The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – A Coincidence of Holidays

public-holidaysMonday and Tuesday of last week were celebrated as public holidays in Barbados, although I am still unclear as to the reason for this phenomenon. I mean, last Sunday was not itself a holiday so that it could not be claimed that since Monday was already an official holiday, Emancipation Day, the Tuesday was declared one as well to compensate for the Sunday, as is usually done.

According to the First Schedule to the Public Holidays Act, Cap. 352, both “the 1st of August being Emancipation Day” and “the first Monday in August” are listed as public holidays, notably in that order, so I imagine that their coincidence on this occasion did not serve to have the two celebrated on the single day, Monday, that satisfied both their descriptions but rather caused their separation, even though it would have been arguably hard to justify Tuesday, August 2, 2016 standing alone as a public holiday at all, since it was neither August 1 nor the first Monday in August!

In any case, section 3 (2)(a) of the same statute empowers the Governor General, presumably acting under the advice of Cabinet or a member thereof, to appoint any other day in any year to be a public holiday in Barbados, so that once this had been duly done, the legal prerequisite was satisfied. In any case, the ouster clause in section 32 (5) of the Constitution would presumably put paid, except in rather limited circumstances, to any argument as to the bona fides of this exercise.

“Where the Governor-General is directed to exercise any function in accordance with the recommendation or advice of, or with the concurrence of, or after consultation with, any person or authority, the question whether he has so exercised that function shall not be enquired into in any court…”

Not that I am complaining one whit, even though there are no classes currently scheduled for the students in my Faculty, and the relatively rare concept of a free day for a legal scholar certainly does not depend upon its official proclamation by the competent authorities. As it turned out, I did not treat that day as a public holiday.

Complaints of varying kinds, did come however from at least two sources concerning the official treatment of the coincidence. The Barbados Employers Confederation seemed aghast that, given the likely impediment to economic growth, there could be the loss of two consecutive workdays in one week.

According to the executive director of that organization, there was a demonstrable need for the rationalization of public holidays in Barbados “to remove the disruption in scheduling work when public holidays fall within the workweek”. The BEC has proposed that “except for Christmas and Independence days, other holidays should be celebrated on Mondays or Fridays”.

This initial proposal, while perhaps attractive to employers, fails, for one, to take account of the significance of the dates of some of these holidays to their observance as public holidays.

There is the allied suggestion that Errol Barrow Day, National Heroes’ Day, Emancipation Day, and the Day of National Significance ( in fact not a public holiday) be rolled into the first Monday in August. This proposal, apart from ignoring that these holidays, excluding National Heroes’ Day, are celebrated precisely when they are because of the date of the birth of the eponymous character in the first case and the date of the coming into force of the statutory end of the slave trade in the other, means that these celebrations would inevitably clash with the date appointed for the Grand Kadooment street parade of the bands; with the consequence that their national populist significance would be drastically reduced and that we might be forced to contemplate the identical scenario to this year where there would be a coincidence not merely of two public holidays but of one and now a compound other.

Moreover, with the prospect of the 24-hour workday looming in Barbados, the suggestion of a reduction in national downtime at this juncture seems misplaced in favour of the plainly contestable view that industrial productivity increases the longer and more often one is at work.

Certainly with our 12 public holidays we do not approximate to Trinidad & Tobago that has seemingly embraced its national thesis that “every creed and race finds an equal place” by officially celebrating as public holidays such religious themes as Shouter Baptist Day, Corpus Christi, Eid-ul-Fitr, and Divali, and of course, Good Friday, Easter Monday Christmas Day and Boxing Day ; together with the self explanatory Indian Arrival Day, for a total of 14 public holidays. Guyana, according to my research , outdoes all the other CARICOM member states with 16 such days.

