Notes From a Native Son: The End of Dependency Development Has Come

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
Now that the majority of the developed economies, the OECD-member states, are growing, and Barbados has drifted deeper in to recession, we now await political and business leaders to tell us what are their master plans for rescuing, stabilising and growing the local economy. It means that finance minister Chris Sinckler and his adviser can no longer hide behind the crude excuse of the global crisis for their ineptitude. The ruling DLP is trapped between a lust for power and the development of an applied programme for economic change. We have seen that when faced with a serious economic crisis, it has no ideological depth to fall back on, no ideas of the kind of society it will like to see since its political modus operandi has always been the status quo. As a result it has been forced to seek economic ideas from an intellectually exhausted band of elderly academics who, clearly, have lost touch with new developments in their own discipline. So, like a comedian past his best days who depends on the old jokes told in the same way for his laughs, the old economists resort to their own post-war textbooks for the answers to new problems in a world with a new economic architecture.

Managing the Economy:
But, to coin a phrase, this time is different. Whatever the official explanation, walking on the ground in Barbados sends out all the wrong signals: shopping at Supersaver in Oistins, in the fish market, in Fairchild Street, and in other shops, supermarkets and hawker stalls, the story is different. While the middle classes, the majority of whom are public sector employees, those lower down the food chain are telling a different story: postmen and women are not being paid and are given letters to their mortgage lenders begging for a period of grace; the men and women who sweep and weed the side paths are also forced to borrow from friends and relatives because their wages are delayed; and members of some credit unions are begging them for repayment holidays so they can get their children through university. Yet, some banks and retail outlets are offering cheap credit as if partying on the Titanic.

One explanation could be that the economy is in a better state than critics are allowing for; another is that there is a thriving black market; and, third, the non-banking sector is gorging on a pile of household debt which is mounting by the day. From the advertisements and promotions, I prefer to believe that the retail sector is taking the economy to the edge with its irresponsible lending, which, given the Christmas season, will get worse in the short-term before it gets better. You cannot get anything more irresponsible, to my mind, than the Royal Bank of Canada’s so-called “Spot the Difference Car Extravaganza” held at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex on November 2. If ever there was a situation in which the governor of the central bank, the minister of finance and the Leader of the Opposition should have spoken with one voice about this vulgar invitation to Barbadian consumers to dig themselves further in debt by a Canadian-owned bank, this was it. These financial brain dead nit-wits were not inviting people to take loans to buy land, or homes, or educate their children, or take out protection insurance, but to buy cars and have them customised and cleaned. Where is the best banking regulator in the world when you need him most? If the RBC bank was really interested in the financial health of ordinary households, not only would they not be offering what can be seen as irresponsible credit, they would instead be offering their account holders decent financial advice. I am convinced they do not really care about the health of the Barbados economy – that is the price you pay for having an overseas-owned retail banking system. In any case, the regulator should have stepped in and stopped this behaviour, that is what financial regulation is all about. Sometimes we have to protect over-excited and materialistic consumers from their own stupidity.

We also have a situation in which the Canadian owners of the Barbados light & Power are in effect threatening the government that if they do not get an extended permit they will not carry through planned investments. Apart from the fact the government should tell them where to go with their blackmail, they should also point out to them that investment decisions are the concerns of their board, not the taxpayers of Barbados. The reality is that for all kinds of reasons some people may find it disquieting that ordinary Barbadians should make claim to the economy of their country. One senior permanent servant once told me that it did not matter who bought land in Barbados since the buyers could not take it with them. Given this flawed reasoning, the same can be said for our vital utilities. I would prefer to rephrase that: it does matter who buys land in Barbados since foreign buyers with multiple passports could always sell up and relocate somewhere else, but locals have to stay put. Our essential services should be controlled by Barbadians, even if not the public sector; they should not be low-hanging fruit for foreign carpetbaggers to come and make huge profits. It will take the IMF top force the government to get rid of statutory bodies and service providers that it should never have had in its portfolio.

The list is long: why should government own hotels, then subsidise a regional hotel chain and local businesses in order to compete with the Hilton and Gems? Sell them all. Why is government getting in to bed with Butch Stewart, the very man who held out at Paradise Beach before walking away? Is he now getting everything he wanted? I do not agree with selling CBC, for the simple reason that most of those who want to sell the broadcaster are just embarrassed and fed-up with its second-rate journalism and programming or simply want to buy it. It will be far better if government auction’s a broadcasting license so that all those who want to get their hands on CBC can indulge with their own money. What CBC badly needs is good journalism. There is also the missed opportunity to re-invent the City and its surrounding area, creating a dynamic youth and night-time economy, with a cluster of creative industries, centred around the Empire (for performing arts), and the back streets of Jordan’s Lane, Beckwith Street, King William Street, etc for the fine and digital arts, night clubs, restaurants, market stalls, etc. All this I have mentioned here before and still it falls on deaf ears.

Failed Policies:
Is Barbados another Detroit, with a generation of aspiring professionals who share one thing in common, incompetence and failure? The government has failed to develop a reformed educational system fit for the purpose of a knowledge-based economy; it has failed to stimulate small and medium enterprises; it has failed to understand that the crisis in housing, typified almost ever week by desperate people living in hovels crying for help; it has failed to reform the public sector. It has also failed to tackle youth unemployment, the crisis in the criminal justice system and what to do with the overload of state enterprises it has on its books. If this seems like repetition, it is, since the government, day after day, continues to fail to introduce new social policies or even debate them. Housing remains the major social issue, the barometer of our progress, with a continuing number of people still living in hovels typical of the pre-war days. How do you explain to a nation that a man, whatever his personal faults, living in 21st century Barbados in the most loyal constituency of the ruling party, is living in conditions that you would not put a pig in? This is a reflection on us as a people, a nation without a heart, not on his failure to provide for himself. Yet, for reasons best know to itself, the government has failed to tackle this easily resolved social problem. Where is his member of parliament, his church ministers, his social workers, his neighbours?

It is clear that the government does not understand that the housing problem is a supply side one, not demand, given, as I have said here before, one senior member of the current government when in opposition said there were about 30000 people badly in need of decent homes.  If this is the case, and there is no reason to doubt him, building two or three hundred single-family homes over a parliamentary lifetime will not solve this problem in a hurry. It is bigger than that, but it will be a start. Another of the big issues, of course is what to do with the crippled national insurance scheme, apart from using its contributions as a piggy bank. What the government should do, of course, is ring-fence the current contributions, de-risk the liabilities and launch a lifestyle-based long-term saving scheme with key point interventions, at births, marriages, housing, university and death. But such an innovation will call for independent thought, a deep understanding of policy-making, an empathy with ordinary people.

Analysis and Conclusion:
Barbados is facing what Kenneth Rogoff has called an economic Armageddon, with the vast majority of the people, including some who should know better, repeating the mantra about growth and foreign reserves like some religious sect, while few are even acknowledging that we are in a deep recession. Where are our innovators, our talent managers, our young men and women bursting with ideas to make fortunes while making the world a better place? Talking to ordinary people in the streets and supermarket queues one gets an impression of a nation that is depressed, tired, fed-up with the burden they are carrying; a nation dying on its feet. By far the greatest failure of the government, its technocrats and policy advisers is intellectual, a resistance to change or to confront new possibilities and challenges. They sit waiting for new ideas from Europe and Asia or even the IMF or for their new Chinese masters to hand them a bag full of money. The ruling political and policy elite is trapped in a black hole between rhetoric and the lack of a sound policy framework, between the notion of austerity and neo-Keynesianism.

Historically, they have depended on their civil servants to rescue them, then to claim the glory, but this time the civil servants, academics and the man in the rum shop are also short of original ideas. Their only answer to every problem is that old mantra of foreign reserves, even school children now shout foreign reserves. I say if we traded in derivatives and the futures markets we will be a more sophisticated financial market, but it is outside the experience of our central bankers so they do not want to encourage it. Instead, they are prepared to lock-up over Bds$1bn of cash doing nothing while the economy collapses. It is the kind of economic lunacy more fit for an asylum. The epidemic of household credit, apart from everything else, raises serious questions about consumer credit and the way it is regulated. Is there any affordability test when people walk in to shops and show rooms for credit on a 4X4 vehicle or a 48-inch flat-screen television, or are car salespeople and store staff so keen to earn a sales bonus that they will sell to school leavers?

In all this there is not a single word from the central bank, the institution responsible for monetary stability, or from the ministry of finance although the world is now recovering from a global crisis caused precisely by such lending. It is as if the Good Ship Barbados will sail on no matter how rough the seas. It is more likely the last voyage of the Titanic. Part of the reason why public discussion is so weighted in favour of the loudmouths and those with no views of their own is because of the historic Barbadian preference for personal abuse where political ideas should be. But, in terms of managing the economy, you can get in to all kinds of technocratic verbiage most of which is meaningless to the average reader. The bottom line, is that if we do not get our house in order, and soon, and go cap in hand to the IMF, the nation will collapse like a punch-drunk boxer. The steady decline of Barbados is not only the government’s fault, it is also due to the lack of an entrepreneurial spirit from the skilled and middle classes. One example reminds me of this and that is my conkie story: some time ago I was in Barbados on November 5, and, was not able to get a conkie in any bakery or supermarket. I was boldly told that I would have to come back on Independence Day to get a conkie. Here is a market crying out to be exploited. How about retired accountants and finance directors offering their collective services to small and cash-strapped businesses not individually? Instead of explaining to the people in simple terms why the crisis has come about in Barbados and proposals to resolve it, the ruling party has chosen to tell a consistent lie in the hope that some, if not all, of the people will eventually believe it. People want to know why they have been working so hard for so long yet their living standards are falling and they are living from hand to mouth. They need to be told that the global banking crisis was caused by the greed of American banks, the so-called subprime lenders, who embarked on a scandalous lending spree to inner city people who could not afford to repay them at the rates and the conditions lenders imposed on them. They want to hear that because of the ownership structure of local banks when head office wants greater liquidity they withdrew capital from branches and subsidiaries in Barbados, allocating money for high interest consumer lending. They want to know how a crisis in banking could become a global sovereign debt crisis, why politicians transferred all that debt on to taxpayers under so-called bail out schemes. They want to know why in Barbados taxpayers are underwriting incompetently managed family hotels, why they are buying the freedom of Almond Village only to lease it to Butch Stewart, why some new employers can apply for work permit for chefs and nurses, in a highly educated country. People are not fools. People want to know why a government that owns Mr Barrack about Bds$80m could refuse to pay him yet borrow money to spend like drunken sailors.

