From QC to KC, all this talk bout going Republic too

There is, perhaps, no greater call upon citizens anywhere than to act with pride and industry. It is, therefore, a blessing that those words, pride and industry, consummate our national motto. Herein, we discuss the role ‘titles of honour’ play in spurring a country’s productive forces. Firstly, by discussing a seemingly small debate within legal circles with immense import for us today and our future.

Queen’s Counsel are Queen’s Counsel under the ‘Crown in right of Barbados’ whose artefacts are, for all practical purposes, grandfathered within Barbados’ constitutional fabric. Arguably, this great colonial “reservation” within our republican system allows Queen’s Counsel to retain said titles since they were conferred upon them personally at that time.

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Black Enfranchisement a Work in Progress

The blogmaster in between the hustle and bustle of yesterday was able to listen to a few minutes of The Peter Wickham Show. Piquing the interest was an exchange with a caller who sought to raise the issue of Black enfranchisement. Peter Wickham exposing his naïveté was unable to fathom- despite the caller’s best effort to explain- how a country that is Black majority finds its people owning a disproportionate amount of wealth and economic influence in the country, a state brought forward from being an enslaved people.

The argument that because Barbados is majority Black means it inevitably empowers Blacks in Barbados to be craftsmen of their fate is simplistic. Regarding the financial sector Wickham thought he was stoutly defending his perspective by mentioning that bank managers are almost 100% Black. He failed to mention all banks in Barbados are foreign owned and therefore Black managers are binded to policies handed to them. He mentioned the credit unions and other non bank entities that are Black owned. He failed to mention that same institutions have to comply to regulations of international agencies to ensure good standing.

What about the business sector? What is the concentration of ownership of the tourism sector? After answering these questions- who owns the significant interest in retail (food and appliances) sector, who controls distributive trade in Barbados. Do we have active agencies that lend and support entrepreneurs and startup businesses in a meaningful way? What about export earning businesses? What is the predominant ownership?

Let us turn our attention to power generation. Why a Black nation that is strategically located close to the equator, we have been too slow to democratize ownership of this sector? We were quick to sell Barbados Light & Power, a strategic asset. Some of us had hoped by now the legacy of Oliver Headley would have inspired Barbadians to build on it by becoming a model country for the adoption of renewable energy. 

The last point, Black empowerment is about developing a way of thinking in the majority of our people that shouts to the world – we are confident in our abilities to compete and support a quality life for our people. Having this discuss is not about çussin’ minorities. It is about having a mature discussion towards building an equitable society on the little isl;and we love so much.

Listen to the exchange at 2hrs 20 minutes.

Join Hands Barbados – Connecting the …

Some on the blog remind us ad nauseam the influence global events have on Barbados. Such a global perspective will fail to resonate with people locked to promoting narrow agendas. It is human nature to retreat to a comfort level thinking, a high level of self awareness is required to be situationally aware at all times as it relates to making the correct decisions in thought, word and deed to realize the best outcomes. Unfortunately external factors often conspire to muddle what is theoretically a good thought process.

With the dismantling of national boundaries made possible with the ease of travel, Internet, tourism and other ‘channels’ that permit DNS like attacks on local culture- the burning question is how are small developing states like Barbados with open economies able to execute countermeasures for the good of country.

Dismantling racist tendencies in the world – join the debate if classism more accurately describes Barbados’ challenge – can be dispassionately viewed against the rise of the #blacklivesmatter movement, #windrush revelations, and of recent the #azeemrafiq affair. The world continues to treat with racism and prejudices, it is endemic in all societies. The struggle is real and must continue until humankind ceases to exist…

Barbados is a country overly dependent on tourism and its nexus international business. There was a time the Caribbean was an easy sell to markets across the pond because of our virgin like appeal and other attributes. Today there is fierce competition from non traditional players who promote offers that titillate imaginations of travellers in ways one dimensional Caribbean destinations cannot now compete. A story about the collapse of tourism costing five Asian nations 1.6 million jobs in the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Mongolia due to the pandemic emphasizes what we, including policymakers should know. In order to sustain a quality of life for our children, to rely on a fickle tourism product is analogous to building on sand, although possible, fraught with high risk.

What is a lowly blogmaster living on a 2×3 rock saying? It may be too late but our survival depends on Barbadians coming together with the common aim that positions the interest of BARBADOS front and centre. Down with the divisiveness that continues to have a deleterious effect on our society. There is a reason education receives a large junk of the national budget.


Submitted by Pachamama

A sign of the nature of these times is the imposition of a new etymology. Whether it is ‘woke-ism’, on the one side, or ‘cancel culture’, on the other, the willful misguidance is no less profound. “Whiteness” is generally defined as being a political construction, a fiction.

In this piece we will attempt to tease out, or even capture, an ‘ahistorical’ moment where a faux progressivism pretends to confront long-held establishment lies, wickedness – across the board.

This convergence of interests should properly be the province of academia and particularly those from the Frankfurt School of critical social theory. Unfortunately though, It has long-failed to help us rethink or reform the social critiques of Marxism, as they had promised, even as Marx gave the ‘soft touch’ to racism and slavery; has not led to the rejection of mainstream political views; its tepid criticisms of capitalism have made it no less vicious; there has been no substantive ‘liberation’ of humanoids anywhere; while domination and exploitation continue at an algorithmic pace.

Some, with rightness, may suggest that woke-ism is deeply culturally bound. Others are reticent to jettison certain unrealities. Others are entrenched in the misbelief, or fear, that there will be some meeting of the minds at a point of moderation. Yet others wrongly look to this divine age of technological innovation to deliver mankind. In reality they intend that establishment systems should only be tinkered with on the margins if at all, but never radically transformed, far less prevent the new formations of the old systems of subjugation now reemerging as more virulent manifestations of technological oppression.

It is however clear that the perceived meanings of woke-ism and ‘Whiteness’ can never comfortably coexisted. For the first is predicated on the existence of what is real, presumably, while the other is entirely based on a deep and wide culture of unreality. An unreality not based within the longer evolution of humanoids.

Those who suggested that the removal of Horatio Nelson from the top of Broad Street was an attempt to ‘cancel’ their ‘culture’ are ideologically well-connected to the Proud Boys and other White supremacist forces in the United States of America, and elsewhere. We include Black lackeys in high places, like ‘a Johnny’ Muh Boy as the quintessentially modern-day house niggers! But still, its mere removal only flirts with the symbolic. The same is true about removals from landscapes elsewhere as well.

And for the lack of historical memory, eminently demonstrated by many on the side of Black Lives Matter, prevents a better understanding of their own arguments. This requires, amongst other things, taking a hard look at the ways in which that movement has been appropriated, internally and externally, by a wide range of interests included the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America, no less. It’s a ‘crying shame’ that even the marketing and recruitment of CIA agents, as an historically racist organization, have now fully appropriated wokeness.

There was a time when ‘whiteness’ meant something entirely different. It denoted somebody who was spiritual. It had nothing to do with pigmentation or ‘pinkness’. At that time all the ‘white’ people were Black, there was nobody else around.

But etymology is a linguistic bitch. People who argue that others seek to cancel their culture are ignorantly doubling-down on all the crimes committed in the name of the political construction which is Whiteness as if seeking to eternally be in a march to war against 90% of Earth’s peoples.

When those who represent ‘Whiteness’ talk about the cancellation of culture, or the irrational moderation of just demands, a level of credibility should be brought to the table based on the real and continuing cancelling which White people and their agents have committed for millennia. In the absence of such an accounting there can be no legitimate claims to a genocidal culture still being constructed and maintained on the bones of others.

Hail King Swallow: A Polished Man of Kaiso and Art

Submitted by Dr. Hollis ‘’Chalkdust’’ Liverpool

My last article on ‘’Respect for PhDs’’ caused many eyebrows to be raised: some people wanted to find out if persons without PhDs should not be respected; others asked if we shouldn’t show respect for the Opposition members in Parliament as well. My response to all such vain questions is that at age eleven at Primary school with Mr. Lionel P. Mitchell in Tobago, we had to write in our Government copy books for penmanship the following lines: ‘’Have respect for every man because he is a man.’’ I rest my case.

