The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – A Miscellany of Observation

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

Today, I have neither the time nor the inclination to draft an essay on a single topic for this space. Instead, I propose to write brief notes on some various topical matters that I have come across in my readings, conversations, listening, viewing and other communications that have served to amuse, bemuse, confuse and, at times, to defuse me.

The silly season

We are in the midst of what Barbadians choose to call “the silly season” although, as I have noted in this space before, this usage might be merely another case of our “humpydumptyesque” usage of words and expressions to mean exactly what we want them to mean, nothing more and, assuredly, nothing less. In this context , the Merriam Webster online dictionary gives as the definition of silly season -“a period (such as late summer) when the mass media often focus on trivial or frivolous matters for lack of major news stories or a period marked by frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behavior…”

So that strictly speaking, our usage of the phrase, while patently inapplicable, both with respect to time and context, to the primary definition that views it as a late summer mass media phenomenon, may nevertheless comport neatly with the dictionary’s secondary meaning, especially given some of the conduct exhibited by the political parties and their candidates in a bid to win the electorate’s favour.

Indeed, such is the stuff of legend. We have heard of landlocked constituencies being promised beaches or even “seas”, of plans to effect certain specified reforms within the assumedly magical period of the first 100 days that rarely seem to eventuate, and of even more arguably outlandish, though alluring, projections such as a reduction of criminal activity, the prosecution of members of an outgoing administration for corruption and a miraculous removal of all those blights that might affect the national spirit. I leave readers to judge for themselves whether any of the current projections by those now aspiring to national political leadership fall into this category.

Politics and the priesthood

Our current constitutional arrangement does not preclude a priest of whatever status, faith or denomination seeking political office. In fact, a number have already served as so-called Independent Senators under section 36 (4) of the Constitution that stipulates as follows:

Seven Senators shall be appointed by the Governor- General, acting in his discretion, by instrument under the Public Seal, to represent religious, economic or social interests or such other interests as the Governor-General considers ought to be represented…”

One has even served as a Cabinet minister in an earlier Barbados Labour Party administration and at least one other, to my best recollection, is seeking membership of the House of Assembly in the upcoming general election.

The season has nevertheless managed to engender a debate as to whether a priest should at all be engaged in local political life. I understand the debate to be centred rather on the issue of whether a priest should be demonstrably partisan, given that in a constitutional democracy that guarantees the freedoms of expression and conscience such as Barbados, the priest, as any other citizen, may not be legitimately debarred from commenting on matters of policy that impinge upon his or her opinion of what constitutes the ideal society.

Indeed, as with any society in transition, we have had to confront in recent years, a number of issues that conflict with traditional religious precepts and I do not refer solely to the legislation that permits the lawful termination of pregnancy under certain conditions, or the recognition of the union other than marriage or the legitimation of those children born to unwed parents and thus conceived in sin.

In light of the overarching tenet of Christianity that one should love his or her neighbour, the priestly view on matters such as the execution or abolition of the death penalty, the decriminalization of marijuana possession and supply and of homosexual acts between consenting adults in private would add significantly to the debate on any of these.

These contributions do not however require the priest to become partisan in any fashion, in fact it may be argued and is submitted that the priestly opinion is most cogent if he or she expresses an independent perspective with reference to authority. For the prelate to be perceived as merely echoing the dogma of the one political party or the other would, in my view, weaken the argument considerably and, perhaps, irreparably.

Post-apartheid

I have found the time this week before the commencement of lectures to take in some of the television presentation of the just concluded cricket match between India and South Africa. As expected, the performances of the players were of superior quality and it was indisputably enthralling television. What struck me most about the entire episode, however, was not the apparent gap between the performance of the lowly current regional side and that of these two contemporary leaders of the game. It was the seeming transformation of South Africa itself from what I had imagined the situation to be during the apartheid era. Given human nature, I am under no illusion that there was a stark division of the races in all facets of existence nor that all is now hunky-dory so far as that is concerned. But to see white South African males, especially, lustily cheering a dismissal by Kagiso Rabada or Lungi Ngidi or a boundary by Vernon Philander does warm the cockles of the heart and causes wonder as whether many white South Africans do not now rue in some measure those dark years of legislated separateness.