Finally, missing from the narrative is any mention of Caricom and the role it could – and should – play in the restructuring of member-states’ economies.

93 comments

  • The reality is that Barbados has become internationally a pompus nation that is in deep trouble but too proud to admit it. This has caused the financial parasites of this world to be attracted to the country, their sole reason is personal gain, they will wave exciting but dangerous flags in the face of amateurs and if successful, we would sell our very birthright to people like the Chinese, The T$T, and the Bjerkhams of the world. Time BAJANS wake up and grab Barbados before we lose it forever, our children and our children would blame us for what we have allowed.

    Like

  • @Hal

    In Thompson’s first or second budget he mentioned about Barbados establishing a framework to attract international funds to operate register in Barbados. It is fuzzy but what we know is that it was never done. Will have to research it.

    Like

  • Hal what would be the bajan emigration numbers per year to the uk before and after independence. As I see it if tourism keeps falling people must leave the island in droves to make it sustainable, but the good news would be in the long term they and their descendants would want to visit increasing tourism numbers. Back in the 1600 hundreds the island even then felt crowded and people were forced to the carolinas

    Like

  • Well done HAL*…

    A lucid, cogent, coherent, well-articulated dissertation of the FACTS. Will anything change? No! Will the bow of this once great nation’s pride be broken? Yes! What will be the catalyst to brings it to pass? Insurrection & bloodshed! Is that a sure prediction? Yes! Is there historical truth which supports such findings given the social events of 1934 -1939 – just worst? Yes! When will these things happen? As soon as the fire is lit under the SOVEREIGN DEBT CRISIS and the “BUBBLE” we call the bond market bust and starts to ooze a fresh set of puss into the global economic system!

    What happened in the GREAT DEPRESSION years will be a LOL to what we will see in Barbados, throughout the Caribbean and around the world!

    Like

  • @ Lawson
    You are right. The unexplored tourism/visitor market is that of people of Barbados descent. For reasons best known to itself, the tourism authorities do not see this.
    I have third and fourth generation Americans who want to visit Barbados to see their ancestral home, but do not want to live here. In other words, they are visitors with a purpose greater than just enjoying the sunshine.
    Where are our marketeers?

    Like

  • In any business sector of Barbados, where at any time no money is actually moving around – and there are no balancing transactions involved, but there is information or terms provided by whomsoever to suggest that it is doing so, there must/ has to be a massive problem in the accounting process that provides the said information or terms.

    Take for instance, in Mr Clyde Mascoll’s column entitled: It Matters Most, where Mascoll wrote that the recent economic review (for the 9 month period January to September 2013) stated that the fiscal deficit (so-called) widened by BDS $ 117 million, and furthermore wrote that the growing deficit is being financed by the printing of money.

    Now, as far as the PDC is concerned, the information provided to support this idea called printing of money, means that the government is NOT actually printing any money, but is using electronic numbers to adjust information in the government credit/debt transfer numbers.

    So, as we have argued before on here (BU) and elsewhere, that on the whole government does NOT have expenditure (only in few instances it does), primarily because it does NOT get/have income/payments on the whole, does itself support the fact that this is another case – out of countless other cases – where the government is falsely purporting that money is moving around, when in truth and fact it is not moving around at all (and with no counter balancing transactions involved); just primarily the government continuing to manipulate electronic and other numbers to achieve its narrow political psychological propagandistic ends.

    Indeed, that there has been no actual moving around of money involved in these kinds of cases, helps to destroy the very inept argument that Mr Clyde Mascoll is making in his said latest column writings (2013-11-07) that, with the growing fiscal deficit BEING FINANCED (sic) by the printing of money, the foreign reverses will fall as happened since April.

    The fact is that the manipulation and presentation of thoroughly false fictitious statistical numbers by the Central Bank of Barbados CANNOT cause a fall in some other already false and overstated foreign reserves numbers. Nothing that is NOT happening CANNOT cause anything to do anything. What such implies is that there are other variables that are involved in the falsification of government financial accounts.

    By saying that the foreign reserves will fall, Mascoll, in some senses, refuses to make clear in his column what he defines as the foreign reserves, where they are located, what percentage of these are here or overseas, refuses to distinguish between foreign payments/reserves, and, most of all, refuses to acknowledge that the foreign reserves numbers as presented by the Central Bank of Barbados are false and spurious – that they have nothing to do with what is actually happening at the ground level/factually.

    Finally, the very gruesome thing about these falsified fake government accounting numbers is that they seriously severely affect the actual movement of money across the country and do have a severe impact on the REAL ACTUAL COST OF USE OF MONEY (local/foreign) in the country, as that, money and its use and movement are the real bases of and for them – with money having to or NOT follow them, whether these business sectoral numbers are really or falsely created.

    PDC

    Like

  • @ PDC

    I agree with you. I do not believe central bank numbers and just prefer to ignore them. In fact a young man who worked(s) suggesting the same.
    Ask them about the recession and about how one moment foreign reserves figures were acceptable at one number and then, once reduced, they remained acceptable. Does that mean they were too high in the first place?

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Hal Austin:
    “As a result it has been forced to seek economic ideas from an intellectually exhausted band of elderly academics who, clearly, have lost touch with new developments in their own discipline.”

    You “band” presumably excludes Prof. Michael Howard (school contemporary of yours) who has given them advice to seek assistance before the economic gangrene sets in requiring amputation of the monetary limb connected to the US dollar.
    In the coming months the same band of elderly academics (headed by Sir Frank who is diametrically and antagonistically opposed to any IMF restructuring programme) would be singing in a most volt-face unabashed way the praises of the government for ‘seeking assistance’ from the same IMF.

    “There is also the missed opportunity to re-invent the City and its surrounding area, creating a dynamic youth and night-time economy, with a cluster of creative industries, centred around the Empire (for performing arts), and the back streets of Jordan’s Lane, Beckwith Street, King William Street, etc for the fine and digital arts, night clubs, restaurants, market stalls, etc. All this I have mentioned here before and still it falls on deaf ears.”

    You need to pay a visit to the same environs in their present state. You would be totally shock with utter disgust to see the deterioration of the place posing a massive threat to public health.
    This area was once a thriving residential cum commercial district with all the amenities of a sophisticated town. What is fast building up is a ghetto type run down drug-infested district reminiscent of Trench town of the 1970’s.
    Visitors from the cruise ships, in wandering around and finding themselves in that area as it currently appears, probably come into shock at what they are confronted with.

    What is paradoxically frightening is that the government is talking about constructing a modern marina and cruise ship terminal just a few hundred metres away from the expanding social hellhole.
    Why not stimulate the economy by upgrading the area with modern housing, shopping and recreational areas with a general environmental uplift as a way of getting rid of the blight.

    Like

  • @Hal
    Bull from begining to end. You are swimming in a pond of stale water. November the fifth was celebrated in Barbados because it was a throwback to the English celebration of the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the houses of Parliament. It was the only time of the year when you could get fireworks. When we achieved independence the celebration of November fifth was abandoned, and celebration time was independence time. Conkies were then prefered on that day. In other words, Hal, we broke the tradition of English dependence, even in our celebrations. Sorry you still cling to the English of long ago, and long to have them in charge again. We have moved on. However, you can still get conkies on a regular basis toughout the year. Even though I am in Canada I had conkies last week. You also add: …”They want to know why in Barbados taxpayers are underwriting incompetently managed family hotels,” (I hope you were not directing this at Adrian, but I would like you to identify them. How many of the immigrants (former) living overss continue to contribute to their homeland? How much have you contribted, except sporadically through and occasional visit? Put your money where your mouth is start a fundraising drive for the country. Purchase a piece of equipment for the Hospital, collect money for scholarships for the students, Invest (and you are big on investment) in Government bonds or Treasury Bills, contact a broker in Barbados and buy shares in companies that are traded daily on the stock market (yes Barbados has a stock market, although you don’t seem to know that). Do something positive ad stop whining.

    Like

  • On a broader view I don’t see an encouraging outlook for the world economy.
    Quantative Easing (Printing Money), with the same economists giving the same advice that brought everywhere into trouble, I can see only bigger trouble in the offing.
    Excuse the metaphor – it’s like Titanic having barely survived a collision with a medium sized iceberg, is determined by its captain to head straight for the big one.

    In a recent interview on Radio 5 the panellists were asked where they though the next economic crisis was going to take place. One said exactly where the current one took place because that is exactly where they are heading and that has been my sentiment advanced here and elsewhere.

    Economic theories hold good like when a perfectly round ball fits a perfectly round hole, mis-shape the hole into an oval and economists will be dumbfounded as to why it no longer fits so they’ll get other balls of the same size and shape to see if they will fit. It’s because they know arithmetic intimately but are clueless about geometry.

    Like

  • @ Miller

    I take your advice and exclude Prof Howard. I know the City well; as I have said before, my paternal grand parents had a shop/bakers in Nelson Street for decades up until the 1960s.
    We need to get the bulldozers in. There is no excuse. This lot do not even have the audacity to turn Nelson St in to a one-way street; the result is constant congestion.

