replace her?  Duh! Barbados MOST FAMOUS person: Robyn RIHANNA Fenty.

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