I was born in the Caribbean, so its difficult to say this but it may be time for Afro-Caribbeans to abandon this European outpost in the armpit of the Atlantic. It is easy to put aside nostalgic feelings about the place or abandon the awestruck feeling you get when taking in the areas natural beauty when you remember that the Caribbean is a European construct developed in part by clearing out its native Carib and Arawak Indian inhabitants while using the cheap labor provided by African, Indian, and Irish slavery and indentured servitude.
I would argue that there is nothing “African” about the Caribbean save a few bedtime stories courtesy of a West African spider-man and percussion-driven, African inspired kaiso music. The Caribbean’s architecture, monetary system, and legal system are all derived by European minds for the continued protection of the European financial and business interests that remain in post-colonial Caribbean.
As a European outpost with little in natural resources and much in poverty, there is next to nothing to exploit economically. Independent nations can only live on the lifelines provided by the World Bank and its alphabet soup derivatives but for only so long. You can’t live off of nostalgia and emotions for a place that you didn’t create or own little to nothing of. We didn’t build the beaches. We don’t own the hotels. We don’t own the oil companies or refineries.
What we do own is an opportunity to reconnect, to close the circle by exploring the opportunities on the continent to which we can trace a significant portion of our DNA—Africa. For those Afro-Caribbeans who have accumulated a level of skill and expertise, this is an opportunity to leverage expertise and capital in an area of the world that desperately needs our contribution.
I am not naive about the challenges of readjustment, realignment, and acclimation. It took centuries to change the emotional filters of a people of African descent, so much so that the vast majority of Afro-Caribbean people would scoff at the idea of a return. We have to consider what are the benefits of trying to scrabble a life from beautiful but resource lacking rocks, especially when whatever profit is accumulated isn’t flowing to us, but to European masters and the World Bank.