    Like

  • Alvin…….sad to say, you are a man worshiper……check out the sweetheart deal Sandals got, while (i think it was either Sealy or Sinckler) lied to the media and people of Barbados and said ALL the hotels on the island got the same treatment/concessions, some are now saying that is a lie….now i don’t know who is right or wrong, don’t care, but do you think it’s fair to continually lie to the people who pay your salary?? cause that is what the DLP continues to do ad nauseam, I am sure you will say yes, give the politicians a chance….to do what, tell more lies??

    Like

  • GULP….50 years on Mr Austin one-way in Nelson Street. That is so sweet.

    Like

  • http://info.moneyweek.com/urgent-bulletins/the-end-of-britain/?infinity=gaw~DISPL%2BSPCFC%2BThe%20End%20Of%20Britain~DISPL%2BSPCFC%2BThe%20End%20Of%20Britain%2BPL%20guardian.co.uk%2BKW%20%20Debt%2BTXT~28198342509~placement:www.gizmag.com~c&gclid=CLHQyui91boCFSbHtAod6XcAuw

    I hope this URL is clickable, it makes very chilling reading, even well beyond anything I have written.
    I don’t think this applies only to Britain, it foretells a bleak well beyond UK shores.

    Like

  • You cannot see this as an out and out ploy to drum up customers??? claim your 4 free issues. No wonder Barbados is always willing to buy a pig in a poke. I am not saying these things cannot come to pass but since time began someone has been running around with a sign saying the world is going to end eventually they will be right but at least they wont be around to say I told you so.

    Like

  • Hal you are a disloyal son of this soil. Can you ever find anything good to say about Barbados? You perpetually write this bull about Barbados in the blogs. Surprise us one day and say something positive. I bet it will be about the BLP. If you wish to be taken seriously, please show some balance. Your writings are as clumsy and ill conceived as your appearance.

    Like

  • Perhaps the time is right for us to woo residents of Shanghai to visit our shores .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2490856/Smog-culprit-infertility-low-sperm-counts-Shanghai.html

    Like

  • Every politician in Barbados who isn’t a moron knows exactly what things have to be done in order to make Barbados better over the long term.

    What they don’t know is how to do those things and then get [re] elected.

    Voters, understandably, will punish any government that takes the measures that are fast becoming unavoidably necessary.

    So who is to be held accountable for this endless, shambolic, denial-ridden muddling-through that can only have a sad ending? The elected or the electorate?

    Like

  • Carson C. Cadogan

    “The ruling DLP is trapped between a lust for power”

    I cant understand where these idiots come from.

    The Democratic Labour Party is the Party elected to govern this country, and I might add they are doing a wonderful job keeping the ship of state afloat. They are the government of the people, by the people, for the people, it is your Barbados Labour Party which has the unbridled lust for power even though they have been rejected THREE TIMES BY THE ELCTORATRE. It is the Barbados Labour Party which is attempting to cause mayhem in this country so that they may become the Government through the back door.

    What sort of patent nonsense are you writing this week?

    Like

  • This is a good Post
    Very good, I might add

    Congrats to the author

    Like

  • So, as we have argued before on here (BU) and elsewhere, that on the whole government does NOT have expenditure (only in few instances it does), primarily because it does NOT get/have income/payments on the whole, does itself support the fact that this is another case – out of countless other cases – where the government is falsely purporting that money is moving around, when in truth and fact it is not moving around at all (and with no counter balancing transactions involved); just primarily the government continuing to manipulate electronic and other numbers to achieve its narrow political psychological propagandistic ends.

    PDC !
    The Government is just fooling those who they can fool. The propaganda has not now started, This is a practice that has been past down through the ages and while its complexion may change over time , the substantive reasons remain pretty much intact.. There are indeed those who derived and have derived overtime narrow political satisfaction from these machinations

    Like

  • @Well Well’
    I am glad you are not a judge. How can you in all honesty and impartiality (for that is what a judge should be; impartial)say “…now i don’t know who is right or wrong, don’t care, but do you think it’s fair to continually lie to the people who pay your salary?? How have you determined who is speaking the truth ? What you are saying is that it does not matter whether the truth is told by the government, you have already come to the conclusion that whatever they say is a lie. Impartial? I think not. I invite you to go way back and see the concessions given to people who built, and continue to build in those areas designed as special development areas. Fort Ferdinand being one of the latest. Check out the concessions given to the condominium developments on the West Coast. Check out the legislations governing these developments. Check out the concessions given to the BTA; inncluding the concession given in the last budget. I could go on and on, but I challenge you to do your homework.

    Like

  • @Hal
    You can’t tell me anything about Nelson street that I co not know. You may be seeing it through rose coloured glasses, but Nelson Street was always Ghetto. I was born in wellington Street twenty five yards from Nelson Street. I went to nursery school at Ms. Grosvenor’s school. I will agree with you that there are possibilities for the area in that it should be completely buldozed and completely rebuilt but not even your belovid Britain has the money that would be required to do this, and the social disruption and dislocation requires much more than wishes.. Stop trying to give the impression that it only requires the will of the politicians to accomplish the task. We have to live in a world of reality. Your suggestion is pie in the sky.

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Alvin Cummins | November 8, 2013 at 6:43 PM |
    “Stop trying to give the impression that it only requires the will of the politicians to accomplish the task. We have to live in a world of reality. Your suggestion is pie in the sky.”

    Would you say the proposal to construct high rise housing at Exmouth near Spring Garden in an already densely populated area along with a performing Arts Centre are also pie-in-the-sky proposals hatched in the imagination of a Don Quixote pretending to be a MoF?
    Here is what the Don promised in the 2011 Budgetary proposals:
    “Finally on a recent State visit to China the Honourable Prime Minister in his very fruitful deliberations with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao engaged the continued interest of Barbados in developing a dedicated home for the performing arts in Barbados. The government of China equally expressed its desire to see that such a facility could become a reality in Barbados in the very near future.
    To this end, it would be remiss of me to let pass this opportunity to inform the country that following months of analysis and consultation, this government has decided to move ahead with the construction of a brand new multi-purpose state of the art Cultural and Performing Arts Centre.
    It is expected that the Centre will be financed and constructed through a grant from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and it is proposed that it will be located, once the Town Planner approves, on the land at Spring Garden opposite the Brandon’s Beach facility in the constituency of St. Michael North West. Further details on that too will be revealed shortly.”

    Is that performing arts centre under construction? After all, you are in receipt of the grant and not negotiating a loan.

    Can’t the Government get China to fund the renovation of that decrepit socially blighted community including Nelson Street that could be the underbelly of social upheaval?
    There is money for Urban Renewal projects. Why not approach the EU as part of the reparations demands?

    Are we going to see the start of the Exmouth housing project planned to start October 2013? Alvin, being a town man, maybe you can confirm its commencement.

    Like

  • @Miller
    Alvin and his party haven’t a effin clue. The same Chinese are supposedly funding the sugar cane factory and Sandals too. You think part of the deal is to export construction workers?

    Like

  • You ! this idea of bulldozing Nelson Street is a good one yeah
    A modern environ could evolve from this bulldozing of Nelson Street
    Wonderful idea. Good Good Good-(3 Goods)

    Like

  • @ CCC, why the capital letters about the BLP being rejected? how many times was the DLP rejected before coming to power 5 years ago? your myopic political ramblings are pathetic.

    Like

  • @Enuff.
    Get your facts straight. The Chinese, from what I heard the Minister say, are going to assist in funding for the purchase of Almond, and in the reconstruction of a news hotel. Sandals (Butch Stewart) is supposed to be managing a reconstituted Casuarina hotel to be managed under the Sandals brand. The rebuilt Almond, will be managed under the Beaches Brand, (Butch Stewart also)as an adult only hotel.. Different Brand name, different types of operation.
    @Miller,
    This is now 2013 less than two years after the pronouncement in the 2-11 budget, and less than a year after the general election. Be patient, you served in the government you know how the process works and how long it takes to have things implemented, surveys, architect drawings engineering studies environmental impact studies, feasability studies, tenders for works, etc and much more. As the old people used to say; those older than me, for I am an old man now, “if greedy wair, hot will cool.”Be patient all will be revealed in time. You all expressed the same sceptcism when instead of building the gymnasium at the corner of Baxters road and country road, the Chinese offered to build the Gumnasium in wildey. Didn’t it come to fruition? BBe patient.

    Like

  • Alvin said:
    “How have you determined who is speaking the truth ?”

    ______________________________

    Alvin…….you can swing it and twist it whichever way you want to make it sound good to you, however, lies are lies and they always come back to bite the DLP particularly……….HARD.

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Alvin Cummins | November 8, 2013 at 7:42 PM |

    Why don’t you stop with the Bullshit? You might be able to drop that shit around Well, Well and get away with it but not me, Alvin.
    We are in 2013 and do not want to hear you rehashing of the past ad nauseam and blaming all shortcomings of the current administration on the past indiscretions of the BLP administrations going back to GHA times.

    Why don’t you read what the lying deceitful prick of a MOF said?
    “To this end, it would be remiss of me to let pass this opportunity to inform the country that following months of analysis and consultation, this government has decided to move ahead with the construction of a brand new multi-purpose state of the art Cultural and Performing Arts Centre.”

    Do you think the Chinese would have agreed to grant funding unless a proposal involving all those prerequisites and conditions were met including the right to free entry by Chinese workers and materiel?

    Based on your stupid reasoning can we expect the proposal of a sugar cane industry, to be financed with Chinese money, to go through the same longwinded process as the Performing Arts Centre? December coming is scheduled to be the start of the sugar cane industry restructuring programme with a projected 2016 sugar crop. Can we depend on this schedule with the money ready to be drawn down for the initial phase of the project?

