Sing Mr. Calypsonian, Sing!!

Hartley Henry - DLP Political Strategist

“Boy, I hear Colin Spencer putting some blows in wunnah this year”. That was the refrain of the self declared independent commentator, whom I know to be an ardent supporter and financier of ‘the other side’.

He was thrilled that a known supporter, indeed a former candidate of the ruling Democratic Labour Party, had penned and was actually singing a song he, the observer, deemed critical of the government. As for me, I had not heard the tune. Indeed, in this, the third week of June, I have not heard many of the tunes for the 2010 season, but I guess that has to do more with my listening to the wrong stations. My daughter tells me I ‘have to get with it’, as there is much more to radio in Barbados than VOB and CBC. Truth to tell, I hardly turn my dial away from those two flagship stations; so that which is not played on either is not likely to be heard by me, unless someone calls and says ‘turn to so and so and listen’.

So I was not alarmed and still am not fazed by the fear of what could be contained in Colin’s song. I know Colin Spencer! He is a man of immense character and integrity and therefore he cannot be bought out or bought into. I have not heard the song, but I am sure it is solid social commentary, the likes for which genuine kaiso lovers yearn.

The prediction by the gentleman, who drew the existence of the song to my attention, was that it would lead to a parting of ways between Colin Spencer and the DLP. Now, from where would he have gotten such an idea? That is not the DLP’s way and it is certainly not how David Thompson operates. That period in our country’s recent history, when people had to fear recrimination and victimization for expressing their views, is over. Barbados is, once again, a free society!

The new government has been in office for two and a half years and in an economic environment such as that which it inherited, it is to be expected that one or two Calypsonians will throw a punch or two this year. I have no problem with that. Indeed, I am looking forward to going out to the tents and enjoying the high quality music and social commentaries that are produced. I also need to hear what the masses are saying so that informed analyses can be made and remedial actions taken. That is what government of the people, for the people and by the people, is all about.

Actually, I went to the launch of Digicel Big Show last Sunday and had a wonderful time. If I had gotten close to Serenader I would have told him that he needs a second song, and that perhaps he should try a little social commentary and comment on a few things that are going wrong in the country today. That is the job of the Calypsonian. TC tried a ting but I am not sure where she is going with the song Stimulus, because, quite frankly, it is rather poorly written. I loved Bag’s La La and the young man Sheldon Hope is inching closer and closer to the title. But, such reviews are to be left for the journalists. I go to the tents to enjoy myself and this weekend, Eleanor Rice has threatened to sever a near 30 year family friendship if I do not visit the All Stars Tent at Solidarity House. So that’s where I am headed Friday night and she tells me Singing Francine is going to make a Guest Appearance, so that’s even better.

But, back to Colin Spencer, who incidentally sings with the All Stars Tent and whom I will hear ‘for myself’ this weekend. I am not afraid of any fallout from anything that Colin sings, because, as I said before, I know Colin and, Errol Barrow was right, a true Dem cannot be anything other than a Dem. Those who jumped and went elsewhere and have not returned were never true Dems. They were political investors looking for a more than fair return on invested time, intellect and resources. Colin Spencer is a Dear Loving Person and therefore his intention, I am sure, is to help and not to harm. My wish is that those in the party who have ears to hear, will hear, and hearken any good advice.

It is very difficult for persons who had gotten accustomed to political persecution, bordering on tyrannical rule, to understand and appreciate the style of leadership evident in Barbados today. There is no attempt by anyone to become “The Maximum Leader”. There is no need for anyone to throw their weight around as a means of emphasizing who is in charge. That is for those who woke up one morning and found themselves at the helm. The current leadership of this country earned that which is bestowed and is therefore comfortably in charge.

That is why one does not have to run and panic at the thought of a biting calypso. The current series of Constituency Conferences has provided a similar opportunity for Barbadians to vent. We all acknowledge that this is a difficult period the country is going through. We would each like a little more of something, but, at the same time, none of us is willing to contribute an additional cent towards its delivery. That calls for balance. It calls for level headed and sure footed leadership and that is what we are fortunate to have in this country at this critical juncture. Cool, calm and collective leadership that is focused on what’s best for Barbados and not what is politically expedient or what enriches a few sidekicks.

So, the calypso season is upon us, and as with the call-in programmes, there will be an expression of differing views. This is good for our democracy. People must be allowed to express themselves. Constructive criticism is healthy. Objective commentary is encouraged. We need for ideas to contend so that at the end of the day, we emerge with a realistic formula for taking our country forward. That is how we do it in Barbados. That is what makes this country so great.