To be continued…

35 comments

  • The question of a priest seeking political office is a mere distraction. The electorate should ask itself: Who do you prefer a priest or a lawyer who was ordered by the High Court to pay over his former client’s money that he had withheld for years?

    While I am not comparing the priest to Jesus Christ, you should recall the biblical account where the crowd preferred Barabbas Carrington.

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  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    @ Jeff,

    …………does warm the cockles of the heart and causes wonder as whether many white South Africans do not now rue in some measure those dark years of legislated separateness.”

    Excellent point about South Africa. The social construct called “apartheid” was relatively speaking recently abolished in South Africa. The post-apartheid South Africa government wasted no time in implementing social changes on gaining power in order to ensure that her black majority population were given a fairer crack of the whip.

    I will give you an example. Two sports dear to white South Africa are rugby and cricket. Their respective boards were instructed that they would have to accept a quota system that would include black players into their ranks. As a consequence of this rule, the hugely talented and young mercenary cricketer, Kevin Pietersen, quit his country of birth and decided to play for England. There was a furore, but with the benefit of hindsight the authorities were right to push such an aggressive agenda. This is how you bring real change to a society.

    When will we see such changes in Barbados? The last white “Bajan” to be included in the West Indies cricket team was a man who shared the same name as the peerless Gordon Greenidge way back in 1972. I have never seen a black Bajan polo player, and i would be surprise if you would find many golfers, sailors or surfers attending the numerous sporting establishments in Barbados.

    In Barbados the whites, the brown hindus and muslims tend to live amongst themselves and have little desire to integrate with the majority population. I’m all for social engineering and believe that we need to implement social changes in Barbados to ensure that blacks and others are forced to integrate. Only then as a nation can we develop to our full potential.

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  • Brass bowls can ALWAYS be relied on to choose the ‘lawyer-thief’, as the Jews did back on Calvary. We mostly tend to vote for those with whom we can identify – who are inclined as we are…. to lead us.
    The ONLY reason we would be inclined to vote for a symbolically righteous leader is if we were interested in adopting righteousness.

    We ARE NOT!!!
    Most of us are EXACTLY like the shiite politicians that we like to cuss, just envious of their access to high level graft that currently eludes us…. while we exercise low level graft in our various communities.

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  • Jeff

    We invite you to go to SA. There you will find that the internationally accepted planks of racism are alive and well despite the hype.

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  • David

    What is the timeline, deadline, for calling general elections?

    Such a man, so unpopular, should never have a power to tell us when he can be gotten rid of.

    Far less an ability to continue to inflict more national pain

    Not that the possible response will be any less painful, maybe more.

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  • @Pacha

    Believe Freundel can force it to around 6 March.

    On Sun, Jan 28, 2018 at 2:47 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:

    >

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  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Forced integration of humans is an inherent contradiction. To bring Bajans or South Africans together in order that the different races form a unified force to impove their nation can never be achieved by legislation or other enfoced rules….that simply rectifies a past injustice.

    Apartheid and discrimatinatory racial practices are artificial man made rules which can easily be dismantled with new rules but quite clearly social engineers cannot demand citizens expend their freedom of expression or freedom of association to form some integrated group….that too is artificial and cannot be sustained.

    Nothing bars white cricketers from competing for the WI other than skill. The Jamaican Nash made it all the way.

    And I suspect that similarly with all things being equally viable, that nothing bars Black Bajans from polo fields other than the desire to expend the time and money and of course honing the requisite skills.

    For as long as we will continue to have different interests, entertain different intellectual and hobby pursuits and then also identify as separate racial groups we will continue to be segregated in many different ways; just as naturally as we will also combine our talents on many occasions to satisfy mutual goals.

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  • @Dee Word

    Are you serious? Are you aware of the class barriers that squeeze out Blacks from competing in certain sports? On the flipside Whites have shifted interest from the mass based sports for the same reasons.

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  • David

    OK. We will assume that, given local politics and the ultra political timidity of Stuart, we could hardly expect a long official electioneering period.

    Let’s say 10 to 14 days max.

    And given your advisement, an announce could be made sometime around the 22 nd of February.

    Is that a reasonable calculus.

    If it is Stuart is tooooo predicable.

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  • @Pacha

    When Stuart will call elections is a guesstimate game. Our best guess is influenced by the introduction of the The Estimates which has to be done in March. Why would this government drag the country through a debate fueled by the Estimates that would bring a focus on an nonperforming economy.