Well, the need to show respect for every man and woman was, however, again awakened in me when Antiguan Sir Rupert Philo (Swallow), a man in every sense of the word, went to heaven last Friday, for I recalled him telling me in the mid-1980s that it was a joy for him to sing to the Trinidad audience, since singing in Trinidad meant that he was mixing with the top calypsonians, and, ‘’Charkee bwoy, the Trini people does show me respect.’’ In terms of respect, he explained, that when his name was announced by Tommy Joseph at Spektakula Forum, the crowd roared with delight; when he went to book his room at Chaguaramus Flats where he normally stayed annually, the authorities there knowing that he came to Trinidad every year, already booked it for him without any down payment made; when he walked the streets of Port of Spain, all hailed his name aloud; when he checked in to BWIA without having the correct ticket and booking, his seat on the aircraft was already assured; and when he sought to go to a concert of any kind in Trinidad and Tobago, no one dared to ask him for an entrance fee. The voice at the concert door was always: ‘’Swallow, you are free to enter.’’ In addition, Sunshine Awards gave him the prize for the ‘’Best Engineered Recording’’ and ‘’Best Calypso Arrangement’’ in 1989 (Fire in the Back Seat), and had placed him in the ‘’Sunshine Awards Hall of Fame’’ in year 2008. For all the afore-mentioned reasons that sparked of respect, Swallow loved to sing in Trinidad and Tobago and did so up to a few years ago when he appeared nightly at the Calypso Revue Tent with top artists such as Sugar Aloes, Pink Panther, Cro Cro and Sprangalang, to name a few. I recall one year when Swallow was here, while we were travelling to Skinner Park, he fell ill. When I saw blood coming from his nose, I turned my car and headed straight for the hospital. The nurses at the Emergency ward began to interview him, as it were, for on hearing his accent, they were asking him if he was a Trinidadian, since the medical service was for Trinis. I immediately jumped in: ‘’Folks, are you all mad? That is Swallow,’’ I bellowed! Hearing the magic name Swallow, they immediately changed their attitude and wheeled him inside where he obtained, in the hour that followed, the best that a Trini hospital could offer. Truly, Swallow was held in high esteem by Trinidadians, especially after he sang ‘’Trinidad, the Caribbean Godfather.’’ In addition, one of Gypsy’s absolute gems in calypso is the one entitled ‘’Respect the calypsonian.’’

In terms of respect, however, the history of calypso shows that there have been multiple occasions, too numerous to mention, when calypsonians in Trinidad were shown total disrespect. For example, in 1955 one sunny Friday evening, five calypsonians were entertaining tourists on Wrightson Road, then a haven for tourists, when suddenly, the police darted into the calypso crowd and arrested three of them. The litigants spent two days in prison and were charged five dollars for their crime on the following Monday. Years later, one of them told me that he could not travel to New York because of that ‘’criminal’’ stamp placed on his passport and the fact that the bad mark from the Court stained his character for the rest of his life. Headteacher L. P. Mitchell used to make us write also: ‘’When character is lost, all is lost.’’

Another example of the disrespect occurred in the 1960s when calypsonians used to entertain guests at tables in restaurants all over Port of Spain. A few restaurant owners felt that the singers were a nuisance. Indeed, a restaurant at the corner of Frederick and Park streets had at its entrance a large sign which read: ‘’No calypsonians and dogs allowed.’’ I can give you readers several more examples of disrespect shown to calypsonians but the above, I believe, should satisfy the point.

On the other hand, the government of Antigua displayed total respect for Swallow and continues up to this day to do so to all calypsonians. First, for his contribution to the art form of calypso, Swallow was named a cultural ambassador for Antigua and given all rights and privileges to the esteemed post. Second, when I was Director of Culture and travelled to Antigua, I was given an ‘’Official’’ passport. Swallow would ask me where was my ‘’Red’’ passport, since he thought that I ought to have one. I may be wrong, but I have never known any calypsonian in Trinidad and Tobago to have been given a red, diplomatic passport (in some countries they are black). Besides Swallow, other artists namely Short Shirt in Antigua, Frankie McIntosh in St Vincent and Gabby in Barbados (2007) were named as cultural ambassadors for their countries and are holders of such passports which indicate to the Immigration officers of foreign countries that they, as holders, are diplomats and are acting on behalf of the countries that they represent. Thus, everything is usually done in their lands and overseas to make their travel smooth, comfortable and without any hiccups.

Third, in year 2011, Swallow was knighted by the Government of Antigua and the official title of ‘’Sir’’ (the highest award in the state) bestowed on him. Fourth, on being made a knight, he was granted a monthly salary by his state until his death. He called me on receipt of his monthly salary one night to find out if mine was bigger and to ascertain if the state of Antigua was robbing him. He could not believe that the ORTT award in Trinidad given to me carried no perks: salary, housing, medical insurance etc. His knighthood had all such perks to the extent that during his illness, the government of Antigua paid all his medical expenses in New York for more than a year. Fifth, many singers in Trinidad could not understand how Swallow was able to come here for carnival annually. Well, although the calypso promoters in Trinidad had to pay for his hotel and other expenses, the government of Antigua granted him free travel whenever he promoted the land and its culture overseas, so that Swallow, naturally, in singing calypso was seen by Antiguans as selling Antigua to the world. Accordingly, they paid all his airfares.

Sixth, when in the 1980s a band in New York refused to pay him for his performance at Madison Square Garden and was coming to Antigua to perform for carnival there, Swallow promptly told them that unless he was fully paid, they couldn’t come to Antigua. Of course, they laughed at him and landed at V.C. Bird airport. Swallow went to the Prime Minister, then Mr. V.C. Bird, and laid his complaint. History would record that Mr Bird ordered the Immigration to put them out of the state. The band begged him and offered to pay since they had contracts to fulfil in Antigua. Prime Minister V.C. Bird refused. ‘’Leave the state for ridiculing and disrespecting Swallow.’’ It is, in my opinion, true to state that no government in Trinidad and Tobago, colonial or post- colonial, has ever treated any local calypsonian in the esteemed manner, as was done by the Government of Antigua to Sir Rupert Philo (Swallow).

My heart is overjoyed, then, when our Caribbean universities see it fit not only to honour PhDs but to state that artists like King Sparrow, Lord Kitchener, Roy Cape, Pelham Goddard, Merle Albino DeCoteau, Winsford Devine, Eintou Springer, Derek Walcott, Earl Lovelace, Black Stalin, Bro. Superior, Mighty Shadow, David Rudder, Mighty Gabby and Red Plastic Bag in Barbados deserve to be named to the table of doctorates, because of their noble contributions to their nations in particular, and to humanity in general. Their lives explain the meaning of the title, man. Indeed, we can say with Shakespeare: Swallow’s life ‘’was gentle and the elements so well mixed in him, that nature could stand up and say to all the world: this was a man,’’ polished, artful, refined, civilized.

Treating COVID 19 Pandemic in Multi-ethnic Trinidad and Tobago

The Editor,


Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

The stay-at-home-order in the ancient Hindu epic

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago delivered his address today (April 6) to update the nation on Government’s plans to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is not the first time that he has made repeated references to the Bible only, and not to the Quran or Ramayana.

Understandably, he is a Christian, but his national address must include references to the major religious groups in the multi-ethnic society. As former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday had said, a Prime Minister must represent all of the people

Prophet Muhammad commanded his followers with the order: “If you hear that there is a plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it (plague) visits a land while you are therein, do not go out of it.”

In his next address, Dr Rowley could also make a reference to the Ramayana, the largest ancient epic-poem in world literature, written about 700 BCE.

The allegory of the stay-at-home-order to avoid COVID-19 is represented by the sacred circle that was drawn around Sita’s hut to protect her from monsters in the forest.

Her brother-in-law, Lakshman, had drawn a circle in the sand with the tip of his bow while chanting a mantra (Lakshman Rekha). He said: “No demon can cross this line. Sita, you stay in the house; not for any reason at all will you cross this line. Don’t come out of the house. As long as you are in the house, you will be safe …”

In anxiety, Sita broke the directive and was kidnapped by the demon Ravan and taken in a flying chariot.

When that tragedy occurred, “the leaves did not flutter. The trees of Dandaka did not move. No breath of wind dared stir about the woods. The fast-streaming Godavari river slackened her speed from fright. The glorious Sun, who every day looks down upon our world, this time dimmed his light from the sadness of what he saw” (translated from Sanskrit by William Buck, 1976: 139).


Dr Kumar Mahabir

Reading is a Human Right

Submitted by Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in U.S

Give your brain a workout—read a book. Pump up the muscle mass between your two ears. Reading is that important. And people in all countries around the globe deserve the right to learn to read.

Literacy for All

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that 175 million young people lack basic literacy skills. To address the issues, UNESCO Regional Office of Southern Africa (ROSA) is supporting programs and activities to develop quality literacy materials for literacy educators and learners through integrating mother language in literacy teaching and learning. Fifty-two years ago, UNESCO officially declared September 8 International Literacy Day, with the goal of highlighting literacy as a human rights issue.

In 2018, The International Literacy Association developed the Children’s Rights to Read project.The Case for Children’s Rights to Read lists 10 fundamental Reading Rights.

According to Atlas (2017), the 25 most illiterate countries include: South Sudan, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Chad, Somalia, Ethiopia, Guinea, Benin, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Senegal, The Gambia, Bhutan, Pakistan, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Nepal, Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, Mauritania, Togo.

Children Need Books

Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success: Books and Schooling in 27 Nations, a 2010 article in the ScienceDirect Journal found that “Children growing up in homes with many books get 3 years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class.”

