Climate crisis: a fight for survival
Kevin Lashley sees himself as ‘chief servant.’
You won’t find Kevin Lashley sitting idly by as climate change alters the landscape of the Caribbean. Instead, he makes “people helping people” his mantra for serving others on his native island of Barbados and beyond.
“I want to do the best I can and not loiter on the streets of life,” Lashley says.
As board president at $7.5 million asset United Enterprise Credit Union Ltd. in Barbados, Lashley led efforts to gather water and supplies for the neighboring island of Dominica after Hurricane Maria struck in 2018 and for the nearby island of St. Vincent after a volcano erupted there in 2021.
“Today it is them, tomorrow it could be us,” Lashley says. “Keeps you humble.”
Lashley, who works as a business consultant, is acutely aware that climate change could bring more natural disasters to the Caribbean islands, even as rising waters erode the Barbados beaches that draw critical tourist revenue.
“The climate crisis is really a fight for survival, especially for small island developing states,” he says. “As Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley says, we are on the front lines of the climate crisis. That has implications for employment and quality of life.”
Lashley joined the United Enterprise board in 2009. His wide-ranging achievements include:
- Increasing green investments and championing a rooftop solar project.
- Receiving the International Credit Union Development Educator designation in 2022.
- Winning the World Council Young Credit Union Professionals (WYCUP) scholarship in 2019.
- Serving on the Barbados Cooperative and Credit Union League board, supervisory committee, and credit committee.
- Completing a successful merger with Shamrock, Barbados’ oldest credit union.
- Serving on the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions’ team that used grant funds to develop the Smart Finance app for young adults.
- Mentoring credit union professionals from the Caribbean and worldwide via esteemed founder Melvin Edwards’ CaribDE program.
Winning WYCUP and other awards gives Lashley a platform to speak on important issues, such as George Floyd’s death in 2020. “It was important that attention was drawn to issues such as this to effect change,” he says.
The support of his wife, daughters, parents, brother, and friends was crucial. Lashley’s early mentors, such as Hally Haynes, Keith Jones, Ashton Turney, Patrick McDonald, Anthony Pilgrim, Dalton Medford, and Drayton Carter, taught him the basics of being a credit unionist.
Now board president, he sees himself as chief servant. “As a leader, having a mindset that I am the ‘chief servant’ signals to me that I am the ‘person’ that has to help ‘a people.’”