I was born in Leicester in the UK on the 26th January 1989 and first came to live on Barbuda when I was three years old. I stayed here until I returned to the UK to go to secondary school at the age of fourteen; this was before Sir McChesney George School was built and there wasn’t a secondary school here – everyone stayed at Holy Trinity! My mum is from England and my dad is Barbudan. I have one brother – Prince, and a sister Afiya.
I went to Low School, then to Holy Trinity where I was a Young Leader, was in the choir, took part in Spellbound on tv and was in the Youth Rally. I did well at school and won several prizes including the Most Disciplined Student. In the UK I achieved my GCSE’s and went to university in London to do Caribbean Studies and History – I wrote my dissertation on the history of the Barbudan land. I was a Student Ambassador at university to encourage other youth to stay in education.
After this I came back to Barbuda – I always wanted to return home – and was lucky enough to get a Antiguan government educational scholarship to go to Cuba to study Spanish, along with other young Barbudans who were studying Medicine, Languages and Childhood education. I then became a teacher at Sir McChesney George Secondary school – teaching history.
In May 2015 I entered the Miss Caribana Queen competition and to my surprise I won, winning a brand new car. After that I went on to take part in Miss Antigua Barbuda in June and was delighted to be the winner of that competition too. I was then entered into Jaycees where I came second to Miss Montserrat. The support I had from my Barbudan island family on this journey was amazing – I feel very proud to represent Barbuda. I would have liked to bring Miss Universe to Barbuda too…!
Since then I have experienced the most traumatic event of my life – Hurricane Irma – where I saw my beloved island torn apart by nature. Afterwards I couldn’t recognise places I have known since childhood. Our lives here were put on hold as we were evacuated to Antigua. A huge fund-raising and international aid effort has taken up the last year. I also decided it was time to run for the Barbuda Council and was elected in 2017, and now hold the position of Chairperson of Tourism, Culture and Youth Affairs on the Council. My aims are to challenge the corruption that warps our country; bring appropriate and sustainable tourism development to Barbuda and provide real opportunities for young people, starting with a new outdoor playground for the children. I have also put my university research to good use by writing a history of Barbuda that explains the history of communal land ownership to those who have trouble understanding it…
My favourite drink is the Coconut Crush drink from Big Banana at the airport!
My favourite food – this is really difficult – but top must be Ducana with Conchs and chop up.
My favourite place is Palmetto beach when there are those very big waves.
My message to young Barbudans is this – even though opportunities here are limited it is up to us youth to make a difference. Educate yourselves and give something back to your country.
Thanks Asha, for this interview. Good luck with whatever you do next.