Categorized | Local, News, Opinions

What’s in a dream?

Shirley Osborne

Shirley Osborne

Some people in Montserrat are dreaming. Everybody in Montserrat dreams at least sometimes. It’s natural and it is sweet, fantastical escape. Sometimes.

Most people know, though, that dreams are never what they appear to be. In Montserrat, everybody knows, “Dream about the dead, you will hear from the living.” “Dream about a wedding, you going to a funeral.” “Dream that you’re laughing; prepare yourself, ‘cause soon, you goin’ be bawling.” “Dream that somebody kisses you? Watch out for Judas! Somebody goin’ betray you.”

Then, sometimes, the exact opposite happens!!

So, actually, when you think about it, the one thing certain about dreams, is that dreams are not to be trusted. Ever. You can’t trust dreams. Wise people know that.

Dreams can turn your world upside down; they promise all kinds of marvels, and bring despair instead. You know how many times you wake up from deep in a dream, loving every minute of it, and the instant you open your eyes, everything disappears. Nothing remains of your lovely dream. Not a blessed thing. In fact, you can just barely even remember that you were dreaming.

But, the bad ones – the nightmares, because yes! nightmares are dreams, too – man, they stick like super glue! Try as you hard as you can, you can’t shake the bad feeling, the bad taste, the dread that these dreams leave, even when you can’t remember a thing else about them!

Right now, most Montserratians struggle to remember the good times we used to have, because the bad dreams have been coming so hard and so fast.

The hurricane that some people say started it all;

the volcano that, just like dreams, cannot be trusted, no matter how quiet and calm it appears sometimes;

the family and friends who were forced to leave, never to return;

the hardships of housing that is poorly built, falling apart, and unsafe;

the poverty that makes it hard to eat a decent meal;

the fear of standing up or speaking out;

the hopelessness generated by despotic and disengaged leaders;

the kickbacks, quid pro quos, and capricious duty-frees;

the dying for lack of an oxygen mask in the ambulance or fear of asbestos poisoning in school – Oh. So long the list!

If I did not know that better is indeed possible, I would die of despair.

I know that better is possible, though, because, like many people I can remember when the AUC was being built – a time of great prosperity for Montserratians, a construction boom among other things. The Chief Minister of the time insisted that the local Montserratian builders, carpenters, masons, electricians and contractors various had to be the ones to build those classrooms, dorm-rooms, laboratories and  roads. He was determined that the wealth go not to just one or two, but would be shared in by EVERYBODY. And it was. Reality. No waiting. No dream.

Most Montserratians dreamt of participating in the wealth they were led to believe the Little Bay development would bring. Are they waking up, yet?

Some people would remember that there was once a group of foreign investors eager to develop Bransby Point that, however, did not come to pass. Fortunately for us all, the Chief Minister of the time was wise and steadfast. Whatever else he did or didn’t do, he always, always stood up for Montserratians – with every inch of his not-very-tall self.

He knew that any development constructed around Bransby Point would result in restricted access to Montserratians – to whom Bransby Point, he was adamant – belonged and had to continue to belong. The investors gave assurances that Montserratians would not be hindered at all, but the wise man knew that even if the gate was always wide open, Montserratians would be effectively discouraged and disinclined to go to Bransby Point. A de facto exclusion. There would be no such thing happening in his lifetime, he declared. Not even in his dreams!!

Little Bay, however, the “new town” being carrot-on-a-sticked to Montserratians, has at its waterfront, businesses neither owned by nor intended for Montserratians, a tourist resort, a Royal Montserrat Yacht Club for international visitors, all of which Montserratians will have to walk through if they want to get to their Little Bay, which will be covered in white sand, imported, for the aesthetics of visitors, from Somewhere. In Somebody’s dream. I fervently hope that Montserratians are waking from that dream right about now.

What’s the difference between a dream and a nightmare? Depends on the dreamer, perhaps? Perspective, maybe? One team’s dream is everybody else’s nightmare?

Most people, I imagine, dream of having a life that gets better as the days and years go by; of having health and strength and opportunities that hold promise of, if not actually, ensure, a bright future for friends and families; of having enough to eat and money enough to buy the bare necessities, at the very least; of being able to start a small business for the pleasure and the profit of the thing; of being able to speak their minds clearly and quietly or out loud, without fear of official retribution or governmental retaliation; of being able to send their children to a school which recognises and supports their individual skills and aptitudes; of being able to work for decent pay and not be exploited because of immigrant status; and most Montserratians, I know, yearn for those days when their house keys were a formality not a necessity, when fences and gates were erected strictly to keep out marauding goats and sheep, not thieving neighbours and murderous ex-lovers.

What’s the difference between a dream and a nightmare? Depends on the dreamer, perhaps. Perspective, maybe. One team’s dream come true, is everybody else’s nightmare realised.