Come out and support the Calypsonians. See you in the tents!

Hartley Henry is a Regional Political Strategist. He can be reached at


  • Is this damage control Henry is doing as far as Colin Spencer is concerned?

    PR 101!


  • Yes it is. It is intended for those who forget quick and not for any concern with the DLP leadership. If the public falling out between Dennis Kellman and Thompson did not lead to any permanent damage how could a calypso by Colin Spencer so do?

    Uh just asking?


  • A long time supporter of the DLP told me that one of the reasons the DLP lose elections easily is because they do not look after they hard core supporters. He emphasized that it was not about any fatted calf because that is only for the big boys but simple things like getting a job.
    Now why could Colin Spencer be a candidate and did well and could not be a senator? There is a guy who would call every day in support of the DLP when they were in the opposition now he is attacking Dennis Lowe his MP on a constant basis. There must be some falling out there. When the BLP is in government you never hear that publicly from their supporters.


  • Truly P.R. 101. But I agree that everybody should get out and enjoy the festival. There is no shortage on material this year, RPB should have a ball – The gunslinger, clico, selling family silver, hospital to be or not to be; buying Sam Lords; where all de jobs gone, walkout by Mia, can’t find de budget, zoning; frequent flier miles racked up gov’t ministers, teams, and board members first class; fatted calf share out; Arthur’s attack on Mia; promises, promises, promises -no integrity legislation, no agricultural preservation act; party hearty, government spending on party hearty. If the Dems get some heat, treat it like the BEEs, they party hearty to Jack, Boots, Mr. T. I agree with HH learn from it.


  • @ HH

    A curious fact that I would love explained politically, is the fact that people have changed from both sides, however Bees who change go back or get out of politics; the DEms that change seldom go back though. Hammie is a special case of a travelling salesman, have constituents will travel with who will feed me. Is Johnny come lately back with you? He would be the only genuine case. Not sure of role call but have more Dems left than Bees.


  • More fire in de wire

    This article is poised for more fire, fire, in de wire, wire!

    Hit me with political music!


  • It is great to be back on here after a much deserved break for the ironing out of certain technical issues and for the planning for our participation in the next general election in Barbados.



  • Wait, VOB finally get the courage to fire Lil Ric? Better late than never. Vic must be winching though, lil Ric represents MONEY.


  • Wishing In Vain

    David, I think that we would all agree both the VOB stations and the Nation Newspaper have been on the receiving end of some pressure.

    Could not happen to a better group of companies, Sir Fred Gollop must be wondering what he has done wrong.

    The CBC Morning show has taken a major lift over VOB, well done to the management and staff of the CBC.


  • @WIV

    Even if your point is accepted pressure was put on Starcom to clean up the airwaves. How do you explain lil rick recruited by SLAM 101.1 and is scheduled to be on air today?


  • Wishing In Vain

    I have no idea other than maybe economic factors or maybe he has signed an agreement to stay clean on SLAM.
    Who knows ?


  • When is HH going to realize that no one is paying him any attention? Jee whizz! People only ready the Advocate because it’s free on the Internet. Oooops!


  • Word is that Satia Bradshaw who is the BLP candidate for Michael South East and who owns Pyramid, a company which manages/books for 27 Barbadian artistes has not been able to book work with the NCF during Crop Over so far. A case of the fatted calf being distributed with bias?


  • Wishing In Vain

    I seem to remember this same Bradshaw attempting to hold the Crop over event to ransom last year maybe they are trying to avoid the power plays as has happened in the past.


  • Wishing In Vain

    You also know that after her attempt to bully her style onto the NC,F that last year because no settlement could be reached with her that many of her charge were not used because of the highly excessive fees she priced these services out at ?

    She may do well to approach the table with a more sensible position and fee structure than where she was at last time, so much so some of the artiste were so eager to work for the fees that the NCF offered and paid that some of them performed against her wishes.

    In her setup she was not at all concerned if her people got work and got paid her politics dictated that she should try to rape the NCF as a show of force or else not let those she can control not work, the old people used to say half a loaf is better than no loaf in her case she did not give her people the opportunity to see, smell or taste the loaf.


  • Any government member worth their salt, in any country, would be advised to listen well to criticism and take the time to separate the constructive criticism and ‘people’s wishes’ from the political whinging.