Children need to see other kids that look like themselves in picture books. Why? Kids of color need to be represented in literature to show they are important in the world and that they matter. We Need Diverse Books is an organization with a vision of “a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.” Find more information at

Diverse books, both fiction and nonfiction, help kids understand that even though children look different on the outside, they are all the same on the inside. Our homes, schools, libraries, and communities need diverse books on bookshelves.

Celebrate Children’s Book Week

With Children’s Book Week turning 100 years old in 2019, Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council have announced plans for a celebration. The 100th Anniversary theme is Read Now—Read Forever. Look to the past, present, and most important, the future of children’s books. Children’s Book Week is April 29 – May 5, 2019. Happy Birthday to Children’s Book Week!

Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the U.S. Every year, events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, and homes.

Raising Readers

Why is it important to expose babies, toddlers, and younger children to the world of books? Why is it important to read aloud to babies and toddlers? Why is it important to make reading fun for children?

Parents are a child’s first teachers, first role models, and first communicators; talking, listening, singing, making sounds, smiling, laughing, and hugging. Homes are the building blocks of society. “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents,” surmised Emilie Buchwald.

“Learning to read and write doesn’t start in kindergarten or first grade. Developing language and literacy skills begins at birth through everyday loving interactions, such as sharing books, telling stories, singing songs and talking to one another.”

“Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child’s life, learning to read will be as natural as learning to walk and talk.”

“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations—something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.”—Katherine Patterson

Leh Me Tell Wuhnah Like it is – Real Talk from De Block

Submitted by PUDRYR

“…As long as this blatant system of injustice continues and bajans openly tell you that prison in Barbados is for Black people, we can put forward all the ideas we want to solve the problem but we will make no headway…”

The Average man and woman in Barbados going listening to you, cause, like Barbados Underground Whistleblower says, the Royal Bay Gone Police Force, is leading the corruption, the drug dealing AND abusing de court processes.

Let me brek it down fuh wuhnah people

Some of wuhnah too privilege to even contemplate the reality of poverty and being hungry.

For wuhnah it is an abstract concept, wuh, after all we got free schools and free horspital care so everyting alright.

Few uh wuh nah ever been hungry till you guts grumbling and you only talking loud among de fellers, cause “you don’t want dem to hear your guts grumbling

When you at primary school, you can’t focus cause you ass hungry and focusing pun de blackboard hard as ass.

Lord help you if you ent got school books, pencils and school clothes, cause de teacher and de students gine mek you see hell.

And if you need glasses? as many of these poor children do, well your four eyed defective self will be at a worse disadvantage for your entire school life.

In wuhnah day, there was an unofficial community mechanism that wuhnah could use, But this is my reality!

wuhnah forget all dis when you lef de ghetto for de heights. IF YOU WAS EVER HERE!

Reality Check! my mudda got to raise 4 fatherless kids, as a single female headed household pun $250 a week or less if she wukking at Furniture Limited IN 2019!!

I gots a serious anger problem and wunna antiquated school system, especially secondary level education, CANNOT COPE WITH MY DYSFUNCTIONAL ASS.

Den, toss me into de minibus subculture, for 10 years (primary and secondary school) wid de ZR menses erratic behavior, driving erratically through traffic, just to pay de coolie who own de ZR van, $1000 a week, and you got a next level of anarchy in my ass.

Den, add de “blackies”, and my spliffs I smoking every day.

Man, don’t even add my maladjusted concept of wealth, a concept I developed seeing the drug dealers in my district.

You ONLY got “a shooting waiting to happen”

And unnerstan dis, when a policeman stop a van in in, fuh ovahloading, wuhnah sight how I does be de most vociferous in “representing” my dog? de drivah? de conductor?

See how I does represent a man who I ent know from bull foot?

Wunna feeling me yet?

So when my effed up donkey hear dat my man Stevie, my “family”, a next effed up thug like me, get kill, my black ass gots to go “represent” he!

But all wuh nah people who trying to solve dis crime problem, ent got one effing clue…

Plussing dat wuh nah RH got menses like Michael Carry Way a Ton uh money, 250 large ones and de Prime Minister Fumbles tel he, it alright

AND DE NEW PRIME MINISTER, Mugabe Mottley, inviting 5 of my drug dealer “family” my heroes, to Parliament.

AND WUNNA SCUNT TELLING ME BOUT “wun nah got a Block program fuh me???”

Man get de F out my face befo’ I GLOCK YOUR ASS

this article is accredited to Tee White and a comment he made here on Barbados Underground

Here is the accompanying video.

Dr. Lucas Accuses Mohammed Degia of Showing #islamophobia Colours

Submitted by Robert D. Lucas,PH.D. CFS,

The “Nation” newspaper of the 19th March 2019 published an article captioned “Upset but not shocked” under the by-line of Mohammed Iqbal Degia. Degia attributes the rise of Islamophobia in part to white supremacy. He attempts to juxtapose the Muslim experience with that of Blacks, Jews, Hispanics and immigrants (it is noticeable that he did not include gays). However, Blacks have not resorted to blowing up people and their experience is far worse then that of the Muslims. He seems to be particularly incensed by the year 1492 (when western civilization took off on an upward trajectory whereas the Islamic civilization went rapidly down hill). A psychologist could possibly attribute this reaction to under achievement by high fliers as envy (to use the vernacular). Since then, Muslims have not contributed much to the advancement of human kind apart from suicide bombs and even then, it was the Tamils of Sri Lanka who did so. According to Degia, Muslim terrorists are not really Muslim. He also complains about the western press demonizing Muslim. The Muslim press does the same to Jews and other Infidels

I have been assiduously following his weekly articles, knowing that sooner or later his true colours would emerge. The rabid dislike of western civilization oozes out of his article, so much so, that I am left nonplus by the fact that he still lives in the west. I will deal with a few points to illustrate how warp his thinking is. I have not written about Islam since 2002-2003 in the press

1.The Coptic Christians in Egypt and Christians in Pakistan are constantly being slaughtered in their Churches. I have not heard any Muslims locally condemning these actions. Given the Islamic concept of ummah I would not expect to hear from them. What about Asia Bibi and the baying crowd of Muslims in Pakistan who want to kill her?

The following links are provided for the interested reader to verify the above statement.

2.The uproar in Djakarta over that city’s Christian mayor. The Muslims in Indonesia were all hollering that Indonesia is a Muslim country and that a non-Muslim should never be Mayor. Meanwhile, London a bastion of White supremacy elects a Muslim mayor.

3.The Central African Republic is over eighty percent Christian and about sixteen percent Muslim. There was a coup by the Muslim minority aided and abetted by Chad. The Muslim razed Churches ,imposed sharia law and slaughtered hundreds of Christians. The Christians have fought back and have vowed to wipe out the Muslims and the country is in chaos now.

4.The treatment meted out to sub-Saharan migrants by Libya. The migrants are black and the Muslim treat them like dogs( even those who are also Muslim).

5. The grooming of young white girls in the UK by Asians particularly of Pakistani origin, went on for a long time because of political correctness. It is only now that the scum are being jailed after an outcry over political correctness.

6.Somali Muslims in Minnesota wanting to impose their values by not transporting passengers who had in their possession alcoholic drinks. That was one of the reasons Trump won in Minnesota.

7. Muslim in Barbados reporting Barbados for human rights violations in the USA over the use of the head covering. As far as I know,since 2002 local Muslims have been trying to get the politicians to change the law.

Infidels living in Muslim Majority have obey the law, no ifs or buts about that;it is therefore expected that the Muslim minority obey our laws.

Where ever they go they try to impose their will. The fact remains that non-Muslims are becoming fed up with Muslims; it is as simple as that.

Robert D. Lucas,PH.D. CFS,

Certified Food Scientist

Remembering Bob Marley

Submitted by Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, and educator. She lives in U.S.

The footprints of Bob Marley appear on the sand in Jamaica and across the earth wherever freedom is held hostage. Likened to Martin Luther King, Jr., Marley desired peace for his people. And for all humanity. Music was the vehicle for his message. His passionate personality was his vehicle for harmony in a chaotic world of violence.

I am remembering Bob Marley with my words in this column. “Bob, you are missed. But your legend of light shines on and on and on.”

Nesta Robert Marley was born in 1945. Being biracial, Marley was bullied as a child, but declared, “I’m not on the white man’s side, or the black man’s side. I’m on God’s side.”

Marley died of cancer in 1981 in Miami at the age of 36 years. He was laid to rest in Jamaica.

According to a 2014 article in the Jamaican Observer, “The lives of many people all over the world have been profoundly influenced by Jamaicans such as Ms Mary Seacole, Messrs Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, Claude McKay and Usain Bolt. Some who were revolutionary political activists destined to change the world spent an important interval in Jamaica. The most famous was the liberator of Latin America, Simon Bolivar, who penned the famous ‘Jamaica Letter’ from these environs.”