Montserratians don’t need to dream about health and wealth, and success and prosperity. These things can be our reality again. Montserratians can have these things. And we shall. Again. Really.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Shirley Osborne

Shirley Osborne

Some people in Montserrat are dreaming. Everybody in Montserrat dreams at least sometimes. It’s natural and it is sweet, fantastical escape. Sometimes.

Most people know, though, that dreams are never what they appear to be. In Montserrat, everybody knows, “Dream about the dead, you will hear from the living.” “Dream about a wedding, you going to a funeral.” “Dream that you’re laughing; prepare yourself, ‘cause soon, you goin’ be bawling.” “Dream that somebody kisses you? Watch out for Judas! Somebody goin’ betray you.”

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Then, sometimes, the exact opposite happens!!

So, actually, when you think about it, the one thing certain about dreams, is that dreams are not to be trusted. Ever. You can’t trust dreams. Wise people know that.

Dreams can turn your world upside down; they promise all kinds of marvels, and bring despair instead. You know how many times you wake up from deep in a dream, loving every minute of it, and the instant you open your eyes, everything disappears. Nothing remains of your lovely dream. Not a blessed thing. In fact, you can just barely even remember that you were dreaming.

But, the bad ones – the nightmares, because yes! nightmares are dreams, too – man, they stick like super glue! Try as you hard as you can, you can’t shake the bad feeling, the bad taste, the dread that these dreams leave, even when you can’t remember a thing else about them!

Right now, most Montserratians struggle to remember the good times we used to have, because the bad dreams have been coming so hard and so fast.

The hurricane that some people say started it all;

the volcano that, just like dreams, cannot be trusted, no matter how quiet and calm it appears sometimes;

the family and friends who were forced to leave, never to return;

the hardships of housing that is poorly built, falling apart, and unsafe;

the poverty that makes it hard to eat a decent meal;

the fear of standing up or speaking out;

the hopelessness generated by despotic and disengaged leaders;

the kickbacks, quid pro quos, and capricious duty-frees;

the dying for lack of an oxygen mask in the ambulance or fear of asbestos poisoning in school – Oh. So long the list!

If I did not know that better is indeed possible, I would die of despair.

I know that better is possible, though, because, like many people I can remember when the AUC was being built – a time of great prosperity for Montserratians, a construction boom among other things. The Chief Minister of the time insisted that the local Montserratian builders, carpenters, masons, electricians and contractors various had to be the ones to build those classrooms, dorm-rooms, laboratories and  roads. He was determined that the wealth go not to just one or two, but would be shared in by EVERYBODY. And it was. Reality. No waiting. No dream.

Most Montserratians dreamt of participating in the wealth they were led to believe the Little Bay development would bring. Are they waking up, yet?

Some people would remember that there was once a group of foreign investors eager to develop Bransby Point that, however, did not come to pass. Fortunately for us all, the Chief Minister of the time was wise and steadfast. Whatever else he did or didn’t do, he always, always stood up for Montserratians – with every inch of his not-very-tall self.

He knew that any development constructed around Bransby Point would result in restricted access to Montserratians – to whom Bransby Point, he was adamant – belonged and had to continue to belong. The investors gave assurances that Montserratians would not be hindered at all, but the wise man knew that even if the gate was always wide open, Montserratians would be effectively discouraged and disinclined to go to Bransby Point. A de facto exclusion. There would be no such thing happening in his lifetime, he declared. Not even in his dreams!!

Little Bay, however, the “new town” being carrot-on-a-sticked to Montserratians, has at its waterfront, businesses neither owned by nor intended for Montserratians, a tourist resort, a Royal Montserrat Yacht Club for international visitors, all of which Montserratians will have to walk through if they want to get to their Little Bay, which will be covered in white sand, imported, for the aesthetics of visitors, from Somewhere. In Somebody’s dream. I fervently hope that Montserratians are waking from that dream right about now.

What’s the difference between a dream and a nightmare? Depends on the dreamer, perhaps? Perspective, maybe? One team’s dream is everybody else’s nightmare?

Most people, I imagine, dream of having a life that gets better as the days and years go by; of having health and strength and opportunities that hold promise of, if not actually, ensure, a bright future for friends and families; of having enough to eat and money enough to buy the bare necessities, at the very least; of being able to start a small business for the pleasure and the profit of the thing; of being able to speak their minds clearly and quietly or out loud, without fear of official retribution or governmental retaliation; of being able to send their children to a school which recognises and supports their individual skills and aptitudes; of being able to work for decent pay and not be exploited because of immigrant status; and most Montserratians, I know, yearn for those days when their house keys were a formality not a necessity, when fences and gates were erected strictly to keep out marauding goats and sheep, not thieving neighbours and murderous ex-lovers.

What’s the difference between a dream and a nightmare? Depends on the dreamer, perhaps. Perspective, maybe. One team’s dream come true, is everybody else’s nightmare realised.

Montserratians don’t need to dream about health and wealth, and success and prosperity. These things can be our reality again. Montserratians can have these things. And we shall. Again. Really.