The second complaint did not relate so much to the doubling of the public holidays as to the consequent trivializing of the significant Emancipation Day observance by permitting the costumed street parade to take place on that day. August 1. According to my learned friend, David Comissiong, speaking to the gathering at the Emancipation Statute on Monday, the authorities could have rescheduled Grand Kadooment until the Tuesday so as not to permit its clashing with the “historically fixed” Emancipation Day. As he rightfully stated, “Kadooment Day is not historically determined. It has been determined by the Government of Barbados that it should be the first Monday in August, but that can be changed… primacy should be given to Emancipation Day”.

While David does have a cogent and incontrovertible historical point, it is at least doubtful, given the comparative degrees of participation by locals in the respective events, that it is likely to find much resonance with a populace enamoured of the revelry of Kadooment,

Barbadians should be mindful that the identical issues will arise again in 2022, when August 1 will again fall on a Monday.

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39 Comments on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – A Coincidence of Holidays”

  1. David August 7, 2016 at 7:47 AM #

    Here is Pat Hoyos spin on the same issue. Thought it was Caswell’s turn to publish in the Nation today!

    NOT ALL BLACK AND WHITE: Public holidays not affecting productivity


    Added 07 August 2016


    Last Sunday, with Foreday Morning and the soca competitions behind us, and Kadooment coming on the Monday, and a “day two” the next day, this newspaper’s front page featured a cry from the Barbados Employment Confederation’s (BEC) executive director, Tony Walcott, that there were just too many public holidays in Barbados.

    And even though we only had two consecutive public holidays in August this year because Kadooment Day (always first Monday in August) fell on Emancipation Day (always August 1), it was enough to make the BEC say, “enough!” and drag out a report from two years ago about reducing them from 12 to ten.

    If you want to put all the holidays except Christmas and Independence Day on a Monday or a Friday, that’s okay with me. I will enjoy seeing how you are going to make December 26 and January 1 regular working days, not to mention May Day. And if some political party wants to abolish two of them entirely, as the BEC apparently wants, I will certainly attend its political funeral.

    Some people around here always throw in Singapore and other successful countries when advancing a point. So for the record, Singapore has 15 public holidays, and so does South Korea, which are, of course, two of the least productive countries in the world. Hong Kong and India have 17 each.

    But it shows, in my view, ignorance of how people make their living in the service economy to equate our regular 12 public holidays with lack of productivity. In a country which has moved to the service industries to create jobs that used to be filled by manufacturing and sugar agriculture, the point is that most service providers work through these days anyway.

    Hotels, fast food restaurants, service stations, and other tourism-related businesses, including retail stores when the cruise ships are in, and media companies, are among the businesses for whom a public holiday, with a few exceptions, is just another day.

    The new Employment Rights Act simplifies the rostering of staff through most bank holidays and Sundays, a helpful nod to the move toward the service economy. The people who work on these days are paid double or triple time, and provide services to tourists and, increasingly, locals, who are often out and about on those days spending money in the economy on recreation, food and entertainment.

    If you removed any of the public holidays you would reduce, not increase, overall productivity in the economy. It is the great Barbadian public, whether they are attending Crop Over, Bushy Park, the Garrison or Kensington Oval, sports and entertainment events, that provide the boost to the livelihoods of many local vendors, artisans and other service providers.

    But how many, you say, might be in this so-called services sector?

    The total average number of people in the labour force in 2015 has been put at 144 600. Of that total, says the GIS, “the wholesale and retail trade sector generated jobs for the largest number of persons, employing 20 200 persons, while the accommodation and food services sector employed 15 800 persons”.

    In addition, it said, the “other groups sector,” which includes information and communications, activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies, real estate, and the arts, entertainment and recreation industries, employed 7 600 persons.

    On top of that, the “transportation and storage sector” employed 6 300 persons, while the “employment in the activities of households as employers sector” (didn’t even know there was one) stood at 5 100 persons.

    So, adding it up, just those categories employed around 55 000 people, or over a third of the labour force. I wonder how any of them are rostered through public holidays? Quite a large percentage, I would guess.