    Like

  • Miller

    I love you…..but please stop defaming Cervantes. The Don was a holy fool. The man you mention is, I suppose, just a fool in your book (rightly or wrongly) and you may well be right because you usually are.

    I can’t understand why anyone would want to bulldoze Nelson Street. I would want to build it up – as a must-visit for bored tourists who want something different……Soho, New Orleans, Montmartre.

    Like

  • Alvin……look at what you will condone and defend, it’s frightening… i am sure you saw this in the Toronto Star today………….lol

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/video-rob-ford-caught-cursing-wildly-article-1.1509765

    Like

  • @ Alvin
    So the Chinese are indeed funding Sandals aka Beaches aka Butch Stewart hotel at Heywoods…….lmao. We all know Casuarina now Sandals is open and running after the Couples group was evicted. So my question remains: Will they be sending construction workers?

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ robert ross | November 8, 2013 at 8:20 PM |
    “I can’t understand why anyone would want to bulldoze Nelson Street.”

    I agree. It sounds so terminal, so philistine so nihilistic. I would much prefer your suggestion of an upgrade or renovation with a more bohemian appearance.
    Why not a little Soho as you suggested. Maybe a little taste of Greenwich Village or the partition in gay Paris near the Champs-Élysées with a replica of the Moulin Rouge. Maybe we can get a local or Guyanese Rhianna lookalike to play Josephine Baker on stage in that “arrondissement” for live adult entertainment.

    PS: Would you suggest I stop referring to the MoF as an altruistic fool and see him more in the light of a simplistic comical ‘yes-man’ in the image of Sancho Panza the illiterate but proud ‘Moor” servant?

    Like

  • Miller

    Exactly and exactly.

    But yes…the potential for Nelson St is enormous and what I don’t understand is why people like Mr Loveridge don’t see it. I suppose it’s because of the perception of sin in this ‘Christian country’……but YEAH…..SIN!!!. That will pull them.

    Like

  • @ Well Well;
    Why on earth would you, or could you imagine that I would want to have anything to do with the likes of Rob Ford? I have said it before and to many other people, the guy needs serious help. He needs serious counselling. Show me our equivalent in Barbados politicians.
    @Miller.
    The only appellation I can give you at this stage is that “where there is novision the people perish”/ You are visionless. I am sure ;you have visited Toronto. Compare the harbour area with what it was some years ago. What has become of all the buildings there were? It is useless to try to rescue and renovate the Ghetto and its environs, the run down buildings etc that constitute that area. Maybe you should visit Dukes Alley, Queen Street, Ashby Alley and the environs. Unless you buldoze and reconstruct a well planned urban area you will perpetuate the filth and the accompanying attitudes. Let us have a fresh start and not try to emulate the Soho, which is not much different from Nelson street. Let a breath of fresh air blow through there plan a modern urban centre. While you are at it go to the proposed Sugar Point Cruise terminal Development and see what is planned. This can complement a new Nelson street well planned development. We have young architects who would jum at the chance to design such a new urban area, with well planned street as well as houses and businesses. By the way read Don Quixote again and try to understand it. Neither Din Wuixote nor Sancho Panza were fools. Read it again with understanding and in the proper context. By the way are you aware that Rhianna has been earmarked to undergo screen tests,to play the part of Josephine Baker in a proposed movie on her life? Strange you should make that suggestion in the way you have.

    Like

  • Miller – c’est lui

    Josephine Baker…wonderful…see my reference above to banana skirts for Island…. ram-pam-pam…Miller j’ai deux amours…Josephine and Toumanova so yes we are in sync. And, in our different ways, we both play canaries on a swing….to an open cage.

    Like

  • I smell gentrification.

    Like

  • @Miller,
    Didn’t you say in a blog not too long ago >>>”Beggars can’t be choosers”? Make up your mind how you want it. I expect that reaction from you The fact is that the Chinese are going to fund it. (Grant not loan)And Josephine Baker was a great couraeous woman. The type of entertainment you are suggesting already exists, we don’t have to perpetuate it. Sorry you can’t be more modern than to want to perpetuate Soho.@Well Well
    You need to get to know me, to learn the type of person I am.

    a

    Like

  • @Robert Ross,
    Les Cage aux foiles?

    Like

  • Oh Jesus…….so many seemingly unimaginative, pedantic, big-time kill joys….all that ‘filth and accompanying attitudes’. Well, it IS about sin then. Alvin, you’re very nice but I want to tweak your prefrontal lobe processor.

    Like

  • Ah Alvin…wit…not bad but I think you mean ‘Folles’ – and mind, on the subject of St Tropez – how about if we…….

    Like

  • @Robert RossSlight typograpical error. Sometimes I have difficulty with the keys on the computer. of
    course it is ‘Folles’. St. Tropez (in the caribbean) fits in nicely with the planned Marina development. Can you see the development; stretching from Bay street all the way to River road? Especially now the carrenage is being dredged and the river refurbished and rebuilt and landscaped, along with the builting of the new parklike setting where church village once was joining Queens Park? That is vision. Just needs time and money and patience.

    Like

  • I can’t understand why anyone would want to bulldoze Nelson Street. I would want to build it up – as a must-visit for bored tourists who want something different……Soho, New Orleans, Montmartre.
    ………………………………………………………………………………..
    As part of the building up process, a bulldozer would be given a full time job, for quite a while, just trying to get rid of the mountains of garbage in Nelson Street and its environs.
    And added to the above list ; Amsterdam, Hamburg (Palais la Amore,Reeperbahn) often referred to as ” die suendigste meile ” The most sinful mile.

    Like

  • Yes Alvin, it’s a great idea but can you deal with bare this and that’s and boules in sundry places? Tell you what…..how about we go down Nelson Street and offer not-so-comfortable words to the indigent and fallen? Are you game?

    Like

  • And Alvin, Colonel Buggy can come too because he’s been around and is obsessed with garbage.

    Like

  • are-we-there-yet?

    Alvin;

    I agree with you about the beauty and ultimate utility of the Canalisation project. I seem to recall that the idea is not a new one but was conceptualized or at least championed several years ago by Dame Billie in essentially the form it has taken on today. It promises to be really beautiful and should propel that side of Bridgetown truly into the 21st Century, while complementing the refurbishment of old Bridgetown.

    Top marks for the Government for sticking with and implementing the project.

    Like

  • Michael Carrington

    Hal, who are you and where can I find more information on you? Such an intellectual article and beautiful penmanship. Seriously run for government office. You have my X.

    Like

  • @Miller,
    Damd Billie had vision. Her conceptualisation of the Boardwalk in Bridgetown, and the building of the Boardwalk in Hastings stretching from Accra to the coconut Gorve are to be complimented and should not be forgotten. I recall she had a battle to get her ideas implemented. But As I say I give credit where credit is due and she deserves accolades.

    Like

  • @Robert Ross I further remember she was verymuch involved in the battle to have The Uneco designation of Historic Bridgetown and the Garrison and its evirons declared U N heritage sites. More compliments to her./

    Like

  • PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926 TO 2013 , MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS OF BARBADOS, BLPand DLP=Massive Fruad

    lighthouse | November 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM |@

    Let Us say some thing good about Barbados/
    The fish
    The People
    The Beach
    The Water
    The Weather
    The Air
    The Food
    The Peace
    The warmth
    The tress with shade
    The Sun

    Like

  • Alvin said:

    “Show me our equivalent in Barbados politicians.”
    ______________________________

    Alvin………..you sit there and believe that the politicians (DLP/BLP) in Barbados are any different from Rob Ford, keep massaging it and fooling yourself into believing such delusions and utter nonsense, you will definitely succeed in convincing ONLY YOURSELF (oh yea, and the rabid, foolish yardfowls of both political parties)……hope you are not embarrassed eventually.

    Like

  • Alvin Cummins | November 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM |

    @Robert Ross,
    Les Cage aux foiles?
    ________________________________

    The british turned Barbados (and by extension the Caribbean) into one giant whorehouse for their own amusement back in colonial times………i am sure there are those who would love to pretend otherwise, whoring is what the british knows best, they are talking about heritage sites, whoring is british heritage, capitalize on that……

    Like

  • Deeds

    That was really nice.

    Like

  • Well Well

    As usual your silly rant misses the point of the discussion.

    Like

  • Miller

    First Enuff I think. Now Alvin. Should I have said ‘elle’? Now on the bohemian life in Nelson St, the poor poets and struggling lyricists, the beret toting artists and lagubrious models searching release from ennui, the disconnect writers and counter-culture buffs doing their thing, why haven’t we heard from beloved BAF?

    Like

  • Would be interesting to get Hal’s intervention on the ‘razing’ of Nelson Street. Is this a figurative reference perhaps?

    On 9 November 2013 12:34, Barbados Underground

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Alvin Cummins | November 8, 2013 at 9:46 PM |

    What you have said about Nelson Street and its environs can be said about many parts of “Old Bridgetown”. Yet you want to preserve and upgrade its originality to brag about it being an UNESCO designated World heritage Site solely as a tourism marketing lever which Bush Tea refers to a Prostitution the same business that takes place in the Main; a commercial activity and its place of occurrence you are quite familiar from your boyhood.
    What would you suggest be done to the gutted overgrown Empire Building? Bulldoze that too? What about St. Ambrose Church? Should that also be bulldozed although deservingly so along with the Anglican Cathedral?

    What is your interpretation of Cervantes Man of la Mancha? There is no one interpretation of that classic novel. Delusional grandeur is a human condition as old as civilization. Life’s paradoxical futility is played out through the ages even in an aging man like yourself pretending to be a sage but still tilting at windmills.

