I sat to ponder on the topic of this article in mid August, when there were so many adverse events taking place globally. Besides the various wars, there were:
- Raging fires in Moscow
- Extreme flooding in Pakistan and China
- Global markets still rallying
- Little signs of recovery in the more developed nations
- Major oil spills on two continents …
Then I gazed through the windows in my office and was struck by just how incredibly lucky we are to live in paradise.
My husband is not originally from Barbados and earlier in our marriage, I asked when would we return to the UK. His immediate response then and each time since, has been, why would we want to; all of my family, friends and colleagues envy my lifestyle here in Barbados, so why?
So, why choose Barbados indeed.
Surrounded by turquoise sea and measuring 166 square miles, Barbados is, by most standards, a mere speck in the ocean. Yet, little Barbados, has developed into the destination of choice for generations of elite A-list celebrities, world leaders and multimillionaires. How does Barbados do this and still maintain its remarkably paradoxical existence?
Barbados was settled by the English in 1627 and a democratic parliamentary system was established as early as 1639, making it
the third oldest parliament in the world. Barbados gained independence in 1966.By the 18th century, due to the tremendous success of its sugar based economy, Barbados was referred to as “the richest spot of land on earthâ€. Most of the plantation owners chose to live in Barbados rather than being absentee landowners. This resulted in a very good national infrastructure and the building of numerous magnificent coral-stone Plantation Great Houses, many of which are still in perfect condition today.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Barbados was the headquarters of the British Military Forces in the West Indies, with the largest Garrison in the Caribbean. These classic military buildings still stand today and Barbados boasts one of the world’s finest cannon collections.
Mount Gay Rum, made from sugar, the rum that invented rum, the world’s oldest and I daresay, finest brands, has been produced in Barbados since 1703. Tourism rapidly replaced sugar as the main engine of the island’s economy. Barbados is home to some of the world’s finest hotels and superb residential lifestyle theme communities — such as the world re-known Sandy Lane, one of the most prestigious and luxurious hotels in the world today with amenities including a 45,000 square foot spa and three worldclass golf courses; Apes Hill Club offering polo and a world class golf course; Royal Westmoreland with a Robert Trent-Jones Jr golf course; Port St. Charles built around a luxurious marina; Sugar Hill, with an attractive tennis centre.
As the standard of the tourism product has risen, so too has the quality of the cuisine available — both in terms of world acclaimed restaurants and our own special indigenous fare — I dare you to try a flying fish cutter and not enjoy it!
Endowed with a rich architectural heritage from its earliest times — St Nicholas Abbey, dating back to 1658, is the oldest house in the western hemisphere, sugar is still crushed by old steam engines here and St Nicholas produces its own branded rum, sugar and molasses – Barbados has further benefitted in more recent times from generations of extremely wealthy and generous people who have made significant investments in the construction of impressive, multi-million dollar holiday homes, mostly along the “Platinum Coastâ€ of Barbados.
Families who move to Barbados absolutely love it here as it is such a safe and wonderful environment within which to raise children: a world class education system, in which Government continues to invest approximately 20% of its national budget; the best healthcare facilities serviced by the largest number of experienced medical professionals in the region; the immense selection of picture perfect beaches — clean and safe with loads of activities like kite-boarding, surfing, sailing all available. Families can enjoy picnics and other gatherings on the beaches, even at night — just pack up the cooler with some of those fish cutters and don’t forget our award winning Banks beer — and enjoy a spectacular full moon in the open.
Residents can also enjoy a wide selection of events and festivals including our annual Jazz, Crop Over, Steel Pan and Culinary Festivals, plus the Holders Opera Season; National Trusts hikes; a huge number of sporting events including world class polo, horse racing, car rallying, sailing, surfing, boxing, hockey and cricket of course!
And, because you now live in paradise, there will be others wanting to remain in contact and visit as often as possible. Barbados enjoys a sophisticated telecommunications infrastructure and an admirable air transport hub — the most easterly of the Caribbean islands, it is just over three hours by plane from Miami, four and a half from New York and just under eight hours from London, with excellent services by major airlines.
This morning, resplendent with picture perfect blue skies, light breeze and clean air, it took me 17 minutes to drive into our office, working my way along country roads, lined with beautiful mature trees, until I reached the bustling south coast where I then enjoyed tempting glimpses of the ocean … really, the question is: “Why NOT Choose Barbadosâ€!