Marley received The United Nations Peace Medal of the Third World in 1978. On April 22, 1978, the One Love Peace Concert was held at Kingston’s National Stadium where Marley asked two opposing politicians to join hands. “You entertain people who are satisfied. Hungry people can’t be entertained – or people who are afraid. You can’t entertain a man who has no food,” is a quote by Marley.

The 74th birthday of Marley, the reggae legend, was celebrated at the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road in Jamaica in February 2019, according to The Gleaner

The Bob Marley museum is situated on the site of the legendary musician’s home. “Bob’s home is filled with rich memories and treasured mementos, which seek to preserve the life and accomplishment of this great Jamaican and outstanding musician.”

The Bob Marley Foundation implements social intervention projects that aim to preserve the spiritual, cultural, social and musical ideals that guided and inspired him. “Never expect God to do for you what you don’t do to others,” Marley avowed.

A March 10, 2005 article published in the Rolling Stones sang a tribute to Marley. “But Marley’s early-to-mid-1970s Island recordings were also something a good deal more than pioneering entertainment: They put forth an uncompromising vision of a society kept in hell and ready to storm its gates. Songs like “Burnin’ and Lootin’,” “Small Axe,” “Concrete Jungle,” “Revolution,” “Them Belly Full” and “War” — especially “War,” with its proclamation of eternal worldwide conflict: “Until the philosophy which hold one race superior/And another inferior/Is finally and permanently discredited” — brandish unsettling images and incendiary pronouncements that are among the most authentic in modern music.”

So Much Things to Say, a book by Roger Steffens (Norton & Company, 2017) contains myriad interviews by those who knew Marley. His story begins when his white father abandoned his pregnant mother. From being raised in the slums to becoming a cultural icon, Marley remained true to his roots. He sang about the worst of humanity and the best of humanity.

Sinner, saint, or both. Marley was quite a colorful character. Fathering multiple children with multiple women. Being an advocate for marijuana as a spiritual restorative herb. Humanity’s heroes are not without flaws and foibles. “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect — and I don’t live to be — but before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean!” stated Marley.

The legacy of Bob Marley, the singer, the humanitarian, and the man, remains.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Criminalizing Attire and the Rule of Law [II]

Every person in Guyana is entitled to the basic right to a happy, creative and productive life, free from hunger, ignorance and want. That right includes the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.” – Article 40(1) of the Constitution of Guyana

The first part of this extended essay last week treated the arrests, convictions and subsequent unsuccessful constitutional challenges both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal of the four accused in that each one, being a man, had appeared in female attire in a public place for an improper purpose contrary to section 153 (1) (xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act of Guyana. They then appealed to the Caribbean Court of Justice [CCJ]. This week, we seek to analyze part of the leading judgment of Saunders PCCJ respect with which the other members of the panel unanimously agreed. The decision is of clear precedential importance to Barbados, among other jurisdictions.

In his view, there were four issues that arose for determination by the Court. These were, namely, whether the section violated the appellants’ rights to equality and non-discrimination guaranteed to them by the Guyana Constitution; whether it violated their identically guaranteed right to freedom of expression; whether it offended the principles of the rule of law in light of the vagueness of the provision, especially with regard to the terms “improper purpose”, “male attire” and “female attire”; and whether the reproving remarks of the Magistrate were appropriate and, if not, their consequence.

First, he sought to place the section in its historical context, and found that it was part of a suite of nineteenth century laws enacted against vagrancy and designed originally to “regulate and exercise control of both the ex-slave population and, in places like Guyana, the newly imported indentured labourers” in order to curtail mobility, to keep close to the plantations those whose labour was essential for continued exploitation.

Second, as a preliminary point, he examined the question of whether the section might be considered an existing law and thus be deemed immune from inquiry as to its conformity with the fundamental rights provisions in the Guyanese Constitution. It is submitted that special attention ought to be paid locally to the observations of the CCJ on this point, since it has been sometimes urged as likely to defeat any challenges to laws that conceivably infringe the fundamental rights of individuals, and was in fact used to validate the 1991 eight per cent salary cut imposed on public officers in spite of forceful informed argument to the contrary. Our provision, section 26, reads as follows-

Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any written law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of any provision of sections 12 to 23 to the extent that the law in question–

(a) is a law (in this section referred to as “an existing law”) that was enacted or made before 30th November 1966 and has continued to be part of the law of Barbados at all times since that day;

(b)repeals and re-enacts an existing law without alteration; or

(c) alters an existing law and does not thereby render that law inconsistent with any provision of sections 12 to 23 in a manner in which, or to an extent to which, it was not previously so inconsistent

(2) In subsection (1)(c), the reference to altering an existing law includes references to repealing it and re-enacting it with modifications or making different provisions in lieu thereof, and to modifying it, and in subsection (1) “written law” includes any instrument having the force of law; and in this subsection and subsection (1) references to the repeal and re-enactment of an existing law shall be construed accordingly.

One traditional defence for the existence of this clause is that it was enacted to secure a smooth transition of the law from earlier times to independent status, but the President gave this argument short shrift-

After more than 50 years of independence it is quite a stretch to say that Guyana (or indeed any other independent Commonwealth Caribbean state) is still in that transition phase.

And he noted its corrosive effect on the guaranteed freedoms and the supervisory power of the Courts –

The broad effect of the savings clause, read literally by many, is that these human rights, so carefully laid out in the Constitution, must give way to the dictates of a pre-Independence law until and unless the legislature amends the pre-independence law…The hallowed concept of constitutional supremacy is severely undermined by the notion that a court should be precluded from finding a pre-independence law, indeed any law, to be inconsistent with a fundamental human right. Simply put, the savings clause is at odds with the court’s constitutionally given power of judicial review.

He referred too to an earlier decision of the Court in a recent appeal from Barbados, where the Court had noted that-

With these general savings clauses, colonial laws … are caught in a time warp continuing to exist in their primeval form, immune to the evolving understandings and effects of applicable fundamental rights. This cannot be the meaning to be ascribed to that provision as it would forever frustrate the basic underlying principles that the Constitution is the supreme law and that the judiciary is independent.”

The sustained hostility demonstrated by the CCJ to the savings law clause should give some encouragement to those local individuals and entities who now consider themselves hamstrung in challenging legislation on the basis of its perceived fundamental rights infringement, simply because such legislation existed prior to 1966.

Indeed, the court itemized no fewer than four principles on the basis of which the clause itself may be impugned. According to the judgment-

Firstly, even if one were to apply the clause fully and literally, because of its potentially devastating consequences for the enjoyment of human rights, the savings clause must be construed narrowly, that is to say, restrictively.

Secondly, assuming again a full and literal application of the clause, the clause only saves laws that infringe the individual human rights stipulated in the clause itself. It does not preclude the court from holding a pre-independence law to be invalid if in fact the law runs counter to some constitutional provision that falls outside the specified individual human rights,

Thirdly, application of the clause may result in placing the State on a collision course with its treaty responsibilities and it is a well-known principle that courts should, as far as possible, avoid an interpretation of domestic law that places a State in breach of its international obligations.

The fourth approach is the most contentious. But it has support from very distinguished jurists. It is that courts should first apply the modification clause to the relevant pre- Independence law before attempting to apply the savings law clause. We consider each of these approaches in turn.

Legal scholarship has also been generally antithetical to the savings law clause. In an article published in the University of Miami Inter-America law review in 2004, Professor Margaret Burnham of the Northeastern University School of Law, pulled no punches in her withering assessment-

The clause eliminates the plasticity, organicity, and elasticity that fundamental rights adjudication requires to respond effectively, as it must, both to evolving universal standards” and to culturally specific normative shifts.” In sum, it violates the time- hono[u]red rule, cogently expressed by Alexander Hamilton, that constitutional framers must “look forward to remote futurity.”

One other justification for the savings law clause that I am aware of but that was not treated by President Saunders or the Court is that the guaranteed fundamental rights are not entirely new, but have existed, at least in embryonic form, since earliest times, so that the clause does not detract from the essential nature of the existing right. Given the history of the region, this view is at least of dubious cogency.

Next week -The s.153 offence and the fundamental rights

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Criminalizing attire and the rule of law [I]

The…appellants here, by choosing to dress in clothing and accessories traditionally associated with women, are in effect expressing their identification with the female gender. And the expression of a person’s gender identity forms a fundamental part of their right to dignity. Recognition of this gender identity must be given constitutional protection.per Saunders P. in McEwan, Clarke and ors. v. AG of Guyana

If you wear that, town block…per Glenfield Eastmond (The Devil) in “We goin’ do dixie.”