    And of course, there are many people, like your humble correspondent, for whom a public holiday may offer the chance to sleep in a bit, but if there are deadlines to meet . . . well, you already know my editors.

    Patrick Hoyos is a journalist and publisher specialising in business. Email:

    – See more at:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bush Tea August 7, 2016 at 8:06 AM #

    Only people who have pride in themselves and who actually are productive members of society care about things like this. Why would a low-class worker – for all intents and purposes a modern day indentured servant, care about national productivity?
    Would anyone have expected plantation slaves to complain if every damn day was a bank holiday?

    If ordinary Bajans OWNED the productive sectors of the country ….. and could see their assets rise and fall with national productivity…. THEN they may care about holidays, productivity, good management, national cleanliness, punctuality and even good manners.

    Brass bowls ALWAYS seem to plant corn and look to reap potatoes.

    If we sell every shiite to the Canadians, Trinidadians and to any other albino with money to burn, then let THEM worry about productivity and efficiency…. while the bowls concentrate on wukking up and drinking up and merry-making….

    It that not why we sold off our birthrights in the first place? …so that we can eat and drink and make merry…in our BMWs and brand-name gear?

    Bank holidays shiite – EVERY day in a bank holiday bout here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David August 7, 2016 at 8:12 AM #

    @Bush Tea

    Shouldn’t we be holistic in our critique about the worrisome national productivity by considering the time spent at bus stops, in government offices, on the roads in traffic etc?

    Why the focus only on public holidays?


  4. Bush Tea August 7, 2016 at 8:28 AM #

    Are you not missing the point David?

    A ‘holistic’ look would tell you that there is NO INCENTIVE for Barbadians to be productive AT ANY TIME…..
    This is why we are always late; never professional; never reliable and always effectively ‘on holiday’.

    Why the hell should we worry about being productive for the Trickidadian or Canadian owners of Barbados? … What incentive will you provide for some shiite clerk with a masters degree from Jeff C and Sir Cave to give her all to Ramroopnarine, Emera or ScotiaBank?

    There is a REASON why OWNERSHIP is important.
    It is the source of personal PRIDE, of INDUSTRY, of PRODUCTIVITY and of QUALITY.

    “No ownership” means no pride, no industry, no productivity and eventually, that the foreign owners, the local indentured servants and the whole cuntry will go broke….

    The problem is more fundamental than holidays OR bus stops…. it is about OWNERSHIP…

    See if you can explain that to Miller, Artax and Enuff …cause Arthur, Mascoll and the other Economists (whatever the hell those are…) seems to not get it…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. David August 7, 2016 at 8:33 AM #

    @Bush Tea

    The point about ownership is very well understood. As you know building indigenous companies and ethos fuelled by a relevant education system conflicts with the regional and globalized constructs the political class is anchored.


  6. Caswell Franklyn August 7, 2016 at 8:43 AM #

    Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
    With foreign quarrels; that action, hence borne out,
    May waste the memory of the former days.

    That is the advice that a dying King Henry IV is said to have given his son and heir in Shakespeare’s play Henry IV Part 2 (Act 4 Scene 3).

    That seems to be the advice that leaders of this country have been following. In the case of Henrt V, he attacked France. Our leaders tend to busy giddy minds with fete instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Donna August 7, 2016 at 8:52 AM #

    I’m getting tired of agreeing with you, Bushie.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pachamama August 7, 2016 at 9:13 AM #

    @ Bushie

    You are describing a new form of slavery, are you not!


  9. Bush Tea August 7, 2016 at 9:24 AM #

    @ Donna
    …tee hee

    @ Pacha
    You are describing a new form of slavery, are you not
    Old as the hills.
    The only thing ‘new’ is the present set of highly certified jackasses working their hardest to get us back where we were 100 years ago…

    Sir Cave Hilary must truly be proud of his ‘historic’ achievements…. having created a class of UWI graduates (one in each household?) whose major achievement have been to reverse all the gains made by the ‘class 4 educated’ Bajans of the mid to late 20th century.

