English Legislation Revisited

March 1st, 2007
by George S. Crimmin

[private] v5-3-Speaking OutNot long ago I wrote a commentary on the decline of the English language here in the Bay Islands. The response was such that I believe a follow-up is in order. There is no doubt in my mind that what binds the island community together is the commonality of language. Through this medium our identity is established and mores, customs and traditions are passed on.

I mentioned in my earlier column that the National Congress finally passed a law in 1998 authorizing the teaching of English in the public schools. What I failed to mention was what it took to achieve that landmark decision. Nabipla, a local organization (Native Bay Islanders Professionals and Laborers Association) worked tirelessly lobbying for the passage of this bill. They were joined by other ethnic groups from across the country. I, for one, am very grateful to Nabipla for their courageous efforts in promoting this very important piece of legislation. We can only hope that their efforts were not in vain. The Bay Islands continues to be inundated with the flood of immigrants from the mainland, with no end in sight. One possible solution to this looming crisis is for our collective leaders; political, civic, and moral, to join forces and negotiate some form of autonomy for the Bay Islands.

This system has worked well for other Caribbean Islands, including San Andres and Curacao. To continue on our present path is to invite certain disaster. It is said that “the true measure of a people’s character is not what they get from their ancestors, but what they leave their descendants”. The time for us to act is now, while there is still something left worth preserving for our children and our children’s children. If not now, when? [/private]

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