Another Walter Blackman Column – The Walrus and the Carpenter

Walter Blackman – Actuary and CBC Talk Show host

For many years, pleas were made from various quarters (Gladstone Holder comes readily to mind) for Barbadians to remain eternally vigilant over the handling of our nation’s affairs. For the most part, these pleas went unheeded. Unfortunately, the brave few who stood up to highlight glaring deficiencies in our governance structure, to point out the repetitive instances of evident corruption, or to make serious suggestions aimed at promoting and enhancing productivity, efficiency, and national development, were all initially and routinely dismissed as radicals and malcontents, and then summarily ostracized and dismissed.

Some of these “pioneering rejects” exhibited extraordinary bravery and love for country by running for political office within fledgling parties and on platforms that conveyed progressive and non-traditional messages. However, their efforts and messages fell on deaf ears as too many members of our populace focused their attention on feasting upon whatever crumbs fell from the lips of the privileged few, or from the hands and promises of visionless politicians bent on selling out the country and its interests.

In reflecting upon the road that we have travelled over the last 51 years as a nation, I found myself remembering a poem which I had read as a 13-year old student at Combermere. The poem, authored by Lewis Carroll, was published in 1871.

As you read the poem, I exhort you to view the Carpenter as politicians and their handpicked cronies. The Walrus represents senior public service administrators and members of the traditional private sector, who have all mastered the very lucrative game of collusion, bribery, and kickbacks.

The Oysters are the gifted, honest, talented, industrious members of our population, our at-risk NIS and its contributions, our sense of decency and fairness, our respect for law and order, the integrity and resources of our central bank, our national bank, our development bank, and our most profitable and productive national assets.

Finally, I ask you to accept that some of our Oysters have already been eaten. The rest of them now seem to await a similar, inescapable fate.

The Walrus and the Carpenter


The sun was shining on the sea,

      Shining with all his might:

He did his very best to make

      The billows smooth and bright —

And this was odd, because it was

      The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,

      Because she thought the sun

Had got no business to be there

      After the day was done —

“”It’s very rude of him,” she said,

      “To come and spoil the fun.”

The sea was wet as wet could be,

      The sands were dry as dry.

You could not see a cloud, because

      No cloud was in the sky:

No birds were flying overhead —

      There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

      Were walking close at hand;

They wept like anything to see

      Such quantities of sand:

“If this were only cleared away,”

      They said, “it would be grand!’

“If seven maids with seven mops

      Swept it for half a year,

Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,

     “That they could get it clear?”

“ I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,

      And shed a bitter tear.

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”

      The Walrus did beseech.

“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,

      Along the briny beach:

We cannot do with more than four,

      To give a hand to each.”

The eldest Oyster looked at him,

      But never a word he said:

The eldest Oyster winked his eye,

      And shook his heavy head —

Meaning to say he did not choose

      To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,

      All eager for the treat:

Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,

      Their shoes were clean and neat —

And this was odd, because, you know,

      They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,

      And yet another four;

And thick and fast they came at last,

      And more, and more, and more —

All hopping through the frothy waves,

      And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

      Walked on a mile or so,

And then they rested on a rock

      Conveniently low:

And all the little Oysters stood

      And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,

     “To talk of many things:

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —

      Of cabbages — and kings —

And why the sea is boiling hot —

      And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,

      “Before we have our chat;

For some of us are out of breath,

      And all of us are fat!”

“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.

      They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,

     “Is what we chiefly need:

Pepper and vinegar besides

      Are very good indeed —

Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,

      We can begin to feed.”

“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,

      Turning a little blue.

“After such kindness, that would be

      A dismal thing to do!”

“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.

     “ Do you admire the view?”

“It was so kind of you to come!

      And you are very nice!”’

The Carpenter said nothing but

      “Cut us another slice:

I wish you were not quite so deaf —

      I’ve had to ask you twice!”

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,

     “To play them such a trick,

After we’ve brought them out so far,

      And made them trot so quick!”

The Carpenter said nothing but

      “The butter’s spread too thick!”’

“I weep for you,”’ the Walrus said:

     “I deeply sympathize.”’

With sobs and tears he sorted out

      Those of the largest size,

Holding his pocket-handkerchief

      Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,

      “You’ve had a pleasant run!

Shall we be trotting home again?”

      But answer came there none —

And this was scarcely odd, because

      They’d eaten every one.


  • David December 7, 2017 at 3:14 PM #

    How have you able to become a fan of BU and separate the work of the blogmaster? Can you refer the forum to the blogger’s manual you have referenced to support your positions? Do you understand what is a blog?