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  • David

    Constitutionally, when does this term ends?

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  • We see the main opposition party is already in the huskings.

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  • @PAcha

    He has 90 days after February 21 to call an election.

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  • David

    Thanks!

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  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @David Mr Blogmaster, can you please tell me when class bias segregation was mandated by some legislation into the human psyche…

    … and when whites shifted their interest from mass based sports who legislated that.

    Of course I am serious…and you have amplified my point : “… For as long as we will continue to have different interests, entertain different intellectual and hobby pursuits …”

    Did I need to itemize class difference and religious, sexual orientation/identification etc!

    We tend to hyperventilate over racial ‘segregation’ because it is the most insidious and irrational way to stigmitize or restrict a human being from exploring life’s successes but class difference is also as restrictive.

    Can you tell me how many Black socially upward folks have memberships at Westmorland golf or Bdos Golf Club! I know quite a number. Why worry about supposed class barriers at polo when there seems much less in those instances.

    I am not naive or stupid enough to dismiss the unseen barriers and challenges Blacks continue to face but by the same token we cannot look away from the fact that our Bajan society is segregated in more complex ways than just basic race…

    And in those instances where there is visible segregation (cricket, soccer and that polo) I would ask: who (expletive can be added for emphasis) cares.

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  • Dribbler
    You know not, and you know not – that you know not.

    New habits are CREATED by systematic practice.
    Stage one often involves forced behavioural changes
    Stage two involves involuntary adaption
    Stage three is about internalising the new norms
    and stage four reflects a NEW NORM or habit.

    Happens all the time, but it requires WISDOM and BALLS to initiate the process to achieve IMPROVED realities, and then to see it through stages two and three.

    You are clearly a follower. You just fit into whatever situation you find yourself – and make the best of it – while adapting your character appropriately to the circumstances….such as being humiliated by a little white boy who is a cop on a mission.

    Bushie on the other hand ALWAYS walk into any situation with a vision of what CAN BE …and of how that new reality can be achieved.
    Unfortunately, as David ‘Come-and-sing’ seems to have discovered, you cannot help a brass bowl against his ‘better’ judgement. The REAL challenge therefore is in convincing a deadbeat moron that the approach (habits) that has resulted in his poverty of spirit may be flawed…..

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  • South Africa won the Test series and were

    COACHED BY A BLACK BAJAN OTIS GIBSON.

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  • Good observation Hants, the “optics” of it will no doubt have a positive impact on the change process in South Africa- a work in progress Pacha.

    On Sun, Jan 28, 2018 at 6:07 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:

    >

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  • Bernard Codrington

    @ David at 2:16 PM

    Individuals lead changes in an environment that encourages it. Establish the legal and constitutional infrastructure, reinforce the law and people’s attitude will change overtime. Some societies take longer than others.

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  • @Bernard

    Differ slightly with your definition. Individuals lead change, if the environment does not encourage it should not matter.

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  • Hants January 28, 2018 at 2:07 PM #

    South Africa won the Test series and were

    COACHED BY A BLACK BAJAN OTIS GIBSON.(Quote)

    Is this the same Gibson fired by the WICB? The same Gibson that was the England bowling coach who they fought to keep?

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  • “@ David January 28, 2018 at 10:49 AM #

    Believe Freundel can force it to around 6 March. ”

    David my interpretation of the Barbados Constitution says that Election Call call can be delayed until June 6, 2018.

    Electioneering time could take an additional 3 to 6 weeks until the POLLS are called and vote takes place. Therefore my thinking is ELECTION could theoretically be delayed until mid to late July 2018.

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Jeff C:
    “The season has nevertheless managed to engender a debate as to whether a priest should at all be engaged in local political life. I understand the debate to be centred rather on the issue of whether a priest should be demonstrably partisan, given that in a constitutional democracy that guarantees the freedoms of expression and conscience such as Barbados, the priest, as any other citizen, may not be legitimately debarred from commenting on matters of policy that impinge upon his or her opinion of what constitutes the ideal society.”

    What we would like from you is your opinion/view on the fact that a government-appointed senator who likes to parade himself under the cloak of a priest and carries the distinguished title of “Reverend” can engage in the local political life having placed himself above mere mortals and sees himself as a god (like his nemesis Thanatos or Mors) possessed with the ability to prevent death.