    Brass bowl jokers!!!


  10. David August 7, 2016 at 9:41 AM #

    It always comes back to the country we want to build for our children doesn’t it. After all the partisan political rhetoric guess what, we are not producing. Now we can discussed how we define ‘producing’.


  11. Bush Tea August 7, 2016 at 9:42 AM #

    @ David
    The point about ownership is very well understood.
    NO IT ISN’T….!!!

    Don’t you listen to Peter Wicked? …or indeed David Ellis …or anyone else normally allowed to spout their shiite on (anti-Barbados, OCM) VOB?
    According to their gospel, it DOES NOT MATTER who owns an asset… ‘because they can’t take it up and move it away’….
    Pack of unashamed jackasses…. Did the Trickidadians not take up Almond – a BAJAN BRAND with the potential to OUTDO Sandals…. and ‘move it away…? (by cashing in all the liquidity, refusing to upgrade or reinvest , ..and killing off the brand????)

    What stops EMERA from doing the same? Have they not already taken all the liquid reserves accumulated for YEARS by McConney and company (instead of paying dividends to local shareholders and good salaries to workers) to Canada? What reinvestments have they made in new plant and equipment? What happens when the old generators die off…?

    Don’t tell Bushie about the importance of ‘ownership’ being understood…. Tell Jeff C …and see if HE could tell Sir Cave Hilary and the other ‘leaders’ in society…. or write something about THAT..

    Wunna people don’t like bible references, but in describing the coming IDEAL country to be established by “BBE and sons Ltd”, Micah 4 speaks of an arrangement where “they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, …and no one shall make them afraid…”

    Translated….OWNERSHIP shall be established down to the individual level. There will then therefore be no ‘bosses’, or ‘owners’, or ‘directors’ to make any such man ‘afraid….
    A man shall be a man …..


  12. David August 7, 2016 at 9:45 AM #


    Understood by the BU household should have been written.


  13. David August 7, 2016 at 9:46 AM #


    Translated….OWNERSHIP shall be established down to the individual level. There will then therefore be no ‘bosses’, or ‘owners’, or ‘directors’ to make any such man ‘afraid….
    A man shall be a man …..

    ‘Man’ in its wider definition?


  14. Donna August 7, 2016 at 10:16 AM #


    A few years ago when I had less time to think, I sang my National Anthem with pride. Now I simply cannot bear to hear it. EVERY word is a lie. And lies do not sit well with me.

    “These fields and hills beyond recall are now our very own??????”

    “We write our names on history’s page with EXPECTATIONS GREAT???????”

    ALL LIES! ALL! And no rearrangement of the music can change that.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. pieceuhderockyeahright August 7, 2016 at 10:57 AM #

    David Come Sing a Song in his impassioned plea about what Emancipation Day should mean sent dis ole man scampering to a former home for a reference point that projected the point that he sought to make about national pride.

    Yesssss de ole man went to Babylon de Great and July 4th

    I found this John Adams note to his wife Abigail which reads “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

    Google it per the reconciliation of the 2nd of July and the Now entrenched 4th

    Then I ran to Israel and its Jerusalem Day that commemorates the 6 days we of 1967, my quest was to find an equivalent day of such symbolism that is shifted on the whims and fancies of expediency much akin to shifting Christmas from the 25th December because Fumbles wanted an early election.

    After a while it comes down to what is our image of ourselves, those of the majority population for whom Emancipation Day would have some significance and for others for whom “it jes is a nex day.”

    As to the Executive Director Tony Walcott’s comments, some are bereft of new ideas as one would believe his position and agency would champion a more substantive matter.

    In time this is just a manifestation of our indigenous interpretation of days of national significance which, like Easter, is no longer is seen by the larger population of which Jeff speaks, to be a day’s celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ but a day for exchanging chocolate Easter eggs.