    To ignore the populace is the main ingredient for disaster. It is clear that Errol Barrow knew this, I am not so sure about ANY leader since then.

    Possibly why he was so successful as a leader.


  • @WIV

    Could it be the NCF people responsible for negotiating contracts/agreements are incompetent and maybe intimidated by Bradshaw who is someone who knows her onions? Why should her political affiliation influence this matter?



  • Lill Rick is is one of the best performers Barbados has produced.

    People over 30 may not appreciate his hypa drive performances and some of his stuff is edgy but he will do well outside of Barbados.

    I agree the airwaves should be cleaned up and the stations should play radio edited material.

    Some of this generation of performers should learn from Sparrow who sang bare wutlessness using clean language.May May,Jean an Dinah,de two ah dem,

    watch the youtube video titled “de two ah dem”.


  • For those interested in the Lil Rick VOB matter here is a response from his manager/lawyer Santia Bradshaw lifted from FB:

    On the 19th June, 2010 Rickey Reid a.k.a Lil Rick played a song during the Mackeson Triple Tunes live radio show which contained explicit and offensive lyrical content. Despite initial reports by Starcom Network Inc that Lil Rick did not apologise for his actions, I wish to confirm that upon realizing the error which had been made, Lil Rick played the radio friendly version of the recording. He also immediately contacted Mr. Ronnie Clarke, Programme Manager of Starcom Network and Mr. Ricky Nurse CEO and Divisional Manager of Brydens Distribution, the sponsor of the Mackeson Triple Tunes show to which he is presently contracted to inform them of what had transpired. After concluding dialogue with both individuals, Lil Rick apologized to his listeners on radio for his actions.
    In a statement issued on the 24th June, 2010 on Hott 95.3 FM’s website- Starcom unequivocally stated that Lil Rick did not apologise for his actions. This assertion was repeated at page 3 of the Nation newspaper’s article of the 25th June, 2010.

    Starcom would later admit through Mr. Ronnie Clarke during the Brasstacks programme on the 25th June, 2010 that Lil Rick did in fact apologise for his actions.

    It is also questionable why Starcom would seek to upload the extract of the incident on its website but omit to upload also Lil Rick’s apology which would also have been in their possession. The attempts by Starcom to deliberately mislead the public both in the electronic, radio and print media thereby causing the public to question Lil Rick’s motives and also his remorse for his actions is reckless.

    Starcom has further misled the public by deliberately giving the impression that Lil Rick was employed by them at the time of the incident and was therefore fired during the course of his employment. In their online statement issued on the 24th June, 2010 Starcom made reference not only to various documents which members of staff would have signed but also implied that Lil Rick had on occasion been counseled, reprimanded and disciplined on three prior occasions in accordance with “established employee protocols.”

    This was coupled with an announcement on various radio stations of Starcom Network that the circumstances under which Lil Rick had been “fired” would be ventilated on the Brasstacks programme on the 25th June, 2010. Also at page 3 of the Nation newspaper’s article of the 25th June, 2010, Mr. Trevor Yearwood quoted Starcom Network Inc. as having taken action against Lil Rick “in keeping with our established employee protocols.”

    Over the course of the past few days, both myself and Lil Rick have been inundated with telephone calls about him being fired from Starcom. This has been further agitated by headlines in the Nation newspaper which have read as follows “Dawg Gone- Starcom fires Lil Rick over dirty lyrics” and “ Starcom defends decision to fire popular DJ” on the 25th June and 26th June, 2010 respectively.

    I wish to categorically state that Lil Rick was not employed or subject to a contract of employment by Starcom Network at the time of this incident. At the material time, he was under a contract for services with Brydens Distribution which commenced on the 2nd May, 2009 to provide several services to the Mackeson brand including the hosting of the Triples Tunes programme between the hours of 12-3pm on Hott 95.3 FM. To the best of my knowledge, Brydens Distribution entered into an agreement directly with Starcom Network Inc. with the understanding that Lil Rick would host the weekly programme. At no time during the course of Lil Rick’s engagement with Bryden’s Distribution has he received any formal document or protocols of any nature relating to his on air presence or relative to Starcom Network Inc.’s position as it relates to the broadcast of the show.

