By Correspondent Tabertha in Saint Lucia
– The common features or characteristics of an island that one hears of all the time are about the white sand beaches and friendliness of the people. When I meet a foreigner who speaks of how lovely the beaches are, how laid back and friendly the people are and how nice the weather is, I can’t help but smile and nod my head in agreement. But things are not always what they seem, and to most of the locals, this is not what our everyday experience is. There is a reason why, even with our lovely beaches and people, we are still considered a developing country.
To be honest, we hardly ever go to the beach as we know it is there, we see the blue waters from almost everywhere, and so we take it for granted. On a weekend, you will hardly ever find a native on the beach, probably only on a Sunday afternoon, or on a holiday weekend, when it will be packed with persons who make an event out of it and have picnics and spend almost the entire day there. But for the most part, persons are so busy with their 9 to 5, their families and other responsibilities, that they completely forget about the beach.
Visitors always speak about how laid back we are and it is a good characteristic if your encounter with the natives is on the beach or other social settings. We know how to let our hair down and have a good time. But try having to do business with these same people. This same laid back attitude is taken into work and affects efficiency and productivity at all levels.
Life is not only about the beach. The cost of living on an island tends to be high due to the following reasons. We have very limited resources, which means that most of our goods have to be imported. We are therefore heavily dependent on International Trade and are vulnerable to whatever goes on in international markets. The cost of importation is high due to our location and the fact that we are far from our main source markets such as North America and Asia. These high costs are therefore added to the final cost of the goods. What this means for life on the island is that we have very little options in the goods we have available and what we do have are quiteexpensive.
Due to our location we are susceptible to natural disasters, especially hurricanes. Due to our small size, if we are impacted, almost the entire island is affected. There is destruction to our infrastructure, affecting the quality of life of the people. The cost of recovery is always very high and is passed on directly and indirectly to the average person.
Life on an island is therefore great from the perspective of visitors but for us natives, there are challenges that we face that the visitor may not even be aware of. However, we are always happy to share our little piece of paradise with whoever desires to take it in.
Tabertha is from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia is a small island of 238 square miles with a population of approximately 160,000 people. It is very popular as an ideal vacation, wedding and honeymoon destination. However, Tabertha shares her experience on life on the island from the perspective of a native.