Antigua, Migrant Island!
Migrants have been coming to Antigua from post slavery days when the first migrants from Lebanon via New York were dropped off at St. John’s Harbour on a boat heading to Brazil.
This piece of history is known by the Lebanese who have generational history to share with their great grandchildren.
Tourism brought its own share of barefoot white migrants who were able to make good in yachting, and other tourism opportunities offered by the openness of Antigua.
Only fifty years ago the Syrian community was embraced by the black Antiguans when the ‘truss (trust) or credit introduced by the Lebanese was elevated by the Syrians to household equipment and furniture, creating the richest community of migrants and the richest household names in Antigua.
The Italians left over from the reach out of the Italian Government loans to the island, were cleverly inserted into the construction business and Italian imports.
The people the region starting with Santo Domingo, were the next introduction to Antigua by political influences of the Bird Family to support a political party with whom Antigua had become disenchanted.
Jamaicans on the run, and Guyanese during their socialist downturn in the economy also migrated to Antigua; and recruitment of a non-Antiguan Police contingent of people from St. Vincent soon also made up the Caribbean contingent of migrants. Dominica, St. Kitts and Montserrat move in and out of Antigua at will for ages.
Antigua has become the New York of the Caribbean where like N.Y. who has ‘No native New Yorkers,’ Antigua boasts the most diverse population of any Caribbean island.
The interesting problem which this diversity has produced is a government which depends on the migrant non-nationals to keep them in power, as the swing vote which can be induced by favors and money.
Figures are even boasted prior to election where it was exposed that the the electoral lists included 40% non-nationals.
Antiguans receive much abuse for their stupidity in allowing non-nationals to control their politicians and their country, and worse this abuse is mostly from the same non-nationals.
One woman complained that Antigua need to do like in her country, where it may be necessary to send the ‘mind you business’ message to people who ‘bang water come yah!’
Antiguans are much too loving for that, even though the young mixed generation are thinking differently!
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Nobody allows to be bribed like Antiguans , if you want an example, go to St Peter constituency . If we are 40% of the of the electorate? Why the native 60% don’t choose wiser?
I am not Antiguan by birth, but I am a citizen of this blessed island through marriage, which alas, although it did not last, allowed me to give birth to two beautiful island nationals.
That was an aside.
How can persons here and now fix the perceived problems that the current migration trend seems to have brought with it. I am not just speaking about the African migrant issue.
Obviously, migration is a worldwide issue and will always be with us. People move from country to country for differing reasons. Some to better themselves, some to evade situations, some to run from situations etc., etc. Some, like myself, were just following their hearts. Whatever the reason, migration will always be with us.
A people have to look at how the integration of migrant populations affects their culture, way of life, ability to progress and quality of life.
Nationals need to decide how they determine the future of these islands before the future determines what happens to them. How laws are written for the protection of indigenous Antiguans and Barbudans. How the general populace of indigenous Antiguans and Barbudans make their voices, needs and ideas heard by the elected officials outside of elections.
How to raise issues in a non-confrontational manner to ellicit discussion which would lead to debate within the corridors of power. It is not always the steel rod but sometimes the gloved fist that carries the day.
Can we change the course or the trajectory that we seem to be headed on? Is our history, as varied as it is, being told truthfully? Can we learn from it? Can it inform us going forward?
Our history is not just political. It is also ancestral, cultural, educational, and so much more. As it has been said, you don’t know where you can go if you do not know where you have come from (my interpretation). So what comes first?
Organize within the grass roots.
Organize within the middle income
Organize within the upper income.
Organize within the villages, communities, wheresoever one is domiciled.
Develop councils within the different organizations.
Have debates with the different sectors.
Take notes back to the communities for their input before building out a team that would then be charged with taking up the cause.
Raise petitions to raise awareness.
Take our motto to heart: Each endeavouring, all achieving. I, personally, add my country’s motto of ‘Country before self’, to that motto.
If we have to start at baby steps all over again to get things right, then let us do that. If we can build on what is already established that is good, then let us do that. But…we have to do something.
@Joan Salmon I must applaud your contribution here, it shows a non-political, impartial view and you might have even contributed more than the author of the article. You contribution was well prepared and was a pleasure to read.
I hope we can get more of these reviews before most of them on here are just far too political and offers no suggestion to change.
Jamaicans really not welcomed, I notice the constant belittling of Jamaican, always saying only criminals come to the island from jamaica,” Jamaicans on the run”.
I can here from jamaica, I was not on the run from anything, never had a police record and still don’t, I studied here open my business here, and there are a lots of Jamaican who are law abiding citizens here as well are very established in their respected fields.
This is very sad to say the least how Jamaicans are chastised openly.
@Kp I agree with you that the comment made by the author was very irresponsibilty and I do hope that the author apologies. As a matter of fact, that should not have been published by AntiguaNewsRoom witht that statement.
I am a born Antiguan but I do not believe we should be those statements against any nationality.
