Anguilla is a
The boast is frequently heard that there are few West Indians so independent-minded as the average Anguillian is. We lack no material want. There is a refrigerator in every room in our house. Each child has its own TV in the bedroom. National Bank and CCB ensured that every home had at least one computer before the year 2000 arrived. Children set off to school with a hundred dollar bill instead of a packed lunch. But, what does it all really mean?
Anguillians, like our brother and sister West Indians, are emerging from a heritage of shattered identities. We have survived the dehumanizing effects of slavery, colonialism and imperialism. Rapid economic development has occurred over the past five or six years. We have begun to stand on our own feet. An invasion of tourists and immigrants from all corners of the earth besets us. Large numbers of persons of other cultures arrive daily on our shores. Non-Anguillian residents, in all likelihood, now outnumber native-born Anguillians. Will Anguillans survive as a people?
All that holds an island people together is a set of symbols, a tiny territory, and an idea that we could be a nation. It takes cultural rootedness to develop a nation. Cultural identity is as equally important as political independence and economic self-sufficiency in the process of nation-building. Cultural development is the bedrock of the creation of a national identity. Do we own what Rex Nettleford has called, “a sense of belonging, a psychic ease, the valuing of our contributions, a space in which to grow and the natural acknowledgment of our worth and dignity as human beings”? Where is the Anguillian dance company? Who are our folklorists? Where is our pantomime? Where have all the actors, singers, dancers, directors and playwrights gone? How many Anguillians are involved in the plastic and fine arts? Other than Carnival once a year, do we honour our popular and traditional arts? Who drives
Some of us are old enough to remember
Is it sufficient for our people to have a job, with good money coming in? Is anything permitted, once we can make a good living? Is material satisfaction a complete substitute for intellectual stimulation?