We are more alike than we are different.

Those were the sentiments shared by Premier Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley as he addressed the AfriCarribean Forum on the issue of culture.

“When we meet each other, we learn things about each other because really we realise that we’re the same people”, he said.

Using the BVI as an example of a melting pot that has allowed persons from various cultures and nationalities to come together and pool their minds and skills, Premier Wheatley said that this places the territory in the optimum position for the development of common agendas and integration.

He said, “Places where you have lots of migration I believe can become really central points for pushing the global and regional agenda, both the African-Caribbean relationship as well as Caribbean integration. We have to be at the forefront and at the lead because of course we’ve been taught for so long that we have differences which divide us, and we focus on some of the very minute differences as opposed to focusing on the overwhelming similarities between us. So it’s also about a mindset as we’ve been speaking about before.”

Dr. Wheatley, who was featured on a panel at the time, said that it is imperative that people from the Caribbean Region and the African Region engage in discussions and work together to progress their respective development agendas from a place of common ground.

He added that for far too long, both regions have allowed others to exploit their human resources.

“Really, ultimately and truly we’re the same people. We dress the same, we Walk the same, we listen to the same types of music, we eat the same types of food and what we have to train our mindsets to do is to not allow others to exploit our talents, exploit our creativity and exploit all our skills for their own benefit, and use it for our own benefit”, Wheatley said.