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The following is the 54th in a series of “open letters” written to United States President Barack Obama.

From the sandy beaches in the east to the rugged coastline on the west, Barbados - the most easterly of all the islands in the Caribbean - is one of the more populous and prosperous nations in the region with one of the highest standards of living in the developing world.

This is my favorite time of year and no other holiday, not Easter, Independence or any of the other brings me so much joy. For some reason, people are friendlier, nicer, gentler, more generous and cordial at this time. And even the non-believers will still jump on the bandwagon and take part in this festive season. Some even avoid pork during the year, but eat ham in this season.

He was going for a long time. It was time, indeed well past time. But still the heart catches when the news finally comes. Waking up to a world without Nelson Mandela is not unimaginable. We have come perilously close to it over and over again. The idea of Nelson Mandela was strong. But the reality of Nelson Mandela had been on life support for a long time.