    Perhaps you should have fashioned your main character Yeshua in your recent novel after Don Quixote to portray the futility of idealism in a world where life is nasty, brutish and short.
    If you can appreciate your own late onset of schizophrenia manifested in the Don you would see that the idealistic Don and his more simplistically sober, down-to-earth but vulnerable alter ego Sancho are one and the same.

    Maybe Chris Sinliar is really no fool-even with imaginary assassins chasing after him- and should respectfully be referred to as the intellectual embodiment of Alvin Cummins and given the title A C No.3.

    We will leave you with reference to a piece of philosophical writing (delivered in true Ecclesiastical style) that sums up the nihilistic redundancy of Quixote’s ventures to right the wrongs of life as one interpretation of Cervantes’ tragic comedy.

    “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
    What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun.
    One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
    The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
    The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
    All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
    All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

    Que sera, sera, A C!

    Like

  • Miller

    Leave St Michael’s alone. Let it slumber on in soul and stone. But by all means eject the incumbent.

    Like

  • robert ross | November 9, 2013 at 8:02 AM |

    Well Well

    As usual your silly rant misses the point of the discussion.
    ____________________________________________

    Ross……now how did i know that you are the only fool on here who would want to pretend that what i said is not factual………….christ, it can be found in history books, the whoring ways of the british, what’s so difficult about being creative and capitalizing on that??…………but what else can we expect from a self-confessed pervert who would still pretend otherwise…….lol….what rant what lol

    Like

  • When UWI had a Poverty Law course, one of the annual events was the ‘field trip’ to Nelson St. The ‘trip’ was recorded in the ‘The Twisted Web’, a volume of poems written by students over the years, The poem signals the danger and risk in our lives which makes it all the more challenging and fruitful. The ‘sting’ is in the tail.

    The poet is a young Barbadian attorney of course – gee, I wonder if he’s changed – and I’m recording it here as a little tribute to our discussion. Alvin – you can close your eyes if you wish.

    FIELD TRIP

    Come.
    My name is Zanzibar.
    I am yours, pay me.
    Rub, baby, here in the shadows.
    Don’t wonder or question,
    Just take my fullness,
    Fumble my fingers
    For a moment – touch me.

    Come.
    My name is Club.
    Come closer.
    Taste my poles of love.
    Wrap yourself in the silks,
    The tresses of my nakedness.
    Baby, taste me.
    Bite my nails.

    Midnight.
    Release from Street.
    Home to the safety of saccharin.

    Like

  • Ross…………i take it you were still typing when i posted my comment…LOL!!! LOL!!!!!

    Like

  • Well Well

    Sad to say, you are still missing the point.

    Like

  • Ross………..you are the one missing the point, the island is broke, waxing poetic about prostitution and poverty law courses will not FIX the economy nor the mess the island is curre ntly experiencing……..BEING CREATIVE and exploiting every AVENUE WILL(i am not speaking about a woman’s private parts, so don’t get carried away), including the heritage of the history of the many whorehouses on the island….of course i am speaking about exploitation of the british whoremongering in the most professional way..

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ robert ross | November 9, 2013 at 8:56 AM |
    “Leave St Michael’s alone. Let it slumber on in soul and stone. But by all means eject the incumbent.”

    RR, I am not an iconoclast just a purveyor of Light. The only purpose that place of idolatry serves today is that of a tourist attraction as part of the Heritage tourism trail. However, in its current state it certainly cannot fulfil its modern mandate purely out of health and safety concerns.
    It is the only so-called Cathedral in the Christendom that is so dilapidated dark and dank. It will certainly be a casualty in the next storm of any major magnitude.

    What is the Church management doing about it before it collapses and literally bury innocent souls without a proper requiem mass?
    Maybe you guys could start a lottery to raise money for the restoration of the “House of Saytan & His Angels” with Frank M being the chief altar boy. Look what the little devil has gone and signed his name to in order to impress his political masters!
    Alternatively, they can sell it off to the Muslims who would renovate it and turn it into a mosque or shopping arcade as is the current business practice.
    “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” is around the corner in St. Michael’s “row”!

    Like

  • Miller

    LOL.I haven’t been inside for years. Can’t. Won’t. However, I was told the other day that there is yet another appeal for funds. But then with the Anglican Church it’s always too little, too late. Imagine, they’re now ‘big’ on domestic violence which the world was talking about decades ago. Then there’s the social justice committee which has nothing of consequence to say about the issues of the day. Think of Garcia, the gay debate, and now sex in schools. Miller – whatever else, don’t worry ‘God’s in his heaven…’ Err….As for Marshall – well I’d better not be unkind – so “altar boy” will do.

    Like

  • @Robert Ross,
    I know about the Zanzibar. It used to belong to a good friend of my father. I grew up eating Fray Cakes from miss Simmons, eating “Lead pipes” from Gwen Workman, and I knew the rprietor of he hotel opposite the Baker shop that Hal’s family owned. I recommend a reading of my book “The Wind Also Listens” to get a good “feel” of the atmosphere of Nelson Street of the pre 1966 era; actually not only Nelson Street but Barbados of that era. My books are good. (Not my words alone, but the opinions of everyone who has read them.)
    @Miller,
    The amputation of the “deceased church village” area and replacement by a new “park” has removed and eyesore and breeding ground.
    @Well Well,
    You still have not given me an example of the Barbadian equivalent of Rob ford. I invite you to watch a documentary that CBC showed last night on the “esteemed” mayor. check CBC.ca/fifth estate. The man is a piece of work. I can’t think of ONE of our politicians B or D that is his equal.

    Like

  • @Miller,
    Since you made reference to “Yeshua” which is due to be printed shortly, I hope you will obtain (purchase, for I am a poor man and need the money)a copy and understand who I really believe Yeshua was. It would be interesting to get your opinion. Actually I expect everyone on this blog to obtain one and give me their opinions, good or bad.

    Like

  • @Alvin Cummins,

    Rob Ford is a very sick man who need a lot of psychological help.
    He is surrounded by enablers who do not understand how bad his problems are.

    It is a sad situation for him. I hope he gets help.

    I also feel the Police are building a case against him because they had numerous opportunities to charge him based on probable cause.

    They used a plane to follow him and take video.

    Like

  • Alvin

    Thankyou.

    So far as the Zanzibar is concerned, apart from its potential to become our answer to ‘Rick’s place’ it has the distinction of having contributed significantly to our jurisprudence – which is why I will always have a special affection for it.
    Some 30 years ago, an act was to be seen there called the ‘Surprise Flying Saucer’ in which the dancer exposed her private parts. Despite argument to the effect that indecent exposure could only apply to a man, the Court held that the English Vagrancy Act had no application here and that the indecency might be committed by members of either sex. CF the activity of using bottles some years ago at the 21 and Up Club in Baxter’s Road.
    Of course, it raises the difficult issue of determining what the private parts of a woman are and how far you can reasonably take the analogy with the male.

    Like

  • @RR
    Was’t she charged for “Exposing her person” and the prosecution had dificulty distinguishing between her private parts and “person”. It was very interesting.Barbados is unique don’t you think?

    Like

  • Alvin

    ‘Person’ = Male member – so question was what her ‘person’ was or, rather, whether she could have one.

    Like

  • Alvin said:

    The man is a piece of work. I can’t think of ONE of our politicians B or D that is his equal.
    _____________________________________

    Alvin……..some of your politicians from both DLP/BLP would make Rob Ford as disgusting as he is, seem like a choir boy……..in saying that, what’s your hurry, just because they have not been EXPOSED FULLY yet, does not mean it will not happen, i am sure people like yourself never thought Rob Ford’s shenanigans would ever become world renowned, that is what happens when you put all your belief in politicians… take time barney.

    Like

  • @ Alvin

    The Zanzibar and Stork Club. A Trinidadian man, Chow, also had a restaurant next door which sold rotis for the first time in B’dos. Gordon Price later took over the Zanzibar. He was a remarkable biker, along with his brother.

    Like

  • @ David
    Nelson street has some lovely colonial architecture which should be preserved. But many of the side streets can be bulldozed and rebuilt, on a well designed garden city model as I have pointed out.

    Like

  • 2well Well
    Why do you constantly have the opinion that I am that enamoured of politicians? I just keep trying to show you that our politicians are not as bad as others, but you seem fixated on trying to portray them as the worst in the world. They are not, they are only human beings.

    Like

  • There are many things one might do in the squeaky-clean model. The lawyers have a phrase – that an argument is “without merit”. For myself, I find the expression insulting. It unacceptably diminishes a person. Equally, I find the idea of bull dozing side streets simply because they don’t represent “lovely colonial architecture” equally diminishing – of the people who live there, their very breath, and not merely because I, as so many on here, am also a ‘side street’. I want to say ‘thank God for side streets’.

    Like

  • @Alvin

    What litmus test do you have to suggest our politicians are arch angels? Does it have something to do with an impotent fourth estate? What about no enacted transparency laws.

    On 9 November 2013 22:35, Barbados Underground

    Like

  • Alvin said:

    ” I just keep trying to show you that our politicians are not as bad as others”
    ______________________________

    Alvin………..i did not know there are different and varying degrees of “BAD” as it relates to politicians, a bad politician is a blight on the people as well as the country…..you are misleading yourself if you believe some politicians are worse than others, bad politicians are a stain and scourge on the society they pretend to represent, and you have more than enough of them divided equally between both DLP/BLP, i don’t know how you are looking at reality but as i said before, i hope you are not disappointed in you delusions eventually.