Transgender dressing, or cross-dressing as it is more popularly referred to, especially by males, is not unknown to most Barbadians of my generation. Time was, in the 1970s and 1980s, when there seemed to be a nightly fashion parade of cross dressers in Baxter’s Road and its environs. In that era too, there was, on more occasions than one, a production called “Queen of the B’s” in which males made appearances, as in any traditional beauty show, in the makeup, formal wear and swimsuits ordinarily worn by females in such contests.

Then, this transgender culture was generally regarded more as a source of fascination and amusement than anything else. However, it appears to have fallen into desuetude (some would uncharitably say “died out”) and the newly popular local attitude to gender transformation may have been witnessed in the apparently favourable reaction to a composition in the last Pic’ o’ de Crop calypso competition entitled Sex Change in which the artiste, Billboard, asserted “there is no such thing as being transgender as you cannot change your sex”.

As a Barbados Advocate editorial pointed out – Permanently fixed at birth?, this assertion, while it may be supported in current local law, fails to take account of the modern reality as manifested in legislation such as the Gender Recognition Act 2004 of the UK, a statute that enables transsexuals to apply for a certificate showing that the person has satisfied the criteria for legal recognition in the acquired gender.

This issue of transgender dressing, that appears to be prevalent in most regional jurisdictions, recently engaged the attention of the Caribbean Court of Justice in arguably unusual circumstances. What was once regarded with curious amusement in Barbados, and I assume in the other jurisdictions, has been criminalized in Guyana by virtue of section 153 (1) (xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act of that jurisdiction. This provides-

Every person who does any of the following acts shall, in each case, be liable to a fine of not less than seven thousand nor (sic) more than…dollars—

(xlvii) being a man, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in female attire; or being a woman, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in male attire…

In the instant case, the appellants had been arrested and charged with this offence. They pleaded guilty before the Magistrate and were fined accordingly. However, in a manner that is not unknown locally, the Magistrate thought it appropriate to deliver an admonition after conviction. According to the judgment-

The Magistrate told the…appellants that they must go to church and give their lives to Jesus Christ. The Magistrate advised them that they were confused about their sexuality; that they were men, not women.”

They next launched an action in the High Court against the state for a violation of their constitutional rights, most relevant here claiming that the law was bad because it was vague, uncertain, irrational and discriminatory. The vagueness and uncertainty, they said, related to the words “improper purpose”, “female attire” and “male attire” and that it infringed their rights to equality under the law and not to be discriminated against and their right to freedom of expression. They also argued that the remarks of the magistrate reinforced the statal discrimination. This action was unsuccessful, as was the appeal to the Guyana Court of Appeal.

So far as section 153 was concerned, the judge at first instance was of the view that it was immunized from constitutional challenge on the basis of human rights, since it was saved by the savings law clause in the Guyana Constitution. The judge also decided that it was the improper purpose that was the true basis of the criminalization of cross-dressing in public and not the dress itself. Accordingly, “it is not criminally offensive for a person to wear the attire of the opposite sex as a matter of preference or to give expression or to reflect his or her sexual orientation”.

The court held also that the section was not discriminatory because the section is “directed against the conduct of both male and female persons”. Moreover, in an unusually restricted meaning of the word, it was decided that the section addresses “attire” only. In the judge’s interpretation of the law, it was not an offence for a male person to wear a female head wig or earrings or female shoes in a public place, even for an improper purpose. And as for the admonitory remarks by the magistrate, the judge was of the view that while these amounted to “proselytising”, they did not constitute a hindrance to freedom of thought and of religion.

As already noted, the appellants did not fare any better in the Court of Appeal. In this regard, paragraphs 24 and 25 of the judgment of President Saunders are instructive.

The Court of Appeal expressed its “complete agreement” with the trial judge’s view that section 153 carried no taint of gender discrimination. On the vagueness point, while acknowledging that the expression “improper purpose” is broad in meaning, the court pointed out that the use of broad terms in statutory provisions is pervasive. In this case, according to the Court of Appeal, the meaning of “improper purpose”, as used in section 153, is “to be gleaned from the context or more directly, the factual circumstance, including the place and time at which the ‘improper purpose’ as used in section 153 is alleged.” In support of this conclusion, the court referred to statements in R v Crown Court at Wood Green ex parte DPP. It was stated there that the legal meaning of statutes, which are vaguely drawn, is to be determined by courts on a case-by-case basis. The court noted that given the changing times, it is impossible for the draftsman to have captured the degree of certainty which a criminalizing enactment ought to bear. The use of the phrase “improper purpose” was intended to capture a range of different situations.

The Court of Appeal answered the appellants’ concern that the vagueness of cross- dressing in public for an “improper purpose” makes it impossible for a citizen to know how to regulate his/her conduct. The court’s view was that it requires “a measure of internal rationalization so that the citizen is able to determine for himself the consequences which a given action may entail”. The Court of Appeal proceeded to suggest examples of conduct that would fail to meet a “proper purpose” standard. One such example given was where a man puts on a dress, a wig and high-heeled shoes, pretending to be a woman in distress, and then enters a taxi in order to rob the driver.

The Court also unanimously dismissed the complaint against the magistrate on the ground that she had made her comments after imposing sentence and therefore what was said could not have influenced the proceedings. [Original emphasis]

Next week –The decision of the CCJ

African Liberation Education 1

Submitted by Ras Jahaziel

A captive people are not likely to recognize their captivity if they were born in captivity and have no memory of freedom.

Nor are they likely to identify liberation as an urgent necessity… if they have been schooled and churched to see their landless bondage as normal.

(That is why “The Manual of Slave Control” clearly spells out in its preamble: “the need to educate all X-Slaves with the myth that their captivity ended on the day of Emancipation, and to support this myth by keeping the X-Slaves constantly doped, domesticated, and entertained in a drunken stupor.”)

Read full textChapter 1

Elombe Mottley Speaks!

BabaElombe Elton Mottley posted the following text to his Facebook page a couple weeks ago. The lack of focus on the Arts by successive governments continues to be of interest to the blogmaster. Why? We boast on a daily basis that our people are our greatest asset, yet, we do close to nothing to develop the Arts (The blogmaster exerts editorial license to expand the definition of the Arts to include Sports).

Governments of Barbados continue to allocate billions to the education budget annually, however. show a reluctance to to create the opportunity to harness and release the cultural expression of the people.  Surely there is a case to be made against successive governments for suffocating the cultural expression of Barbadians?

-David, blogmaster


Restoration of the Empire is a must. To refurbish the building, replace seating, outfitting with sound and video equipment, etc, will not be a priority at the moment as I see it. Unfortunately it has a seating capacity of under 800 seats. Years ago when I was involved, the seating capacity was to be extended to about 1200. In order to do that and also to provide a larger stage, dressing rooms and storage, it would have been necessary to utilize the space behind the building. Unfortunately, the same government of the day allowed the construction of the building behind the Empire. There may still be enough room to do that and should be considered. The Globe theatre has a seating capacity close to 1200, but has no access to parking. Same problem with the Empire.

Government investment and ownership of buildings used by its populace leaves much to be desired. Government does not depreciate its investment in buildings, nor does it provide for maintenance. I invite you to go up behind and around the museum and see the abandonment of those buildings allowing them to fall apart. [CHECK THE NUMBER OF BUILDINGS IN BRIDGETOWN AND ACROSS THE NATION, the buildings that are not maintained, government owned lands that are over-run by bush while the possibilities of involving the country to participate in the production of our own food is ignored.

Let me highlight some of the stupidity of the governments of Barbados.

Why would you refurbish the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre, install an unnecessary elevator, remove the rehearsal building, the former kitchen area, removed the old stable which was also used as a rentable gallery for artist. Now why should the NCF charge $2500 to use the theatre? That amounts to $12.50 a seat before you advertise. Is this any way to promote the development of the arts? The capacity is under 200 seats. On top of that, there are the taxes to be paid on that. Are we serious about the development of the Arts?

When I set up years ago the National Cultural Foundation, I insisted on having a maintenance department – I had all of Queen’s Park, Community Centres island wide, and maintenance of the equipment coming out of CARIFESTA 1981.

Who does the maintenance of the facilities? Is it going to be farmed out to political hacks? Let me give you an example. I received a notice from a Permanent Secretary to hire some company to treat all the facilities managed by the NCF that would cost the NCF $15,000. I responded and pointed out we treated our buildings for less than $2.00 per facility because we had a program in place. I heard nothing more from the Ministry.

If government does not have a plan to restore some of these heritage buildings, why don’t they offer the public long term leases (30+ years). The lessee could restore the buildings and use them rent free for20 – 30 years with all the rights. Maybe a company can do the restorations and rent out the properties!

Back to the start. It makes no sense for government to restore these buildings and then make it impossible to be used by the artists of the country. Anyhow, for a population of under 300,000 people, how to we maximize the benefits for all our citizens. I mean all, all, all. GOVERNMENTS MUST STOP RIPPING OFF OUR COUNTRY…..PERIOD.