I believe the problem is that the majority of persons (NOT ALL) that wishes to migrate tends to be at a cross road in their life and therefore is looking for a change. Hence you sometimes do not get the best of the migrants coming here because of our open migration system. And, while the intention might be to change, some persons carry old habits and causes a bad stigma on their nationality.
For the persons who have never travelled to Jamaica and enjoy the Jamaican hospitality and meet all the wonderful persons there, they may actually believe what persons write loosely.
I know of many Jamaicans here who are on both sides of the spectrum. Unfortunately the bell sounds loudest on the criminal end.
We must remember that we have respectable lawyers here from Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean. Our duty is to call out the good when we see it. Congratulations to you Kp for standing up in defense. However, be also a beacon to those whom you know who might have fallen through the cracks. We are all called upon to be our brothers or our sisters keepers. No matter where they come from. If some persons were to get help they probably would not end up on the wrong side of the law.
Were the patrons of your business only Jamaicans and other non nationals — No Antiguans supported your business? If you were supported by Antiguans, how can you say Jamaicans are not welcomed? You’re painting ALL Antiguans with one brush — And it’s the same thing you’re complainting about in regards to All Jamaicans given being called “run away criminals.”
I’m an Antiguans who lives in the US — my first experience of getting ripped off in Antigua was attending what was called a sound clash, put on by Jamaicans who up were telling the audience at 9pm the plane is coming with the people to do the clash. It was a hoax, the park was filled with people who paid their $20 and we got nothing for it — that was back in the 80’s — And things are much worst now. Some Jamaicans came to Antigua and MADE a bad name for themselves. Though I don’t agree with anyone putting an entire nation of people in the same boat, I can understand why they’ll do it. In the US, sometimes I’m perceived as Jamaican, and I’m subjected to the same stereotyping that you’re speaking of — But I subscribe to brother Bob Marley philosophy — So, I don’t wear the cap if it doesn’t fit.
No need to feel a way my Jamaican relative, the first lot coming here were on the run, even so advertised on the movie- cooling out in Antigua after criminal activity.
Any island, state or country that openly promote prostitution and gambling would never be the beacon of hope, so I don’t know what is expected of a failed nation like Antigua who have sold out it’s integrity for the good ole almighty dollar long long time ago? Many of the tourist that travels to some of these parts,are not there for it’s quiet and tranquility, they are there for it’s hedonistic appeal and the things they can get away with that’s not in their country, so stop acting like Antigua has been the pride of the Caribbean, it is not and never was. And yes, I’m from Antigua. Call a spade a spade. The influxes of migrants who have come to Antigua over the years, did not come for it’s 365 beaches, they came for the corruption and the under the table fast money, that’s the truth, so I don’t know which Antigua some you are talking about!!! I spoke about the doom of Antigua in and post some time ago, way before the election, way before the crime wave, way before the Antigua Airways fiasco, but many thought it was just a post just to come back and said ‘ I told you so’ no, I posted it because I came to Antigua and saw the soul of the nation being ripped from the youths, the desperation in the young men and women eyes while the fat cats living on the hills ( who claim they work hard for their money) just drive around in their darkly tinted cars acting like they are better than the people that put them in power. I saw where the same molestation of the young females is still prevalent and rampant like back in the day where only a ‘ car man’ can get the sweetest thing on the block. So stop the bullshit people and look yourself dead in the eye and tell me if Antigua has not always been a failed state just waiting to exploded on this level it’s now?
Dear KP and all others re my ‘careless’ remark about our Jamaican families migrating to Antigua. As Rastafari in the region has had many wolves among the sheep, the criminal element and no less, regional police persecution created that remembrance when I wrote, no aspersions meant, One Love!
I’m just annoyed at the bang water come ya part mainly cause nobody tarl lub bang water go new York to live worse than dogs than antiguans right now.
I’m mix but born here with high color and no where else in the Caribbean I got as much hate for just my existence than in Antigua. By antiguans only at that
And the government running to bring in ppl to vote why you don’t tuch on that or the other antiguans who just flat out don’t even wanna vote in the first place but be the first in line fr free ham n turkey
Well my family has been on Antigua for hundreds of years :D. The people from the Middle East and Italy (the NORTH Middle East) should be grateful they can live here. I’m ELATED to see the black Africans to be honest. I hope to see our Island go from Strength to Strength.
There are some validity to your comments. You lost me when you stated there are many fine attorneys from Jamaica in Antigua.
Asot Michel was thrown out of Parliament because he first argued against a law being proposed to benefit Cutie Benjamin while others are sitting in jail. A travesty of the law made by a corrupt Jamaican attorney who was then the DPP. Anthiny Armstrong refuse and decline the Police request to bring charges against Cutie Benjamin As you may be aware Armstrong is back in Jamaica defending fraud charges.
The attorneys of Antigua and Barbuda are among corrupt pariahs. The Bar Association is a cliche of people living well by Antigua and Barbuda standards.
It nice to paint a hopeful and optimistic portrait of what can be done and needs to be done to make Antigua a better place; but when those with power and money have their foot peoples neck and have designed institutions to keep it that way life will continue to be more of the same and worse.