Sing Mr. Calypsonian, Sing!!
“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!