    Jesus the Christ might have possessed the miraculous capability of raising the dead but to prevent death (not even his own) was beyond Him.

    So how could have the chief entertainer in a jump-up West Indian false gospel piddling shop come ‘before’ the Master of Resurrection to proclaim himself to be Jehovah incarnate by declaring to the world that a PM (now dead) could have never passed away under His God Almighty D. D. watch and still remain in the Senate representing the views of thousands of those who witnessed that miracle in 2010 in true Morris Cerullo or Jimmy Swaggart calling?

    Shouldn’t the Right Apostle Dr. the Reverend High Priest Lord Bishop Pontiff D D. be brought before the council of the elders of evil doers in true Inquisition style and sent to purgatory like Tituba the ‘West Indian’ witch in Salem for impersonating Yahweh?

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  • One crisis after the next, now we are hearing that the Transport Board only has 62 buses on the road.

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ David January 30, 2018 at 7:35 AM

    Now on whose shoulders of blame would this situation be ‘hanged’?
    After paying in excess of $20,000 p/m in consultancy fees is the report going to say to blame it on the previous administration for not fixing the buses (like the South coast sewerage plant) when money was flowing?

    What about the wicked demon-possessed school children for vandalizing the buses and throwing ‘sweet-drinks’ in the engines?

    What is happening is the classic case of running into the ground the assets of a business in order for another entity with insider contacts to buy the same entity for nothing.

    Id this the ‘Sharkmout’s’ way of justifying the illicit sale of permits to those with vested interests in public transport?

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  • @Miller

    Let us be honest now, the transport board is one of those statutory agencies that have been financially abused under both parties.

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @David January 30, 2018 at 9:59 AM

    Never said it wasn’t.

    That’s why it finds a place at the top of the Privatization list; up there with the CBC,BWA and NCC.

    How come the local business tycoons like MM are not keen on public transportation and other forms of communications?

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  • Except for the black race; all other races and/ or other ethnicities prefer to live separate. The black race needs to get with it and adopt Garveyism rather than trying to infiltrate the territory of the other races. Legislated togetherness is just as bad as legislated separateness.

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  • I think the question of priests masquerading and jumping in the annual pagan Kadooment under the guise of Crop Over should be of more concern to Monsignor Blackett than priests offering themselves for political office. I would tend to think that it is far much better toserv God than Mammon.

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  • @Charles Skeete
    Except for the black race; all other races and/ or other ethnicities prefer to live separate. The black race needs to get with it and adopt Garveyism rather than trying to infiltrate the territory of the other races.
    ++++++++++++++
    Huh? That makes zero sense in the present discussion Jeff made a statement about what he observed from “white” fans at a cricket game in South Africa and you come with shite about black people trying to infiltrate the territory of other races. White people infiltrated the territory of every African country as well as North and South America and Australia.

    Look guh back and rest yuhself.

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  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    Interesting news coming out of Liberia.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-42871741

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ charles skeete January 30, 2018 at 12:45 PM
    “I think the question of priests masquerading and jumping in the annual pagan Kadooment under the guise of Crop Over should be of more concern to Monsignor Blackett than priests offering themselves for political office. I would tend to think that it is far much better toserv God than Mammon.”

    Don’t the same priests serving your “God” officiate in a Christian capacity at the opening of the same pagan festival(s)?

    What you should be ‘most’ concerned about is the bold-faced adoption of pagan festivals- from Xmas to Easter to Dionysius (Bacchus) summer festival to All Saints (Halloween)- by a cult who decided to punch above its weight by working political voodoo on the ‘pagan’ Emperor Constantine.

    What a great scam by the European man to use this marriage between a Middle-Eastern Hebrew break-away cult and paganism to conquer and plunder ‘foreign people and their lands like Africa, the Americas and Australasia.

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  • This current parliament of ‘Wild boys’ ends five years after its first sitting,which was 6th March 2013.Writs for the General Election 2018 must then be issued and must be returned within 90 days.That would indicate the latest date for the General Election is June 4th 2018.

    Like

  • @Sargeant

    Kerri Symmonds reference to the Prime Minister is stirring the pot.

    Like

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