  16. David August 7, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

    After listening to some of what minister Sincler had to say on the afternoon talkshow there was the feeling of same old same old (deja vu). And boy was he prepared to defend Preconco


  17. Pachamama August 7, 2016 at 2:25 PM #

    @ Donna

    This whole independence story was and still is, one big lie


  18. balance August 7, 2016 at 2:39 PM #

    “Donna August 7, 2016 at 10:16 AM #


    A few years ago when I had less time to think, I sang my National Anthem with pride. Now I simply cannot bear to hear it. EVERY word is a lie. And lies do not sit well with me.

    “These fields and hills beyond recall are now our very own??????”

    “We write our names on history’s page with EXPECTATIONS GREAT

    At least we are on the same page in this regard. The national anthem in my view more relates to Sir Cow and them folks. They ought to sing it lustily.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. FearPlay August 7, 2016 at 3:22 PM #

    Talking about ownership and productivity makes me ask why the big surprise that our foreign reserves keep falling. Should we really expect increased foreign reserved when the following is taken into consideration:
    Massy (and it’s immense holdings – think real estate, supermarkets, insurance, automotive ets), Ansa McAl (and it’s immense holdings – same as previous), Arawak and now Rock Hard Cement, Royal Bank of Canada, CIBC, First Citizens Bank, Republic Bank, Scotia Bank, Emera, Sandy Lane, Royal Pavilion, Sandals, Hilton, Crane, and all the other foreign owned hotels, Ambev (formerly Banks), most General Insurance Companies, Courts Ltd, KFC, Burger King, FLOW, Digicel, PriceSmart, and some of the major contract builders, etc.

    Do you see a connection between the above and why with increased tourism arrivals we are still seeing declining foreign reserves? They are all foreign owned and every year they return their profits to their home country. Still wondering what has suddenly happened to our foreign reserves and why Frundel’s Fools are considering the curtailment of free access to foreign currency for locals? Yup, we are celebrating 50 years of independence! Let’s improve our productivity.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. David August 7, 2016 at 3:35 PM #


    A good point but we all know the reason, FDI has dried up in the last 5 or 6 years, tourists are spending on average less with the leaking in the tourism sector acerbated by Sandals and others locating the reservations system outside of Barbados and high priced loans have to be repaid. Yes these companies remit management fees or profits etc but the government had to make the trade off to keep people employed. Oops! Many of these companies downsized as well. A real bitter ill.

    On Sun, Aug 7, 2016 at 7:22 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:



  21. ac August 7, 2016 at 3:45 PM #

    Speaking of ownership and national pride where was Comissiong when one of our favourite beaches was named after a city in Miami the beach so well known as Miami Beach.see the hypocrisy what a load of belly laugh yet we are here spouting emsncipation from our colonial past but have no problems going about and recapturing the glories of Western civilization . what a bunch of hypocrites


  22. David August 7, 2016 at 3:48 PM #

    The name of the beach is Enterprise Beach.

    A better question is why name the hospital Queen Elizabeth or the police Royal Barbados Police Force.


    Liked by 1 person

  23. Colonel Buggy August 7, 2016 at 3:57 PM #

    David August 7, 2016 at 8:12 AM #

    Shouldn’t we be holistic in our critique about the worrisome national productivity by considering the time spent at bus stops, in government offices, on the roads in traffic etc?
    And for those in the higher echelon…….. Golf Courses, Yacht Clubs, Cattlewash, and all the many service clubs. For many of these, every day is a bank holiday, sorry public holiday, while the Superintendants, Watchmen and Drivers are minding their air-conditioned plantations


  24. ac August 7, 2016 at 4:11 PM #

    The name of the beach is Enterprise. However the adopted name of Miami Beach is more widely used and recognized and given as an acceptability and the question is why.
    David your attitude towards difference of opinion leaves much to be desired jack a.sss
    You need to get a grip of your disturbing behaviour which is uncalled for and which by itself shows the level of stress you have placed upon yourself under trying to be yard boy for the opposition


  25. David August 7, 2016 at 4:23 PM #

    And why should Commisiong advocate against the colloquial name given to a beach?

