Friday, May 7, 2010



My philosophy is wherever you're residing - commit to community 'uplifment!'

So, when I was living in Barbados, West Indies, registered as a citizen on the basis of being married to a Bajan (turned out to be a fourteen year blast); bore a lil' Bajan baby boy in Queen Elizabeth Hospital delivered by the son of the former Premier; was Secretary to Lord Beaverbrook's grandson - among other interesting experiences, lemme list just some of my civic donations for those who are unaware of 'em:

* planned and implemented the island's first Women's Political Caucus;

* named and helped Maude Wilkins start the island's first consumer organization - The Bajan Consumer League;

* provided office space and organizational assistance to the island's first Barbados Building Society;

* Set up and ran the island's first Babysitting business with trained-in-First-Aid sitters;

* helped teacher John Cumberbatch and others bring the Derek Walcott Trinidad/Tobago actors to Barbados (their first overseas 'gig');

* helped organize Jeannette Layne Clarke's Working Organization for Women;

* rescued a young female Canadian tourist from the clutches of the Coleridge Street Police Headquarters police (she'd called me hysterically from there asking for my help) - they'd grabbed her at six am one scary morning saying she was 'illegal;'

* was instrumental in starting- and became Advertising Manager for- the island's first women's magazine - "HERS;"

* helped form the Ursuline Convent School's first Parent/Teacher's Association (Dr. Kerr became its President);

* sat on The Commission To Liberalize The Abortion Legislation of Barbados with Dr. Hoyos;

* was responsible for Barrbados bringing Canadian Women's Activist Florence Byrd to advise the setting up of The Barbados National Enquiry Into The Status of Women - when I heard that she was vacationaing in St. James, I drove down to have a three hour conference with her. She said, "Carol, get your women's organization, WOW, to ask the Barbados Government - Errol Barow was Prime Minister - to ask the Canadian Government - Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister - to send me down here to advise, as I did for Canada, how to set up a National Enquiry Into the Status of Women and I'll gladly come!" So said: so done. However, even though it was I who initiated the entire series of events, appreciated Dr. 'Sleepy' Smith's fine support, I was never invited to sit on the commission which held the island-wide Hearings spreading the word/necessity for the upcoming Enquiry!

* planned and implemented the first Candlelight Demonstration at the newly-built National Stadium for the Bajan Consumer League Membership Drive (candles & matches donated by the Industrial Park merchants) - where, for the first time, the historically warring political party Representatives - DLP AND BLP - appeared together on the same platform;

* planned and gave the island's first-time-there wildly-sussessful Art Exhibit at the Coleridge Street Police Headquarters (for the Trinidad/Tobago artist Bosco Holder);

* was the only person who visited the Jamaican Journalist Carmen Baily in the murky, musty, moldy, smelly 'Remand' cell behind the Coleridge Street Police Headquarters (not even her Attorney Tom Adams, the Jamaican High Commission staff, The Jamaican Women's organization, the Queen Elizabeth Blood Bank staff (where Carmen had taken an entire soccer team to donate blood) or the Editors of the local papers she'd been writing for visited her)!

* wrote well-received articles for "The Daily News," The Advocate," "The Nation," "The Beacon," newspapers and for "The Bajan" magazine;

* started and edited "The Barbados Nursing Journal" - 'nursing' not 'nurse's' so that all of the medical and ancillary workers would feel free to contribute their writings;

* personally raised $6,500 in donations in one week for the first Barbados-Hosted Caribbean Boy Scout Jamboree (Directed by Colonel Laurence Gordon Quintyne MBE);

* years before the building of Sherbourne Convention Centre, wrote a newspaper column calling for a National Convention centre (not that any credit for such an innovative column would ever be publicly acknowledged!)

* orchestrated the donations of 1. A Printing Press and 2. a full set of Collier's Encyclopedia to the Barbados Boy Scouts Association;

* helped to revolutionize the island's previously all-white male-dominated advertising industry by publicizing the fact that it is the island's women who make the majority of consumer brand purchase decisions, who spend the money on consumer goods and are the dominant numbers of registered voters (in my 'information box' for 'HERS' magazine)- thereafter, the island's newspapers for the first time, began publishing a weekly 'Women's Section' and the political parties established 'Women's planks in their platforms - especially after I personally planted a notice that the women of Barbados were considering starting a Women's Political Party!';

* after personal research into what plans - as late as December 1974 - the month before the 1975 International Women's Year worldwide celebrations - that anyone had made for observing that important event - (no one had) - planned, named and implemented the Inernational Women's Year Steering Committee with the able support of and donation of the Black Rock Cultural Center's Catholic Church Father Malachy Clune; this was the first function of the newly-built centre;

* suggested the Barbadian Woman of the Year IWY competition (Mignon Greenidge won);

* got the renowned Barbadian artist Omowale to design the turtleshell IWY Pin (he did it for free!);

* refused an invitation by Cuba's Fidel Castro to represent Barbadian womanhood in Cuba for IWY - (I said I was not 'representative' of the island's majority females - so Billie Miller became the representative, and found herself surprisingly-spirited all the way to Moscow, Russia before being delivered to Cuba for the ceremonies;

* convinced eleven Barbadian families to purchase Colliers Encyclopedias in one week, beating all of the other salespersons in the Caribbean - thereby putting Barbados on the world map in encyclopedia sales;

* went with a mother (working at the local main TV corporation) who'd bought a pair of shoes for her schoolchild which had 'burst out' the first week - when the Broad Street shop owner'd refused to replace the shoes or refund her money she called me. I went, as a Bajan Consumer League representative, and convinced the shop owner to stop trying to send the distraught mother to the shoe manufacturer but instead to do the right thing and refund her hard-earned money to her).

Have I committed - or what!

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