During the study of linguistics, you learn that the primary building blocks of language are morphemes. Through an intimate knowledge of a language system (in this case, English) you can discover how words are governed by the rules which apply. In some cases, a morpheme cannot exist without another. We call this a “bound morpheme”. For example, “re-” is a bound morpheme with which we are familiar. When attached as a prefix to words like “bound” and “build”, it creates a positive synergy of rejuvenation.
Now, the “re” in “resilient” is not an independent morpheme. The word itself is used to describe someone or something able to emerge successfully from a difficult situation. The “re” in “respect” is also not an independent morpheme. When we show respect, we are tipping our hat to the admirable qualities of the subject of our lauding.
It’s been six months since the tranquil Caribbean islands, including my beautiful home of Anguilla, were shockingly accosted by the cataclysmic 2017 hurricane season. I will always reference this season as a shocking event because, although we live in Hurricane Alley and are well aware of the chances of experiencing a storm, never have we had to endure repeated blows like we did last year.
To be honest, if you had asked me six months ago where we would be now, I would not have told you we would be sipping blue-curaçao-infused vodka out of acrylic champagne flutes while the Chief Minister of Anguilla praised the stakeholders behind Anguilla’s newest development Tranquility Beach. We all opened our doors on September 6th and saw a land devoid of hope; on the six month marker of the last time I saw Anguilla before Hurricane Irma consumed our land, I had the privilege of being invited to the groundbreaking ceremony for Sunset Homes’ and Aries Capital’s collaborative effort.
During consecutive speeches by the developers– as well as representatives of Anguilla’s government– we were given an opportunity to reflect on the events which brought us to that moment. What stuck out to me as the undercurrent of the afternoon’s addresses was that they all in some way referenced the admirable ability of the Caribbean to rebound. The definition of the verb “rebound” literally describes exactly what we have done as a region: recover in value, amount, or strength after decline.
The actual Tranquility Beach project is not a new venture in Anguilla. Prior to Hurricane Irma, the property developers’ plans were apparent as evidenced from marketing material and preliminary activity at the site– a prime location on the centre of Meads Bay.
As many of my readers are aware, Meads Bay is my favourite beach. Its moods have entrapped me since I first laid eyes on it as a child. We have over 30 beaches, but none as temperamental as Meads Bay. In true form, on the day of the groundbreaking for Tranquility Beach, Meads Bay took the onus to put on a performance.
The proceedings were soundtracked by the steady rhythm of the ocean’s pulse against the shoreline. It was an amusing irony considering the branding “tranquility” was visible everywhere you turned. Incidentally, there was indeed a tranquil quality remixed in the din. Sometimes we find an idyllic element to natural noise.
What is most exemplary about the enterprise is the commitment to staying the course and continuing with the project. This is no revelation given that Tranquility Beach first built foundation in the mind of globally awarded local Architectural Designer and Developer Ian “Sugar George” Edwards, Anguilla’s own Randian hero. Having a personal connection to the land on which a dwelling resides projects a unique effect on a developer’s relationship with the cause.
As a Caribbean national, I have seen many investors recoil from developments following destabilising events like the force majeure which was Hurricane Irma. There is a relief in the buzz that was stirred during those tentative months of late 2017. Following a time when we had lost a significant amount of hope in the future, it was refreshing to feel the energy created by the reverberation of the Tranquility Beach project.
The most enticing aspect of this, to me, is the fact that it will be the only property of its ilk that was not rebuilt. So many other places will be seen through eyes filmed with the memory of what existed before. As we look at our landscape and call up the ghosts of buildings which were destroyed in the hurricane, we imagine a sort of phantom realm where things resume as they were, and no 298 km/h winds licked through to devour what we called relics, restaurants or resorts.
When we look at the site of Tranquility Beach we do not see something being rebuilt. We see something built for the first time. We see dedication to building something new, untouched by the winds of Irma or any other malevolent force; for the moment the sole place that can truly say it only existed physically in the wake of the post-apocalyptic hurricane conditions.
We stood in the wind-swarmed mist of the sea that day and witnessed the metaphor in the emotional, financial and industrial rebuild necessary for our island. We witnessed a team of people committed to staying the course in Anguilla, and the region, in spite of the inconsistency wavering during the period following the storms. We witnessed the rebuilding of morale, block by block.
If construction and development in Anguilla were to be reviewed in the context of language, as a visual morpheme (or if we were to conceptualise building a word with blocks of concrete) , Tranquility Beach can be re-imagined as a free-agent. Not bound to the occurrence of the hurricane, but rather bound by choice to augmenting advancement for the island of Anguilla.
*cover image from www.tranquilitybeachanguilla.com