    Do you know how the name Miami originated?



  26. ac August 7, 2016 at 5:10 PM #

    No but would be interesting to know for the name has given a rise to the popularityof the beach a twisted analogy to our nationality and not even a whisper of nationalist outburst from those who rather see batbadod from symbolic gestures .Kind of fascinating that a name akin to western civilization would be so welcomed along our pristine shores.


  27. ac August 7, 2016 at 5:58 PM #

    No but would be interesting to know for the name has given a rise to the popularityof the beach a twisted analogy to our nationality and not even a whisper of nationalist outburst from those who rather see barbados removed from symbolic gestures .Kind of fascinating that a name akin to western civilization would be so welcomed along our pristine shores.


  28. Bush Tea August 7, 2016 at 7:22 PM #

    How is it even possible for someone to be sooooo stupid…?
    Truly ignorance is boundless….

    Liked by 1 person

  29. FearPlay August 7, 2016 at 7:33 PM #

    @BushT Be reminded that you are dealing with one of Froons unappointed Fools. “Stoopid is as Stoopid does” to quote Forrest Gump.


  30. lawson August 7, 2016 at 8:27 PM #

    we have 13 public holidays up from 12 in Ontario one added by premier Dalton mcginty in feb. which we call family day you should consider it also if the name isn’t too off putting


  31. Gabriel August 7, 2016 at 8:37 PM #

    I’m trying to figure out how AC got to post on the same blog as JC.Sumtin Wong.


  32. ac August 7, 2016 at 9:25 PM #

    bush shit u ought not to be one to be calling anyone stupid what is stupid is when communist lap dogs like you become cheer leaders for communist shit hounds like comissiongs . Ever friggin persoin that does not endorsed your antiquated and Neanderthal thinking you cuss who de f care what u think except the ole fossils like yuh self , sh,,it man u had a blog which could not as much as a attract a fly but however u come here on Bu trying to be some powful mcguffee cussing and swearing those of differing views with your over inflated ego what an egotistical jac a,,s
    why dont you tell bu how much investment u have put in the development of this island instead of posting yuh ridiculous poppycock Your ilk ought to be ashamed that foreign investors come here and invest in this country and all that you and others have invested is lots of lip service and demands what a dic head


  33. Bush Tea August 8, 2016 at 8:05 AM #

    @ AC
    bush shit u ought not to be one to be calling anyone stupid…
    You are right on that score AC, but Bushie was just trying to be nice and civil.

    Normally, someone who made an argument that a local nickname for a place should be protested formally would be described in much more robust terms – mostly in the shape of bowls, female rabbits, and of ‘Equus africanus asinus’.
    ….but out of respect for David and the BU family…. let’s just say it is STUPID…. OK? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Donna August 8, 2016 at 8:54 AM #

    Does Comissiong still favour communism? Or has he, like many, grown up and realized its pitfalls. This does not mean that he must give up his admiration for Castro. Heck, I still have admiration for the man for defying the US of A for so long. Most people have come to a position somewhere between capitalism and communism. Has Comissiong demonstrated that he is not among them?

    Liked by 1 person

  35. ac August 8, 2016 at 10:57 AM #

    Donna your answer lies in his past and present speeches.


  36. Gabriel August 8, 2016 at 9:55 PM #

    We regret to learn of the passing of one of your senior officers at the FTC.We condole with you and her family on your loss.


  37. Hants August 10, 2016 at 6:17 PM #

    MINISTER OF HEALTH John Boyce has admitted to gaps in laws governing the food industry.


  38. David August 10, 2016 at 6:50 PM #


    The silly season is getting closer, no surprise to have to endure conciliatory positions emanating from political aspirants.



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