The NCF is not only a producer of Festivals as I keep hearing. Festivals are important to identify and provide channels for our youth to develop. Performance is the rewardable process of measuring our development. This process cannot be treated willy-nilly.

Ask yuh self a few questions. How come the NCF is short of money and yet Radio stations over the years can give away cars and the NCF has not been able to upgrade its sound and lighting equipment?

Why was the community development officers detached from the program of strengthening the development of communities and using the services for the development of the arts from the community level?

I want to draw your attention to some facts.

Every radio and television service in Barbados MUST give Government (and its agencies) 10% of its broadcast time for its use. This amounts to 2.4 hours a day. This is part of the license. These same stations use the products of the NCF to make enough money to buy cars and give them away yet some of them want to object to the NCF using this time to develops Governments development programs. Without the programs of the NCF, none of them would be able to generate that audience nor would they be able to give away cars.

When I set up the NCF, it was actually the Ministry of Information that had responsibility for the Community Development department which was absorbed into the NCF to organize the workshops and research in various communities. The technical officers (dance, music, art, writing, et al) organized the content, and the persons to teach these workshops. Most of the time, local artists were used and paid to run these programs. We also used all of the content of various ministries to provide information and education to the communities thru the use of qualified persons to speak on the topics developed by those institutions.

Let me state clearly, I am not looking for any job in any form or fashion. However I know from experience that there is too much ad hoc planning on the continued development of Barbados. What makes an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 166 square Miles, and less than 275,000 people, rated #9 in the world in Education by the World Economic Council, and we continue to devalue ourselves with foolishness.

Racketeering at any and every level in Barbados must stop and that includes the NCF if such exists. Newspapers, Radio Stations, the TV station, bloggers, must reflect more on the development of the country. There are too many areas that does not require government’s involvement. How many reviews of plays, concerts, books, musicals, and performances are covered in any of the 3+ newspapers, the Radio stations including GIS, on TV of various internet channels, dot com sites, on Facebook social media, et al? These are important to the artists/performers and offer critical assessment of their work. There are many people in Barbados who can do these reviews. Why isn’t it being done? Why are the creative people – musicians, actors, dancers, writers, performers, et al so silent on these needs? Are the owners and editors so removed from the society in which they live, work, play, raise children and families that all of them hat the food for development and the achievement of excellence is a real and important aspect of our total development. The editors, owners and general manager got to do better than what they are doing now.

Ah gone.

The George Brathwaite Column – ‘Re Re’ and Striving for Excellence

For at least 20 years, there was an official acknowledgement that a rethinking of education and training had to be done by the authorities in Barbados. National consortiums realised that with the phenomenon of globalisation, also came new imperatives compelling small states such as Barbados to adjust meaningfully and quickly to rapid changes of engagement occurring across the globe. Barbados had to face the challenge of being pulled further into the density of complex economic changes. The need to be globally competitive regardless of local shortcomings existed, and this was very apparent in financial, technical, and commercial activities. Reshaping national attitudes, therefore, became commensurate with being able to withstand the vicissitudes of international competition, if Barbados was to survive.

Adjusting to change, meant that local policymakers, academics, and technocrats had to shift from short-sighted posturing and piecemeal fixes towards radical intervention. The then prime minister Owen Arthur, delivering the budgetary proposals in the Barbados House of Assembly on September 2, 1998, alluded to the challenges emanating from such dispatch. Arthur opined that attempting to steer Barbados to a place of transformation and relative safety demanded ‘a radical new approach to education and training’ from which, national synergies would become purpose-fit for creating a vibrant and sustainable economy which would work for the benefit of all Barbadians. Thus, a reasonable question was why is radical change necessary, and what specific problems would be alleviated by shifting gears?

The first vital first steps for enabling change and devising the coping mechanisms would spring from access and opportunities to education and training. Reshaping education and training became a national priority, and it was equally important to create generational awareness and knowledge throughout the society. Explaining the rationale, Owen Arthur contended: “There is no question that the pervasive revolution in information and communication technology will … be the most important determinant of the economic fortunes and the social structure of all societies. For this reason, we cannot rest on our laurels in respect of education and training. Indeed, the issue is no longer whether education in Barbados is free and universal; it is whether it is relevant to today’s purposes and tomorrow’s needs … in creating the labour force required for tomorrow’s world.” Current prime minister, Mia Amor Mottley, was part of that Arthur-led administration.

To be clear, gradual incrementalism has historically been the preferred mode of affecting fundamental change in the annals of Caribbean administrative work. Michael Gallivan et al. (1994) argue that “where established structures, processes, and knowledge are extended and augmented, radical change replaces the status quo with a new order of things and as a result may create serious disruptions in structures, processes, operations, knowledge, and morale.” Barbados and most regional governments have been usually gradual to affecting change because of its less disruptive nature. Politicians, in some cases lacking the political will, have shied away from doing the practical and right thing, fearing that to rock the boat may result in electoral punishment at the next general elections. They refuse to go beyond a mere tinkering of inherited colonial structures.

Yet, and in contrast to gradualism, Barbados is now at a juncture whereby radical changes in attitudes and administrative actions have become necessary to rescue the country from its decade-old forlorn. With radical change there is the presumption that processes will be transformed and created causing dislocation in the short-term with no certainty of long-term success. Additionally, new claims to multiple responsibilities are likely to be transferred as power bases dismantle vertical and sometimes unnecessary hierarchies. The ‘radical’ ruptures are likely to reflect a more practical pliancy making the operational domains in public administration more suitable to coping with the changes enveloping Barbados.

Today, PM Mottley and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) are charged with putting back Barbados at the apex of administrative, economic, and governance standards in the Caribbean. One may recall, that in the late 1990s when functioning as the Minister of Education, Miss Mottley was tasked with the objective of commanding the relevant policy arena. Miss Mottley held ministerial responsibility for creating the first comprehensive framework that would technologically transform the education and training sectors. The transitioning took root in the nation’s school system with the programme ‘Edutech’. Despite some partisan critiques, Miss Mottley rapidly introduced a generation of children into a computerised world. The evidence of those efforts coincided with the changing pace, scale, and scope in which the business world operated, and in which technologies of all kinds were refashioning most aspects of productivity in almost every industry.

In 2018 and after failing to perform the necessary reforms in the public sector and the economy, Barbados is picking up the pieces. Rebuilding the broken economy necessitates actions that would drive another stage of technological transformation. Of meaningful significance, there is a refocusing on strategic education and training. Prime Minister Mottley is again pitched at the forefront, actively leading the radical change necessary for the transformation of the Barbados economy. E-governance, e-commerce, robotisation, and internet programming are among key activities that are on the figurative table. The prospects are tremendous although, this time around, the available resources appear lesser, the options are limited, and the danger of not achieving success appears costlier.

It is precisely at this intersection of getting the framework right for education and training that PM Mottley’s proposal for the ‘Re Re Programme’ can be of major and constructive significance. The Re Re Programme, according to Miss Mottley, is about “retooling and empowering; it’s about retraining and enfranchising.” Emphasising that change can be uncomfortable but is necessary, PM Mottley has already indicated that the Re Re Programme will help maximise efforts for managing the change in which the retooling spurs empowerment and, the retraining supports an enfranchising en route to a ‘destination of excellence’ not dissimilar from the excellence personified by the iconic ‘Ri Ri’ Fenty. In fact, Prime Minister Mottley is advocating that the direction of change for making Barbados the best it can be, resides in the capacity of the population to become technologically inclined. The embedded rationale that education and training can directly improve socio-economic circumstances for most, ushers in a radical approach for fixing Barbados’ problems. This can easily translate into more opportunities for the individual growth of employers and employees.

Certainly, education and training must become common factors in the nation’s psyche since these are measurable components helping to determine economic growth and local investment. Simultaneously, increasing the numbers of technologically savvy persons who become empowered and enfranchised can spur commensurate changes across the public and private sectors. It is there that a sense of ownership leading to enhanced productivity and competitiveness become realisable assets. Therefore, radical approaches and innovative solutions to these problems require an integration of perspectives from a diverse population of stakeholders and not government alone. Both the public and private sectors, working together in supportive ways, must be prepared to give impetus to those initiatives that would radically manage Barbados’ effective transformation. The Prime Minister has declared that the Government she leads is determined and recognises that “we have to do things a little differently.” A radical approach to problem-solving and to fixing the damage, ushers in the importance of education and training to get Barbados where it needs to be.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a political consultant and former lecturer in Political Science. Email:

PSVs on Forty Year Rampage

One of the enduring problems Barbados has experienced in the last 40 years is the inability of stakeholders to efficiently manage the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) sector. The result of which has seen the rise in a sub culture of an alarming proportion that threatens to destabilise the orderly society Barbados is known.   There is the negative ‘underground‘ music culture where the word RAW best describes the music. There is a calibre of person employed by the sector whose deportment is best described as RAW. One has to wonder how an industry that was started by the Black entrepreneur converting the ‘lorry’ has been allowed to morph to the ‘monster’ it is today.