    Like

  • @Well Well,
    In English language we had to learn “positives, comparative, and superlative. According to your opinions we might as well drop comparisons. All politicians are bad, especially Bajan politicians.Sorry I cannot agree with you and will not join you in that. Of course you have not yet said what constitutes a “bad politician>” I am a student of people and know that there are good people and bad people, and accept that this is inevitable in a real world.
    @David,
    You are guilty of operating at extremes. Because I SAY THAT ALL OUR POLITICIANS ARE NOT BAD, HOW DID YOU ARRIVE AT THE CONCLUSION that I see them as arch angels?”
    Transparency laws are no guarantee that persons will behave like “arch angels”
    @Hal,
    Show me ONE “lovely” colonial structure in today’s Nelson street that is worth rescuing.. It is no sense harping back to those “old days”. I used to read a comic strip once titled:”Dem days is gone fuhever/”. That’s the way it is now in Nelson street.

    Like

  • @Alvin

    All of the politicians in Canada are not bad either so what is your point?

    Like

  • Garden City model? Oh dear.

    Like

  • The word on the street is that the Ministry of Health has recently taken possession of a fleet of vehicles,donated by a friendly government, intended for use as ambulances.
    The only draw back is that the units are the 3-wheel type motorised rickshaws, similar to the Tuk Tuks seen in Asia.
    But they may come in handy in Bridgetown when one falls sick ,and have to wait hours , if lucky, for a regular ambulance to arrive from just up the road.
    But thinking of it, a three -wheeler is an improvement in the Barbados Ambulance Service. Form what I have experienced travelling on Collymore Rock and observing the many ambulances under frequently under repairs over at Enmore ……….most of them only have one or two wheels in place.

    Like

  • @Robert Ross
    Of course, it raises the difficult issue of determining what the private parts of a woman are and how far you can reasonably take the analogy with the male.
    ……………………………………….
    Probably a question of what you gain on the swings, you loose on the roundabout.

    Like

  • Michael Carrington | November 8, 2013 at 11:37 PM |
    Hal, who are you and where can I find more information on you? Such an intellectual article and beautiful penmanship. Seriously run for government office. You have my X.
    …………………………………………………….
    And that is exactly why we are in the mess that we now find ourselves in.We elect people to govern us and run this country purely on their ability to talk sweet, or as the Irish say,who have Kissed the Blarney Stone,and in many cases have no prior track record of efficiently managing a business. And when the shit hits the fans we expect them to perform miracles, and drag us out of the pit, when in fact their forte is speaking,and even so,they are not too keen to do this after they are elected, except to perform like clowns during a Budget Debate.

    Like

  • Hal and Clint Eastwood,

    Thanks for your respective acknowledgments.

    PDC

    Like

  • Hal and Clint Eastwood,

    Thanks for your respective acknowledgments, and the points that you have correctly made.

    PDC

    Like

  • Alvin Cummins | November 9, 2013 at 8:32 PM |

    @Well Well,
    In English language we had to learn “positives, comparative, and superlative. According to your opinions we might as well drop comparisons.
    _________________________________

    Alvin…….you continue to use your english superlatives to describe politicians…….and i will continue to describe whomever breeches the trust of the electorate (taxpayers who pay their salaries), wherever they may be, as bad, corrupt, destructive and blights on the society………you are the one saying bajan politicians are the worse, not me, i was just pointing out
    that both parties are riddled with and have been blighted with corrupt politicians for many decades, who can forget disgusting Lionel Craig, the slug, and that is just one, you want to pretend that they maybe, kinda, sorta have politicians that are bad in the DLP/BLP, but other countries have worse, let me tell you…….there is a book you should read written by a bajan, most of the information is accurate, one called Boys in Khaki Pants and another called Tribute to Diana……i know you are pretending ignorance because you figure that there is no one who can arrest the corrupt politicians on the island (the police would not dare, and there is no integrity legislation to put into effect) so in your mind they are safe and untouchable…..take time barney….

    Like

  • Environmentalists and others should not fall for the ruse being perpetrated by the government that the Goat Island “kite” is part of any concrete, generalized transshipment hub. Goat Island is clearly a separate deal to give China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) what CHEC wants. There is reason for this as we will explain below.

    Minister Anthony Hylton has been talking up a storm about the transhipment hub and has NOTHING to show for it. Minister Omar Davies, on the other hand, is doing his own separate thing. That should be clear by now.

    CHEC is currently a big investor in Jamaica (the Trojan Horse for China investments) and has designs in the wider Caribbean. Goat Island is “possibly” an asset to further their bigger economic plans even with Jamaica playing an important role. But still, there is no indication that anything more than an “understanding” has taken place between the government and CHEC.

    “Understanding” should be also understood to mean that CHEC could very well have bribed who it is necessary to bribe as they have obviously done before, in order to get politicians scampering to do what must be done, such as environmental assessments, which they, the politicians, know for sure will “mitigate” any adverse environmental consequences. And CHEC, of course, is well aware of what the lingua franca means. [This lingua franca, by the way, is similar to the “shootout” story that the police use when they carry out their government-supported assassinations of innercity youths].

    So, therefore, until any politician or official can demonstrate that his or her travel expenses to China to negotiate these “deals” and “understandings” were not paid for by the Chinese government, or agency supported by or connected to the Chinese state, Jamaicans ought to treat the Goat Island project, Highway 2000 (North/South leg), JDIP/JEEP, etc. especially those associated with CHEC, as having been corruptly negotiated and should be rejected.

    This is the most brazen, post-independence period of corruption by a desperate political ruling class that is using the economic crisis as justification for enriching itself in the name of “development”.