    Interpretation is important. The original thinking behind a blog was the democratisation of ideas, allowing people of various views, who normally would not have access to the traditional media to express their ideas. It is a free market of ideas.
    The role of the moderator is to set the rules of debate, no punches below the belt. In other words, he is the Speaker of this digital parliament. That is why under the Westminster model the Speaker is not challenged by any other candidates during a general election. It is to maintain fairness.
    When the moderator expresses a view, it means contributors must either agree with it or oppose it and keep quiet. That very act defeats the notion of aw market of free ideas.
    What makes it worse is when the moderator is clearly wrong in his/her views. The challenge is that you keep quiet out of politeness, or oppose him/her. To oppose is to be in conflict with the moderator.
    In the culture of BU, that opens the door for a group of vicious predators to join in on the attack like wild dogs. What Jean Blondel called the baying mob. I can go on, but the essence of what I am trying to say is there.
    A moderator that joins the fight can expect to be punched. About appreciating BU, in the context of Barbados, it is a reflection of the awful journalism of the dominant press (preint and online). our journalists badly need training.
    It is this vacuum that BU fills. @David may recall that |I suggested to him sometime ago that if he carried news he would kill the existing press.


  • A blog is about sharing opinions, most important those of the blogmaster. A blogmaster is NOT a moderator in the tradition definition.

    Finally, as blogmaster- this including the BU household (not family)- can characterize how we want the blog to operate. We have done so for 10 years and based on feedback received and our judgement at this time we see little merit in your position. Please continue to post your comments, if there are blogs out there you feel like recommending as a basis for benchmarking please do so.


  • @ David
    Boss… you are beginning to piss Bushie off yuh!!!
    Arguing with a KNOWN idiot…..?

    Bushie knew Hal as a schoolboy – he was an idiot then!!
    …he then spent 40 YEARS wandering in the desert of England…

    …even sensible people who spend more than five winters in England turn foolish.
    What the hell would you expect of someone who STARTS OUT as an idiot
    …and THEN spends 40 years there…??

    Just ignore the damn man, and thank God that he can actually manage to read -even if NOT to understand…and to press ‘send’

    Only a jackass could want to tell someone how to run their damn blog….
    If he don’t like it he can SCRAM…. or LUMP it.
    …and to think that you entertain him…!!!

    Bushie woulda just put his donkey on permanent moderation….
    …but then again, that is why Bushie is no longer ‘at large’…..

    Muh belly!!!


  • @ David
    You obviously saw the word moderator in a very narrow sense and proceeded to expose my age and status in the animal kingdom. I thank you for that. May you always remain a young lion. And if by chance you grow older may your skin become thicker.
    My dear man, I never deemed you a moderator. Of course, in this current trend of effortless hostility , reading and interpretation take a firm last place. This obviously leads to what is now being exposed on our beloved South Coast.

    I invite you to read my comment again:

    ” It is extremely difficult for a blogmaster to be a successful moderator under the current format.”

    Note a again I said “a” moderator . Quite frankly it was not attempt to be personal. I never said “the”.


  • William Skinner December 8, 2017 at 7:04 AM #

    We are playing at words. Remember Humpty Dumpty, when I use a word it means what I say it means.
    Blogmaster, moderator, chairman, referee, it simply mean the guy in charge.


  • @ Hal

    You are absolutely correct. Here is a definition of moderator from a modern dictionary:

    “a member of an online message board or electronic mailing list with privileges and responsibilities to approve or reject messages and uphold the terms of service.”


  • @ David

    F Y I :

    a person or thing that moderates.
    a person who presides over a panel discussion on radio or television.
    a member of an online message board or electronic mailing list with privileges and responsibilities to approve or reject messages and uphold the terms of service.
    a presiding officer, as at a public forum, a legislative body, or an ecclesiastical body in the Presbyterian Church.
    Physics. a substance, as graphite or heavy water, used to slow neutrons to speeds at which they are more efficient in causing fission.



  • William Skinner December 8, 2017 at 12:33 PM #

    The moderator sets the standards. When the moderator uses vulgar terms and irrational arguments it empowers the predators and fraudsters.
    We cannot talk about integrity and ethics when we are doing the same thing. That is the correct meaning of the word hypocrite.



  • @ David,

    Thanks for creating and maintaining BU.

    Your tolerance for people who insult you knows no bounds. lol

    Hope you will be watching WI vs NZ starting at 5pm.

    I will also be watching Toronto vs Seattle ( soccer ) tonight.

    Now I can get back to reading about all the shite going on in Hastings.


  • The MLS cup final is pun Saterduh.


  • @NorthernObserver,

    correct. Toronto FC in MLS Cup, Saturday 12/9 at 4pm ET on TSN & TVAS.


  • u penned “tonight”….ya mean u en gine watch it live? or does the ice fishing hut now have satellite?


  • Theophilius Gazerts 233

    Surprised to lean some folks watch MLS. Would not surprise me if they also watch cricket 🙂


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