For years the blogmaster offered the opinion that the owner of the PSV vehicle needed to be brought to heel to institute discipline to the sector. However, if one takes the time to understand the issues causing the chaos in the PSV industry- and wrecking havoc on society- it is no different to what led to the demise of CLICO. There has been a catastrophic failure in the governance framework effecting the sector.

An employee of XYZ company has a responsibility to perform to the best of their ability based on the job description. XYZ company’s obligation is to provide the training and support necessary for the employee to get the job done. In the simple scenario, if either party’s expectation is not met the contract is cancelled if remediation effort by the employer to address the ‘grievance/gap’ is unsuccessful.

For four decades we have witnessed the same refrain coming from local Authorities –  the minibus driver and conductor are the scum of the earth and must be brought to heel. In XYZ company if the employee does not comply with the conditions of employment it is grounds for discipline- dismissal if the violation is egregious. Why is it not so simple to create the culture of discipline/excellence in the PSV sector?

There is a level of malfeasance and corruption that afflicts the PSV sector known to industry participants. These stakeholders may be defined as the political directorate including the minister, insurance companies, police force, magistrates, MTW officials including the chief licensing officer and a few others. This blog points to the corrective action that can bring order to the sector by weeding out the bad apples through implementing an efficient oversight framework.

The Barbados Transport Authority – this is where the buck should stop – needs to act on the many recommendations shared with government through the years. Many can be found by using the Search Box at the top of BU’s Home Page. In company XYZ the employee is expected to perform to a declared standard, if the employee fails, there is action to be taken. The blogmaster is mindful of a prevailing culture in Barbados and note that the members of the Barbados Transport Authority serve at the pleasure of the minister.




Garment Industry Lacks Quality Control

Submitted by Wayne Cadogan,
Retired Garment Manufacturer, Trainer, Consultant

This article has pained me in more ways than one to write to see where Barbados has come from as a garment export manufacturing country to the manufacturing of garbage in terms of producing high-quality garments. Back in the day as far back as in 1983, Barbados had over seventy-nine knowledgeable garment manufacturers and a workforce of over fourteen thousand workers employed in the industry.

Most garment factories back then employed a sewing machine mechanic, sometimes more than one depending on the size of the factory and the volumes being manufactured especially the larger factories. The same was true for in-house pressers to press each garment as it was being constructed since critical areas of each garment required pressing in order to maintain proper shape, fit and finishing.

Last week I accompanied a parent to one of Bridgetown’s leading department stores that sell school uniforms to give some advice on the purchasing of their son’s school uniform. I stood there horrified in a trance looking at the garbage for uniforms on the racks and could not grasp or believe at what I was seeing for uniforms especially the girls. It is no wonder why Barbados does not have a thriving garment industry or workforce, in my forty-five years plus in the garment industry as a manufacturer, trainer, and teacher, have I ever seen such crap as far as quality is concerned. I am still trying to come to grips with what is being produced and the extravagant prices that the public has to pay for the crap.

When one looks at the finish of these uniforms including the sizing, it is evident that the manufacturers of these uniforms do not employ an in-house sewing machine mechanic or a presser or pressers in their establishments and in most cases have a pattern maker. All the uniforms on the racks were puckering at the seams, stitching too taunt, wrong seam allowances, hem threads showing on the outside of the garments and it was quite evident that the garments were not pressed and looked unfinished. Fabrics and threads come in different weights and sizes as well as needles and every time you are going to stitch a different piece of fabric, the correct needle size has to be used and the needle tension has to be adjusted as well as the number of stitches per inch for the size of the thread and fabric, otherwise you will have the problems with puckering and threads showing on the outside of the garment.

It is a known fact that one of the main factors that destroyed our garment industry during the declining years in the 80’s and 90’s beside the concession issues with the government was that most of the factories did not have a pattern maker. Unfortunately, there were only two professional pattern makers/graders in Barbados, one was involved in teaching and the other was involved in their own business. In order for any garment manufacturer to survive and operate a successful garment business, they have to have an inhouse pattern maker/grader unless they buy into these services as well as other services that they can buy into.

Like everything else, rules and laws govern the garment industry in terms of quality control and where shortcuts will ruin the final outcome of a garment. When it comes to sizing a garment it is critical that buttonholes are spaced correctly, correct size and positioning of pockets, collar size and lengths and overall fit. The purchasing of North America or European patterns and adjusting them will not work here for Barbadians or the wider Caribbean except for a small percentage of people is because of body structures and types. These patterns are drafted for white people whose body compositions are completely different to black people although everybody falls into a particular size. Let me reiterate here, foreign-made clothes are manufactured for white people who have a shape more like a pencil and not for black people whose waist tends to be smaller and have very large hips.

Most factories rely on foreign patterns and try to make adjustments to them since they are not any professional pattern makers or pattern making businesses around. In any case, the local manufacturers would not seek the services of any of the two local pattern makers, because that is how we treat our own and would not want to pay them the same fees that would be charged by a foreign pattern maker. It is unfortunate that Barbadians have to pay these exorbitant prices for all this crap and it is time that Barbadians start paying for quality and service.

Emancipation Day, a Good Reason to Give Pause

Barbadians join former colonies to celebrate Emancipation Day on August 1.

There can be no disagreement the Black race had to endure a form of slavery that to this day weighs heavy on the conscience of world citizens. Some will engage in a spurious rebuttal that the immoral act of chattel slavery practiced on Black people should be distilled using a logic that it was the legitimate activity of the day. What cannot be refuted is that until the Slavery Act 1833 Blacks resident in the Mother Country (England) and its colonies were regarded as chattel. Then there was the apprenticeship period where the former slave masters exploited Blacks because it was determined that it was cheaper to pay a rock bottom wage or provide room and board to the former slave in exchange for labour.  A capitalist thinking?

The benefit of slavery is that the White race was able to accrue great wealth to build an establishment that to this day supports how the so called developed world does business to the marginalizing of minority populations. More fundamentally the period of Black slavery practiced by the British empire created a White supremacy mindset the legacy of which is with us today.  Dismantling the legacy thinking to promote an equal global community continues to be a work in progress. The establishment will not yield to demands from former colonies for reparations. It is not in the nature of man to surrender riches even if ill gotten. The blogmaster’s perspective is that demand for reparation by Barbados and other former colonies is not just about compensation in the form of a money transfer – it represents the opportunity for the former colonist to record on history’s page the egregious business of slavery.

We fast forward to 1 August 2018 and so the struggle continues as we celebrate Emancipation Day. Many Black Barbadians – especially the young – will remember today as a day to recover from attending RISE. How many will participate on the Emancipation walk to Bussa statue?  How many Blacks are aware there is a walk?

To Barbadians every where, the struggle continues to nurture a just society for all. One that we can make proud for our children and future generations to cohabitate on the planet. We must never forget what our Black forefathers had to endure to support what we have been able to achieve to date.

The following is the Emancipation Day message from Sir Hilary Beckles, the Chair of the Caricom Reparations Committee:-

Emancipation Day message from Chair, CARICOM Reparations Committee

Press Release

(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – We join annually with communities across the world in marking the moment in which the crime of chattel enslavement was confronted and uprooted from our existential realities. For us, the moment is August 1st; other dates are determined elsewhere and officially recognized.

Marking the moment in a celebratory fashion remains necessary despite the despicable nature of the gesture of Emancipation, legislated by Britain in 1838. It was an act in which black peoples were finally defined by Parliament as property, and their enslavers deemed entitled to compensation for property loss.

Today is an opportunity for descendants of the enslaved, and enslavers, to reflect upon the causes and consequences of these crimes against humanity, and in particular their significance on how we live today, and will in the future.

Rising up from the barbarity of bondage, we have dedicated our development energies to the advancement of democratizing social values, with a primary emphasis on building societies that are free and fair; upon platforms of multiracialism and multiculturalism.

As descendants, we celebrate the values of human decency left as an additional burden for our ancestors to carry. Every day they imagined would be an Emancipation day. They protected and projected the best tried and tested human values – joys of family life, fine spirit of community living, vitality of food security and material production, moral commitment to equity and justice, and critically the overarching, indispensable importance of freedom as the source of all happiness.

Effectively transcending and conquering the legacies of enchainment, impoverishment and racial denigration continue to elude us. Residual elements of the plantation-based past continue to shape our societies and determine their trajectories.

This year, we find it necessary to litigate the restoration of democratic rights and citizenship, illegally stripped away by the British government from thousands of Caribbean descendants rightfully living in that country since the immigration door was opened to passengers aboard Empire Windrush in 1948.

Last year, evidence of hostility against the Caribbean community by the British state erupted against the background of data, unearthed by historians, showing that the finance bond, by which the British government raised £20 million in 1834 to pay reparations to slave owners, remained active until 2015.

