bb: Hello Matthew, tell us where you were born, how old you are and a bit about your job…
MJ: I was born in 1982 at the Spring View Hospital, now called Hannah Thomas, right here in Barbuda. I will be 31 on September 27th this year.
bb: Tell us about your family.
MJ: My mother recently passed away and I have two brothers, I am the second there is one older than me and one younger than me, and I have one sister who is the third in the family.
bb: Tell us about your education and your work.
MJ: I went to Holy Trinity School in Barbuda and then went to the Antigua Barbuda International Institute of Technology (ABIIT) to study IT, which I qualified in. I have worked since I was at school when I started to work for the Palmetto hotel at the age of 15 until I was 17. I was a waiter so I have those skills, and I worked briefly at K Club as an admin assistant for Trevor Walker who was manager there at the time. I have had lots of other jobs such as designing company logos and websites. In 2004 I went into the civil service as a customs officer and have worked in Codrington since then, for nine years.
As a customs officer I have a great deal of responsibility – we are trained in all aspects of customs including the valuation of goods, the profiling of individuals and it’s very challenging, but I have had many new experiences and met new people. People arriving in Barbuda such as yachts, fishing vessels and the sand barge have to check in with me, and declare what they have.
bb: What is your favourite food in Barbuda and where is the place you like to go the most?
MJ: My favourite food is fungi and fish – I really like boiled Grouper. I like a local home-made lemonade or a cold Carib beer! The beach is not for me so my favourite place is to hang out in the village, maybe at Madison.
bb: What are your plans for the future Matthew?
MJ: My plans for the future are to continue to work in public service as I love serving the people of Barbuda and trying to make their lives easier when it comes to bringing goods and services to the island through customs. One day I might get into politics and serve on the Barbuda Council. I am active in Caribana – this year May the 16th to the 20th – and am in charge of the Calypso show.
bb: What advice would you give to young Barbudans?
MJ: Friedrich Nietzsche said,
‘On the mountain of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.’ This is my favourite quotation and my philosophy – in other words, never give up.
bb: Thank you Matthew, for being on “It’s My Life”, we wish you well for the future.