“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free.” – Romans 8:2

One of the first persons that I greeted last Friday morning as I arrived at St. Mary’s church for the official funeral of Lady Dorothy Springer, widow of my uncle Sir Hugh Springer, said to me: “I still read your weekly column and noticed that you have gone from pink to white”.

She was of course referring to the colours of the paper on which the Barbados Advocate’s Business Monday and the Barbados Advocate Daily newspaper, respectively, are printed.

For some reason, my column did not appear in the Barbados Advocate’s Business Monday on July 6, even though I had submitted it as usual, but it appeared ‘in pink’ one week later on July 13. My July 13 column, at my request, then appeared ‘in white’ on Thursday, July 23 so I am now back on track with this week’s column.

I have fond memories of Uncle Hugh and Aunt Dolly or Aunt Pop, as she was affectionately known, from the late 1940s when they resided in Collymore Rock, Barbados. The next intervention was 1960 to 1963 when I was an undergraduate student at the UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica and their residence was a stone’s throw from Chancellor Hall where I was located.

We were next to meet in London in the late 60s when I was completing my post graduate studies and then not again until 1980 when they looked after my two sons (11 and 8) and me at their Kensington apartment on our visit to London. The occasion was the Second Test between and England and West Indies which was played at Lord’s cricket ground.

For West Indies cricket enthusiasts, that game will be remembered for the first innings second wicket stand of 223 between Desmond Haynes (184) and Vivian Richards (145), when Sir Viv expertly stroked Derek Underwood for six fours in an over starting at fine leg and systematically working his way around to third man with stops at mid wicket, mid-on, mid-off and cover point along the way. Poetry in motion on the cricket field.

The final period was when our respective families had both returned to Barbados in the second half of the 1980s.

Aunt Dolly, as was stated in the tributes at her farewell, was the epitome of free expression of love and care especially to the children of friends and family. Our experiences, over the years, confirmed these sentiments. May she rest in peace.

Last week I opined that “Barbados needs a strategic visioning retreat, among its primary stakeholders, to chart a way to the future, instead of trying to extinguish one socio-economic fire after another. A band aid approach is never optimal. One has to stop, look, listen and then act accordingly.”

A primary goal of the retreat should be to stimulate economic growth and the participants at this retreat should include all stakeholders: parliamentarians, civil servants, captains of industry, trade unionists, church leaders, the youth, visionaries and representatives of other segments of society. My hypothesis is that this interaction among such a wide cross section of society, expertly led by an experienced facilitator, would lead to new ideas which could be a breath of fresh air to guide the way forward.

An abstract from an article appearing on Caribbean News Now on the medical tourism sector follows: “The global medical tourism industry was pegged at US$10.5 billion in 2012. This is estimated to grow to $32.5 billion by 2019, developing at a strong compound annual growth rate of 17.9% during the forecast period.

“Medical tourism is considered to be the direct impact of the globalization of healthcare services. The industry is recognized to have immense growth potential in numerous emerging economies, as a rising number of countries are striving to become major exporters of medical services.

“Cultural similarities and geographic proximity play a vital role in the development of the medical tourism industry. Some of the key countries that have emerged as prominent centers of medical tourism are Costa Rica, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Turkey, India, Taiwan, Poland, Dubai, Mexico, Malaysia, and Singapore.”

May I share a recent experience where this dream to participate in the medical tourism industry has become a reality right here in the Caribbean. It was at the Health City Cayman Islands hospital in Grand Cayman where I had the opportunity, at a safe distance, to experience a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and other healthcare professionals expertly practise their profession at a state-of-the-art facility.This facility is funded in part by Indian philanthropist Dr. Devi Shetty.

As their website – www.healthcitycaymanislands.com – states: “Health City Cayman Islands, the consummate healthcare experience, provides healthcare services with a total focus on delivering an exceptional patient experience. If you are a medical traveler coming to Health City, or are already situated in the Cayman Islands or broader Caribbean region, you can be assured you will be treated by highly qualified specialists. You will know that while your healthcare is very affordable, there are no compromises to your quality of care, safety and overall healthcare experience. It’s quite the contrary. As a Health City patient you will receive a ‘Five Star’ experience across the continuum of your entire patient experience”.

The Cayman Islands boasts being a major international financial centre, a beautiful lush tropical paradise consisting of three islands and offering plenty for the water enthusiast along its famous Seven Mile Beach. A wonderful medical tourism industry opportunity being realised.

Let us think outside the box, see beyond the limited view of old ways of thinking, develop expansive thoughts, and open our minds to God-inspired thinking where we combine our imagination with our faith and experience a freedom never seen before.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)

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