    Lloyd D’Aguilar
    Campaign for Social and Economic Justice

    Like

  • Black Like Them
    Posted April 29, 1996 by Malcolm Gladwell& filed under Personal History, The New Yorker – Archive.
    Through the lens of his own family’s experience, the author explores why West Indians and American blacks are perceived differently.
    1.
    My cousin Rosie and her husband, Noel, live in a two-bedroom bungalow on Argyle Avenue, in Uniondale, on the west end of Long Island. When they came to America, twelve years ago, they lived in a basement apartment a dozen or so blocks away, next to their church. At the time, they were both taking classes at the New York Institute of Technology, which was right nearby. But after they graduated, and Rosie got a job managing a fast-food place and Noel got a job in asbestos removal, they managed to save a little money and bought the house on Argyle Avenue.
    From the outside, their home looks fairly plain. It’s in a part of Uniondale that has a lot of tract housing from just after the war, and most of the houses are alike–squat and square, with aluminum siding, maybe a dormer window in the attic, and a small patch of lawn out front. But there is a beautiful park down the street, the public schools are supposed to be good, and Rosie and Noel have built a new garage and renovated the basement. Now that Noel has started his own business, as an environmental engineer, he has his office down there–Suite 2B, it says on his stationery–and every morning he puts on his tie and goes down the stairs to make calls and work on the computer. If Noel’s business takes off, Rosie says, she would like to move to a bigger house, in Garden City, which is one town over. She says this even though Garden City is mostly white. In fact, when she told one of her girlfriends, a black American, about this idea, her friend said that she was crazy–that Garden City was no place for a black person. But that is just the point. Rosie and Noel are from Jamaica. They don’t consider themselves black at all.
    This doesn’t mean that my cousins haven’t sometimes been lumped together with American blacks. Noel had a job once removing asbestos at Kennedy Airport, and his boss there called him “nigger” and cut his hours. But Noel didn’t take it personally. That boss, he says, didn’t like women or Jews, either, or people with college degrees–or even himself, for that matter. Another time, Noel found out that a white guy working next to him in the same job and with the same qualifications was making ten thousand dollars a year more than he was. He quit the next day. Noel knows that racism is out there. It’s just that he doesn’t quite understand–or accept–the categories on which it depends.
    To a West Indian, black is a literal description: you are black if your skin is black. Noel’s father, for example, is black. But his mother had a white father, and she herself was fair-skinned and could pass. As for Rosie, her mother and my mother, who are twins, thought of themselves while they were growing up as “middle-class brown,” which is to say that they are about the same shade as Colin Powell. That’s because our maternal grandfather was part Jewish, in addition to all kinds of other things, and Grandma, though she was a good deal darker than he was, had enough Scottish blood in her to have been born with straight hair. Rosie’s mother married another brown Jamaican, and that makes Rosie a light chocolate. As for my mother, she married an Englishman, making everything that much more complicated, since by the racial categories of my own heritage I am one thing and by the racial categories of America I am another. Once, when Rosie and Noel came to visit me while I was living in Washington, D.C., Noel asked me to show him “where the black people lived,” and I was confused for a moment until I realized that he was using “black” in the American sense, and so was asking in the same way that someone visiting Manhattan might ask where Chinatown was. That the people he wanted to see were in many cases racially indistinguishable from him didn’t matter. The facts of his genealogy, of his nationality, of his status as an immigrant made him, in his own eyes, different.
    This question of who West Indians are and how they define themselves may seem trivial, like racial hairsplitting. But it is not trivial. In the past twenty years, the number of West Indians in America has exploded. There are now half a million in the New York area alone and, despite their recent arrival, they make substantially more money than American blacks. They live in better neighborhoods. Their families are stronger. In the New York area, in fact, West Indians fare about as well as Chinese and Korean immigrants. That is why the Caribbean invasion and the issue of West Indian identity have become such controversial issues. What does it say about the nature of racism that another group of blacks, who have the same legacy of slavery as their American counterparts and are physically indistinguishable from them, can come here and succeed as well as the Chinese and the Koreans do? Is overcoming racism as simple as doing what Noel does, which is to dismiss it, to hold himself above it, to brave it and move on?
    These are difficult questions, not merely for what they imply about American blacks but for the ways in which they appear to contradict conventional views of what prejudice is. Racism, after all, is supposed to be indiscriminate. For example, sociologists have observed that the more blacks there are in a community the more negative the whites’ attitudes will be. Blacks in Denver have a far easier time than blacks in, say, Cleveland. Lynchings in the South at the turn of this century, to give another example, were far more common in counties where there was a large black population than in areas where whites were in the majority. Prejudice is the crudest of weapons, a reaction against blacks in the aggregate that grows as the perception of black threat grows. If that is the case, however, the addition of hundreds of thousands of new black immigrants to the New York area should have made things worse for people like Rosie and Noel, not better. And, if racism is so indiscriminate in its application, why is one group of blacks flourishing and the other not?
    The implication of West Indian success is that racism does not really exist at all–at least, not in the form that we have assumed it does. The implication is that the key factor in understanding racial prejudice is not the behavior and attitudes of whites but the behavior and attitudes of blacks–not white discrimination but black culture. It implies that when the conservatives in Congress say the responsibility for ending urban poverty lies not with collective action but with the poor themselves they are right.
    I think of this sometimes when I go with Rosie and Noel to their church, which is in Hempstead, just a mile away. It was once a white church, but in the past decade or so it has been taken over by immigrants from the Caribbean. They have so swelled its membership that the church has bought much of the surrounding property and is about to add a hundred seats to its sanctuary. The pastor, though, is white, and when the band up front is playing and the congregation is in full West Indian form the pastor sometimes seems out of place, as if he cannot move in time with the music. I always wonder how long the white minister at Rosie and Noel’s church will last–whether there won’t be some kind of groundswell among the congregation to replace him with one of their own. But Noel tells me the issue has never really come up. Noel says, in fact, that he’s happier with a white minister, for the same reasons that he’s happy with his neighborhood, where the people across the way are Polish and another neighbor is Hispanic and still another is a black American. He doesn’t want to be shut off from everyone else, isolated within the narrow confines of his race. He wants to be part of the world, and when he says these things it is awfully tempting to credit that attitude with what he and Rosie have accomplished.
    Is this confidence, this optimism, this equanimity all that separates the poorest of American blacks from a house on Argyle Avenue?
    2.
    In 1994, Philip Kasinitz, a sociologist at Manhattan’s Hunter College, and Jan Rosenberg, who teaches at Long Island University, conducted a study of the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, a neighborhood of around thirteen or fourteen thousand which lies between the waterfront and the Gowanus Expressway. Red Hook has a large public-housing project at its center, and around the project, in the streets that line the waterfront, are several hundred thriving blue-collar businesses–warehouses, shipping companies, small manufacturers, and contractors. The object of the study was to resolve what Kasinitz and Rosenberg saw as the paradox of Red Hook: despite Red Hook’s seemingly fortuitous conjunction of unskilled labor and blue-collar jobs, very few of the Puerto Ricans and African-Americans from the neighborhood ever found work in the bustling economy of their own back yard.
    After dozens of interviews with local employers, the two researchers uncovered a persistent pattern of what they call positive discrimination. It was not that the employers did not like blacks and Hispanics. It was that they had developed an elaborate mechanism for distinguishing between those they felt were “good” blacks and those they felt were “bad” blacks, between those they judged to be “good” Hispanics and those they considered “bad” Hispanics. “Good” meant that you came from outside the neighborhood, because employers identified locals with the crime and dissipation they saw on the streets around them. “Good” also meant that you were an immigrant, because employers felt that being an immigrant implied a loyalty and a willingness to work and learn not found among the native-born. In Red Hook, the good Hispanics are Mexican and South American, not Puerto Rican. And the good blacks are West Indian.
    The Harvard sociologist Mary C. Waters conducted a similar study, in 1993, which looked at a food-service company in Manhattan where West Indian workers have steadily displaced African-Americans in the past few years. The transcripts of her interviews with the company managers make fascinating reading, providing an intimate view of the perceptions that govern the urban workplace. Listen to one forty-year-old white male manager on the subject of West Indians:
    They tend more to shy away from doing all of the illegal things because they have such strict rules down in their countries and jails. And they’re nothing like here. So like, they’re like really paranoid to do something wrong. They seem to be very, very self-conscious of it. No matter what they have to do, if they have to try and work three jobs, they do. They won’t go into drugs or anything like that.
    Or listen to this, from a fifty-three-year-old white female manager:
    I work closely with this one girl who’s from Trinidad. And she told me when she first came here to live with her sister and cousin, she had two children. And she said I’m here four years and we’ve reached our goals. And what was your goal? For her two children to each have their own bedroom. Now she has a three bedroom apartment and she said that’s one of the goals she was shooting for. . . . If that was an American, they would say, I reached my goal. I bought a Cadillac.
    This idea of the West Indian as a kind of superior black is not a new one. When the first wave of Caribbean immigrants came to New York and Boston, in the early nineteen-hundreds, other blacks dubbed them Jewmaicans, in derisive reference to the emphasis they placed on hard work and education. In the nineteen-eighties, the economist Thomas Sowell gave the idea a serious intellectual imprimatur by arguing that the West Indian advantage was a historical legacy of Caribbean slave culture. According to Sowell, in the American South slaveowners tended to hire managers who were married, in order to limit the problems created by sexual relations between overseers and slave women. But the West Indies were a hardship post, without a large and settled white population. There the overseers tended to be bachelors, and, with white women scarce, there was far more commingling of the races. The resulting large group of coloreds soon formed a kind of proto-middle class, performing various kinds of skilled and sophisticated tasks that there were not enough whites around to do, as there were in the American South. They were carpenters, masons, plumbers, and small businessmen, many years in advance of their American counterparts, developing skills that required education and initiative.
    My mother and Rosie’s mother came from this colored class. Their parents were schoolteachers in a tiny village buried in the hills of central Jamaica. My grandmother’s and grandfather’s salaries combined put them, at best, on the lower rungs of the middle class. But their expectations went well beyond that. In my grandfather’s library were Dickens and Maupassant. My mother and her sister were pushed to win scholarships to a proper English- style boarding school at the other end of the island; and later, when my mother graduated, it was taken for granted that she would attend university in England, even though the cost of tuition and passage meant that my grandmother had to borrow a small fortune from the Chinese grocer down the road.
    My grandparents had ambitions for their children, but it was a special kind of ambition, born of a certainty that American blacks did not have–that their values were the same as those of society as a whole, and that hard work and talent could actually be rewarded. In my mother’s first year at boarding school, she looked up “Negro” in the eleventh edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. “In certain . . . characteristics . . . the negro would appear to stand on a lower evolutionary plane than the white man,” she read. And the entry continued:
    The mental constitution of the negro is very similar to that of a child, normally good-natured and cheerful, but subject to sudden fits of emotion and passion during which he is capable of performing acts of singular atrocity, impressionable, vain, but often exhibiting in the capacity of servant a dog-like fidelity which has stood the supreme test.
    All black people of my mother’s generation–and of generations before and since–have necessarily faced a moment like this, when they are confronted for the first time with the allegation of their inferiority. But, at least in my mother’s case, her school was integrated, and that meant she knew black girls who were more intelligent than white girls, and she knew how she measured against the world around her. At least she lived in a country that had blacks and browns in every position of authority, so her personal experience gave the lie to what she read in the encyclopedia. This, I think, is what Noel means when he says that he cannot quite appreciate what it is that weighs black Americans down, because he encountered the debilitating effects of racism late, when he was much stronger. He came of age in a country where he belonged to the majority.
    When I was growing up, my mother sometimes read to my brothers and me from the work of Louise Bennett, the great Jamaican poet of my mother’s generation. The poem I remember best is about two women–one black and one white–in a hair salon, the black woman getting her hair straightened and, next to her, the white woman getting her hair curled:
    same time me mind start ‘tink
    ’bout me and de white woman
    how me tek out me natural perm
