DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS- SHUT UP AND LIVE
A group of artists recorded a compilation of songs. Their compilation was uploaded on YouTube (outside of Barbados), where it had to compete with over 800 million other videos. After one week, it joined hundreds of millions of other videos in the YouTube graveyard.
Three weeks later, Barbadian: politicians, news media, clergy, and business leaders started to vigorously promote the video. Their actions brought a dead video to life, and then moved it into the mainstream of Barbadian society. The obvious question is, why.
WHY WATCH IT.
Most Barbadians would not normally watch such a fringe video. But we were compelled to watch it, because we were expected to join those in condemning the artists, and it is wicked to condemn someone without evidence.
The video’s main message is completely opposite to that of the Police’s. The Police rely on people who see something, to say something. The video’s message is that saying something is an automatic death sentence.
The video explained that there is no safe place where informants can hide. There will be no reprieve, hesitation, negotiation, or mercy. Informants should expect to be executed swiftly.
Saying something is a mark of a responsible citizen. However, 16 minutes of indoctrination, suggested that saying something was wrong, while murdering informants was honourable.
Why did Barbadian politicians, news media, clergy, and business leaders undermine the Police’s public message, by promoting the gangs’ threats? I spoke with some of the clergy to find the answer.
It appears that they were tricked by the media, to promote the video through their condemnation of it. Our clergy do not normally use the public relations expertise available to our news media, businesses, and established political parties. They were unaware that there is no such thing as negative publicity. So, it is easy to see how they could be so deceived.
Barbadian politicians, news media, and business leaders do not have the same excuse. Every day, they decide which messages they will promote, and which messages must die on the vine – by simply ignoring them. It was easily foreseen, that the only result of their actions, would be to promote the gangs’ message.
Why was it so important, for this message of intimidation to be brought into the Barbadian mainstream at this time? To answer this, we must remember that we have unsuccessfully tried to solve this puzzle of: gangs, guns, drugs, violence, and corruption in Barbados for decades. Here are some of the pieces of this puzzle.
1. In 2008, Barbados reported to the OAS that we had 150 gangs, with 4,000 members, which is an average of about 26 persons in each gang. That same year, the Bajan Reporter published a shocking report of how gangs recruited our school children.
2. In 2017, Small Arms Survey found that 1,675 guns were used by the Barbados military, and 2,000 by the police. The number of unlawfully held guns was estimated at 7,000.
3. In 2017, the DLP reported that gang leaders were operating without fear of prosecution in Barbados. They noted that kidnappings, executions, drug trafficking, and legitimate businesses were part of their normal activities. They further noted that prominent members of Barbadian society were linked to the importation of illegal guns.
4. In 2017, with gun violence out of all control, the DLP proposed anti-gang legislation. Gang members would be liable for 20 years imprisonment, and gang leaders, 25 years.
5. In 2018, the new BLP administration chose not to pursue anti-gang legislation. They noted that it would only be used as a last resort.
6. On 22 October 2019, in the 52nd sitting of the House of Assembly, former BLP politician, Atherley claimed to know that it was true that Parliamentarians facilitated drug lords in Barbadian communities. He then challenged his fellow Parliamentarians to deny it. None reportedly did so during the meeting.
In just 16 minutes, ten Barbadian artists solved this puzzle in a way that perfectly explained the evidence. The final picture is particularly chilling. Rather than thank them for solving the puzzle, we are directed to condemn them for the crude way in which they did so. We need to look deeper.
OUTGUNNED AND UNDERMINED.
Our police are significantly outgunned. Their main weapon against crime has been undermined by the gangs’ most successful public relations initiative ever. Barbadians who do what is right, because it is right, must now consider violating their conscience and self-preservation.
Again, why did they bring the gangs’ message of intimidation from the fringe, to the mainstream. Most of us have no dealings with gangs or guns, so why was it necessary for every Barbadian household to be intimidated now? I have no idea. But here is a striking coincidence.
On 25 May 2021, the Auditor General published his report. That report shows that the potential gross corruption between the Government and businesses under the last administration, has not changed under the current. Notably, most Barbadians either work for Government or businesses.
The media ignored the Auditor General’s report until 31 May 2021. On that same day, the trinity of our media, politicians and business leaders hurriedly directed us to watch a video. That video informed us that we only had two choices – keep quiet, or be executed by a hail of gunfire.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com