    I am in possession of official correspondence from Ms Veoma Ali, Advertising Manager of Starcom Network Inc. dated 23rd June, 2010 and received on the 24th June, 2010 addressed to me in my capacity as the manager of Lil Rick stating inter alia that, “we wish to officially submit our decision to no longer allow Ricky Reid (Lil Rick) on the airwaves of the Starcom Network of Stations.” There is no mention in the said correspondence of Lil Rick being subject to a contract of employment. I again question the motives of the authors of Starcom Network’s press releases and the subsequent statements of its agents as they seek to convey impressions which are false and reckless in nature and content.

    Starcom has also implied that Lil Rick’s acted in a way which was in contravention of customary practice at Starcom Network Inc. with respect to the playing of music which was not in their system. I can confirm that the song which Lil Rick played was not in the system at Starcom Network Inc. However, it must be pointed out that Lil Rick’s actions were not an irregular occurrence in the course of his on air presence at Starcom and it was well known and condoned by the station over the years that he would play songs from his laptop or from CD’s brought onto the premises. To imply otherwise is to mislead the public that he was acting contrary to established and accepted practice by the management of Starcom Network Inc.

    I have by letter dated 25th June, 2010 expressed my concern to Starcom Network Inc. in my capacity as Lil Rick’s attorney-at-law that some of the statements published by Starcom via the internet and in the local press are grossly defamatory and are calculated to cause injury to his reputation.

    I have demanded a public retraction of the published statement, an apology in terms to be approved by me and I have notified them of our intention to claim monetary compensation for the injury to Lil Rick’s reputation.



    Charlton Chambers

    Whitepark Road

    St. Michael


  • Wishing In Vain

    Very shallow indeed, he was not wrong to play the banned music because they allowed him to bring in his Laptop and his CD’s.

    If there is a standing protocal and the young man failed to bobey it and he choose to break it he must pay the price, this is a load mumble jumble from a person earning her keep but the real facts are that if VOB tells you X Y and Z are banned and you opt to play them then expect VOB to do what they have to do make themselves comfortable and no amount of mumble jumble from a sidewalk lawyer can change the fact that if he is wrong he is wrong, he knew what he was not to play and he played it anyway and don’t bring that rubbish to me that he did not know what he played as it was an accident that to is rubbish, people have car accidents and get sent to prison for these accidents so an accident is no excuse for his choice of action.


  • Wishing In Vain

    Bradshaw who is someone who knows her onions? Are you certain about that ?

    All I know is that her bull headed position prevented these guys from collecting a salary last year and if they listen to her this year they may do the same this year again, she needs to become sensible and reasonable in her discussions with the organisers.

    Please remind her next time she reads your site that her known onions placed a constituency office for herself in St Michael East, Mr Kenny Best’s Constituency this just about sums up how sharp this lady really is.


  • Very shallow indeed, he was not wrong to play the banned music because they allowed him to bring in his Laptop and his CD’s.

    If there is a standing protocal and the young man failed to bobey it and he choose to break it he must pay the price, this is a load mumble jumble from a person earning her keep but the real facts are that if VOB tells you X Y and Z are banned and you opt to play them then expect VOB to do what they have to do make themselves comfortable and no amount of mumble jumble from a sidewalk lawyer can change the fact that if he is wrong he is wrong, he knew what he was not to play and he played it anyway and don’t bring that rubbish to me that he did not know what he played as it was an accident that to is rubbish, people have car accidents and get sent to prison for these accidents so an accident is no excuse for his choice of action.


    You are being disingenuous by this comment. The point being made is that it is also disingenuous for VOB to use this point as a basis for discipline when it was something which was condoned by them and know by all. Let the record show BU holds no brief for lil rick or Bradshaw.


  • Wishing In Vain

    Did he or did he not play songs against the instructions and direction of VOB if he did he was wrong if he did not they need to humble an apologise.


  • If I can just inject a little ‘on topic’ offering here.. I just heard Spencer perform the song in question and it really is pure truth. I have tried to reach 3 or 4 parliamentary representatives including mine, D. Lowe and was unsuccessful. The numbers and email addresses listed on the DLP website are all changed or defunct now.

    To HH aka WIV … how does one reach a member of the DLP in these times? Do I need to pay a fee and hope to gain their attention after x or y conference? Battle the throngs at the constituency council meetings where I am almost sure I will be promised a call and not get one?

    I would like to get my representative during business hours in person, at a desk where he can act on my concerns as a constituent.

    Ridiculous request right?

    Anyhow, elections soon come. Think I’ll try my hand at being ignored by the BLP instead.


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