    and she put in false one
    There is no anger or resentment here, only irony and playfulness–the two races captured in a shared moment of absurdity. Then comes the twist. The black woman is paying less to look white than the white woman is to look black:
    de two a we da tek a risk
    what rain or shine will bring
    but fehar risk is t’repoun’
    fi me onle five shillin’
    In the nineteen-twenties, the garment trade in New York was first integrated by West Indian women, because, the legend goes, they would see the sign on the door saying “No blacks need apply” and simply walk on in. When I look back on Bennett’s poem, I think I understand how they found the courage to do that.
    3.
    It is tempting to use the West Indian story as evidence that discrimination doesn’t really exist–as proof that the only thing inner-city African-Americans have to do to be welcomed as warmly as West Indians in places like Red Hook is to make the necessary cultural adjustments. If West Indians are different, as they clearly are, then it is easy to imagine that those differences are the reason for their success–that their refusal to be bowed is what lets them walk on by the signs that prohibit them or move to neighborhoods that black Americans would shy away from. It also seems hard to see how the West Indian story is in any way consistent with the idea of racism as an indiscriminate, pernicious threat aimed at all black people.
    But here is where things become more difficult, and where what seems obvious about West Indian achievement turns out not to be obvious at all. One of the striking things in the Red Hook study, for example, is the emphasis that the employers appeared to place on hiring outsiders–Irish or Russian or Mexican or West Indian immigrants from places far from Red Hook. The reason for this was not, the researchers argue, that the employers had any great familiarity with the cultures of those immigrants. They had none, and that was the point. They were drawn to the unfamiliar because what was familiar to them–the projects of Red Hook–was anathema. The Columbia University anthropologist Katherine Newman makes the same observation in a recent study of two fast-food restaurants in Harlem. She compared the hundreds of people who applied for jobs at those restaurants with the few people who were actually hired, and found, among other things, that how far an applicant lived from the job site made a huge difference. Of those applicants who lived less than two miles from the restaurant, ten per cent were hired. Of those who lived more than two miles from the restaurant, nearly forty per cent were hired. As Newman puts it, employers preferred the ghetto they didn’t know to the ghetto they did.
    Neither study describes a workplace where individual attitudes make a big difference, or where the clunky and impersonal prejudices that characterize traditional racism have been discarded. They sound like places where old-style racism and appreciation of immigrant values are somehow bound up together. Listen to another white manager who was interviewed by Mary Waters:
    Island blacks who come over, they’re immigrant. They may not have such a good life where they are so they gonna try to strive to better themselves and I think there’s a lot of American blacks out there who feel we owe them. And enough is enough already. You know, this is something that happened to their ancestors, not now. I mean, we’ve done so much for the black people in America now that it’s time that they got off their butts.
    Here, then, are the two competing ideas about racism side by side: the manager issues a blanket condemnation of American blacks even as he holds West Indians up as a cultural ideal. The example of West Indians as “good” blacks makes the old blanket prejudice against American blacks all the easier to express. The manager can tell black Americans to get off their butts without fear of sounding, in his own ears, like a racist, because he has simultaneously celebrated island blacks for their work ethic. The success of West Indians is not proof that discrimination against American blacks does not exist. Rather, it is the means by which discrimination against American blacks is given one last, vicious twist: I am not so shallow as to despise you for the color of your skin, because I have found people your color that I like. Now I can despise you for who you are.
    This is racism’s newest mutation–multicultural racism, where one ethnic group can be played off against another. But it is wrong to call West Indians the victors in this competition, in anything but the narrowest sense. In American history, immigrants have always profited from assimilation: as they have adopted the language and customs of this country, they have sped their passage into the mainstream. The new racism means that West Indians are the first group of people for whom that has not been true. Their advantage depends on their remaining outsiders, on remaining unfamiliar, on being distinct by custom, culture, and language from the American blacks they would otherwise resemble. There is already some evidence that the considerable economic and social advantages that West Indians hold over American blacks begin to dissipate by the second generation, when the island accent has faded, and those in positions of power who draw distinctions between good blacks and bad blacks begin to lump West Indians with everyone else. For West Indians, assimilation is tantamount to suicide. This is a cruel fate for any immigrant group, but it is especially so for West Indians, whose history and literature are already redolent with the themes of dispossession and loss, with the long search for identity and belonging. In the nineteen-twenties, Marcus Garvey sought community in the idea of Africa. Bob Marley, the Jamaican reggae singer, yearned for Zion. In “Rites of Passage” the Barbadian poet Edward Kamau Brathwaite writes:
    Where, then, is the nigger’s
    home?
    In Paris Brixton Kingston
    Rome?
    Here?
    Or in Heaven?
    America might have been home. But it is not: not Red Hook, anyway; not Harlem; not even Argyle Avenue.
    There is also no small measure of guilt here, for West Indians cannot escape the fact that their success has come, to some extent, at the expense of American blacks, and that as they have noisily differentiated themselves from African-Americans–promoting the stereotype of themselves as the good blacks–they have made it easier for whites to join in. It does not help matters that the same kinds of distinctions between good and bad blacks which govern the immigrant experience here have always lurked just below the surface of life in the West Indies as well. It was the infusion of white blood that gave the colored class its status in the Caribbean, and the members of this class have never forgotten that, nor have they failed, in a thousand subtle ways, to distance themselves from those around them who experienced a darker and less privileged past.
    In my mother’s house, in Harewood, the family often passed around a pencilled drawing of two of my great-grandparents; she was part Jewish, and he was part Scottish. The other side–the African side–was never mentioned. My grandmother was the ringleader in this. She prized my grandfather’s light skin, but she also suffered as a result of this standard. “She’s nice, you know, but she’s too dark,” her mother-in-law would say of her. The most telling story of all, though, is the story of one of my mother’s relatives, whom I’ll call Aunt Joan, who was as fair as my great-grandmother was. Aunt Joan married what in Jamaica is called an Injun–a man with a dark complexion that is redeemed from pure Africanness by straight, fine black hair. She had two daughters by him–handsome girls with dark complexions. But he died young, and one day, while she was travelling on a train to visit her daughter, she met and took an interest in a light-skinned man in the same railway car. What happened next is something that Aunt Joan told only my mother, years later, with the greatest of shame. When she got off the train, she walked right by her daughter, disowning her own flesh and blood, because she did not want a man so light-skinned and desirable to know that she had borne a daughter so dark.
    My mother, in the nineteen-sixties, wrote a book about her experiences. It was entitled “Brown Face, Big Master,” the brown face referring to her and the big master, in the Jamaican dialect, referring to God. Sons, of course, are hardly objective on the achievements of their mothers, but there is one passage in the book that I find unforgettable, because it is such an eloquent testimony to the moral precariousness of the Jamaican colored class–to the mixture of confusion and guilt that attends its position as beneficiary of racism’s distinctions. The passage describes a time just after my mother and father were married, when they were living in London and my eldest brother was still a baby. They were looking for an apartment, and after a long search my father found one in a London suburb. On the day after they moved in, however, the landlady ordered them out. “You didn’t tell me your wife was colored,” she told my father, in a rage.
    In her book my mother describes her long struggle to make sense of this humiliation, to reconcile her experience with her faith. In the end, she was forced to acknowledge that anger was not an option–that as a Jamaican “middle-class brown,” and a descendant of Aunt Joan, she could hardly reproach another for the impulse to divide good black from bad black:
    I complained to God in so many words: “Here I was, the wounded representative of the negro race in our struggle to be accounted free and equal with the dominating whites!” And God was amused; my prayer did not ring true with Him. I would try again. And then God said, “Have you not done the same thing? Remember this one and that one, people whom you have slighted or avoided or treated less considerately than others because they were different superficially, and you were ashamed to be identified with them. Have you not been glad that you are not more colored than you are? Grateful that you are not black?” My anger and hate against the landlady melted. I was no better than she was, nor worse for that matter. . . . We were both guilty of the sin of self-regard, the pride and the exclusiveness by which we cut some people off from ourselves.
    4.
    I grew up in Canada, in a little farming town an hour and a half outside of Toronto. My father teaches mathematics at a nearby university, and my mother is a therapist. For many years, she was the only black person in town, but I cannot remember wondering or worrying, or even thinking, about this fact. Back then, color meant only good things. It meant my cousins in Jamaica. It meant the graduate students from Africa and India my father would bring home from the university. My own color was not something I ever thought much about, either, because it seemed such a stray fact. Blacks knew what I was. They could discern the hint of Africa beneath my fair skin. But it was a kind of secret–something that they would ask me about quietly when no one else was around. (“Where you from?” an older black man once asked me. “Ontario,” I said, not thinking. “No,” he replied. “Where you from?” And then I understood and told him, and he nodded as if he had already known. “We was speculatin’ about your heritage,” he said.) But whites never guessed, and even after I informed them it never seemed to make a difference. Why would it? In a town that is ninety-nine per cent white, one modest alleged splash of color hardly amounts to a threat.
    But things changed when I left for Toronto to attend college. This was during the early nineteen-eighties, when West Indians were immigrating to Canada in droves, and Toronto had become second only to New York as the Jamaican expatriates’ capital in North America. At school, in the dining hall, I was served by Jamaicans. The infamous Jane-Finch projects, in northern Toronto, were considered the Jamaican projects. The drug trade then taking off was said to be the Jamaican drug trade. In the popular imagination, Jamaicans were–and are–welfare queens and gun-toting gangsters and dissolute youths. In Ontario, blacks accused of crimes are released by the police eighteen per cent of the time; whites are released twenty-nine per cent of the time. In drug-trafficking and importing cases, blacks are twenty-seven times as likely as whites to be jailed before their trial takes place, and twenty times as likely to be imprisoned on drug-possession charges.
    After I had moved to the United States, I puzzled over this seeming contradiction–how West Indians celebrated in New York for their industry and drive could represent, just five hundred miles northwest, crime and dissipation. Didn’t Torontonians see what was special and different in West Indian culture? But that was a naïve question. The West Indians were the first significant brush with blackness that white, smug, comfortable Torontonians had ever had. They had no bad blacks to contrast with the newcomers, no African-Americans to serve as a safety valve for their prejudices, no way to perform America’s crude racial triage.
    Not long ago, I sat in a coffee shop with someone I knew vaguely from college, who, like me, had moved to New York from Toronto. He began to speak of the threat that he felt Toronto now faced. It was the Jamaicans, he said. They were a bad seed. He was, of course, oblivious of my background. I said nothing, though, and he launched into a long explanation of how, in slave times, Jamaica was the island where all the most troublesome and obstreperous slaves were sent, and how that accounted for their particularly nasty disposition today.
    I have told that story many times since, usually as a joke, because it was funny in an appalling way–particularly when I informed him much, much later that my mother was Jamaican. I tell the story that way because otherwise it is too painful. There must be people in Toronto just like Rosie and Noel, with the same attitudes and aspirations, who want to live in a neighborhood as nice as Argyle Avenue, who want to build a new garage and renovate their basement and set up their own business downstairs. But it is not completely up to them, is it? What has happened to Jamaicans in Toronto is proof that what has happened to Jamaicans here is not the end of racism, or even the beginning of the end of racism, but an accident of history and geography. In America, there is someone else to despise. In Canada, there is not. In the new racism, as in the old, somebody always has to be the nigger.
    © 2013 Malcolm Gladwell.

    Like

  • Hal…….quite an article, funny, someone and i had this same discussion recently, it evolved around all the descendants of slaves now residing in the west, this includes Europe, we recognized that the mentality of these descendants differed significantly from blacks still in Africa, how Caribbean blacks view racism differs significantly from island to island and North American country to country, that also includes Europe, how these same descendants view each other, country to country, island to island as it regards hair texture, skin tones, all the superficial garbage that has now become cultural and rendered them stupid is also an enigma……..education is the key to destroying the destructive cultural stagnation…what makes it even more scary is that they do not understand racism and the experiment that worked to perfection in the psyche of the descendants of the slave trade victims.

    Like

  • Five years have gone too soon.

    Like

Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s