This fact powerfully shows that, for the British state, the slavery world persisted well into the 21st century, putting to rest its argument that “slavery was a long time ago”. These contemporary examples show how the effects of historic crimes still surround our societies. ‘Emancipation’ for us remains a work in progress and in no way can be considered a distant event that is settled and closed.

It is specifically for these reasons that we celebrate Emancipation day as a moment in which we demand reparatory justice. The Caribbean calls upon the enslaving governments of Europe, and their national institutions, all enriched and empowered by their crimes against humanity, to return to the region in order to participate in cleaning up their colonial mess. The advancement of economic growth is dependent upon it; social justice is dependent upon it; and a 21st century humanity is dependent upon it.

As we confront the future, let us be guided by Sir Arthur Lewis, who stated in 1939 that the 200 years of unpaid labour extracted by the British from the enslaved people of the Caribbean is a debt that must be repaid to their descendants. This is important, he asserted, if we are to have a fair shot at sustainable development. Pushing ahead with a self-emancipatory agenda is critical, but we must do so fully conscious of this broader context of our development efforts.

Blessings to all on Emancipation day.

The Prophecy

(Excerpt from A RASTA PLAY, written and illustrated by Ras Jahaziel August 2010
An Inter-faith Dialogue between Snow-white The Money God and The Three Dragons

SNOW WHITE-The Money God: Gentlemen, welcome to this our fourth-hundred annual inter-faith dialogue where we exchange ideas for the better management of our slave-holdings in the modern colonies. Now please relax and take off your masks. Those do-gooder masks are only for the outside when we have to put on a public show. But here, if you want to say “Nigger” you can say “Nigger.”



This is the forum where we can be ourselves and speak our minds without worrying about political correctness. We do not have to go around corners and pretend that PROFIT is not the only thing that matters. Every-one in here knows that the advancement of our empire has often called for ruthless action against inferior peoples. Often times it has involved moving populations from areas that we desire. Sometimes the methods may be bloody and involve lost of life amongst the inferior peoples, but everyone of you know the ropes, so to speak. So please speak your mind without worry. The press is not here. This is the place where we can discuss the dirty details that would shock the larger public outside.

Now the first thing I would like to do is to express my concerns about the stability of our modern plantation system in the Caribbean and the volatility of our Negro labor force in light of recent events.

I am sure that we all agree the image of “Paradise” must be maintained at all costs. For close to four centuries we have reaped billions of dollars in profit from the sweat of Black labor in the hot climes of these islands, and what has made our businesses so profitable is that up to this day Black labor has been for the most part free or very cheap. But now our old sugar plantations that required us to maintain thousands of slaves have been phased out, and Tourism has now become our new sugar plantation. Not only do we need fewer Negroes, but unlike in the days of sugar cane it is important to project an idyllic paradise image despite the glaring wide-spread poverty of the locals.

But we have a problem looming on the horizon: As a result of our recent economic adjustments the weight on the poor has been increased significantly, to the extent that they are nearing breaking-point. If we do not act preemptively and take drastic measures they are likely to rebel and spoil our paradise image. We need to crush rebellion long before it happens.

FIRST DRAGON, The Minister of Legal Terrorism and Plantation Protection: Pardon me for saying so, but I think your fears may be a little bit exaggerated because as you know, we have always used our police and army as a barrier of terror to protect our slave-holding properties. They have been trained to be very brutal and ruthless, and as a result of their consistent terrorism most of the slave population fears them. I don’t think we have anything to worry about, but if it would make you feel better we can increase the terror.

SNOW WHITE-The Money God: Well make sure the media publishes a good excuse for doing so before giving the police the go-ahead. But no matter what it takes we must maintain the flow of profit from our human and material possessions on these islands. Even though these economic measures will affect the lives of the poor fairly harshly, such measures are necessary to maintain THE PROFIT FLOW.

But keeping the plantation from burning has always been a balancing act. On the one hand, too much hardship may cause spontaneous rebellion, and on the other hand the extra hardship that the Niggers feel also makes them desperate for money. In that state of mind it is easier to control and manipulate them, and it is never difficult to find spies and informers. Another very important advantage in keeping the Negroes in a desperate economic state was demonstrated just recently in Tivoli Gardens. If you did not understand the power of our economic grip on the Negroes you would have been surprised by the zeal that was exhibited by our police and soldiers as they went about maiming and killing other Niggers that look just like themselves.

With our power to decide who eats and who starves it was easy to enlist dozens of paid killers.

So despite all of the idealistic calls for equal rights and justice, we know from long experience that we have to keep the economic lid on the Negroes. It is a form of control that we have always used, and in any case it has never been wise to let the Nigger get too far. We just need to be prepared at all times for any eventuality.

FIRST DRAGON, The Minister of Legal Terrorism and Plantation Protection:  Well, in light of your concern about the possibility of these economic measures causing dire social consequences, let me assure you that we have already equipped our FORCES with the appropriate training and practice in the event of an uprising..

SNOW WHITE-The Money God: But what do our sociologists say about this, do they concur with me about the potential social fall-out?

SECOND DRAGON, The Minister of Guile and Deception and Social Manipulation: Yes, total agreement. When the increased stress is added to the persistent mal-nourishment that already exists, it is quite likely that many of the poor will be driven to desperate measures, and many of them will be forced to break The Laws of the Plantation in order to survive.

It should be expected that increasing the stress on the Negroes at a time when they are already locked down in a seemingly never-ending cycle of malnutrition-foods and low wages will be enough to bring out the very worst in their personalities. And this will be most evident in those places like Tivoli where they are all packed together like sardines in a can. The fact that they are landless means that every facet of their daily existence will be subjected to increasing pressures to get the dollar in a time when LEGAL MONEY IS SCARCE.

For the poor and vulnerable it has therefore become a dog-eat-dog rat race that is spawning an increase in lawlessness, and the development of illegal survival systems like gangs.

SNOW WHITE-The Money God: OK, so do you have any recommendations?

SECOND DRAGON, The Minister of Guile and Deception and Social Manipulation: Yes, it is vitally necessary that we enlist the Church and influential leaders of other religious groups like the Rastas, if possible, to maintain an inordinate level of docility amongst the people at the very same time when their life conditions are drastically worsening. UnHoly Father, What do you have to share on this matter?

THIRD DRAGON , The UnHoly Father with the Forked Tongue: Well gentlemen my throat is sore from preaching last night, so pardon me if I am a little brief with my comments today. Speaking from a position of long practice and experience I would say that the best way to do this is to revive the old “God is soon coming for his world” sermon.

Another one that I would highly recommend is the “Patience and Long suffering sermon” that teaches the people to be patient with bondage, and imprints in their minds an attitude that SUFFERING LONG IS A VIRTUE. Also another trump card that we have always played is to teach them to love their enemies. With this combination of doctrines we can do anything to them and get away with it.

The desired objective here is that through the influence of properly cooked religion, the people’s natural instinct to act in pursuit of freedom will be totally erased.

You may think that it would be difficult to immobilize the human’s natural instinct to be free, but it is not. All we the religious leaders need to do is to continue feeding the Nigs with doctrines that condition them to look beyond themselves for a miracle-working God or a super-man Selassie to bring betterment to their lives… if they are prepared to patiently wait and be long-suffering.

We must continually hammer home the importance of blind faith and belief so that their minds are sufficiently spooked out.

When crippled by this mental condition they will see two thousand years of waiting as no big deal.

But for this thing to be truly effective these doctrines and our ministers that are chosen to spread them must be made to look very holy. We and our rituals must be elaborately clothed with the utmost sanctity, so that if anyone dares to think critically about these spooky myths they would feel like they are committing sacrilege and sinning against God, and their conscious minds will be therefore afraid to THINK. After a few short generations of these teachings the natural instinct to act in pursuit of freedom can be effectively erased for thousands of years.

SNOW WHITE-The Money God: I totally agree with you. Properly cooked religion can definitely work wonders on the mind of a slave. The evidence is all around us. We have successfully tricked them with the idea about emancipation, and control their labor and their time, and their very lives the same way as we did before we told them that they are free. We have cloned for ourselves a true slave people, and programmed them with slave doctrines that taught them to love their enemies more than they love themselves. Most of them live from day to day in a permanent hustle for scraps, and have no prospects of handing down anything to their children but more slavery. Every generation passes it on to the next, and yet they still can be heard talking about slavery in the past tense. They are a very stupid people.

They have stupidly fallen for our emancipation trick and believe that the absence of chains means the absence of bondage and that the absence of a white face in charge means the end of white power. We will always be able to trick them and rule them, because although they can play sports and make music, thinking is something that they always have a problem with. Go ahead and tell us some more!


THIRD DRAGON , The UnHoly Father with the Forked Tongue: Well, as you all know, we have never failed to collaborate with the schools and universities in making the historical robbery of African people and the historical enrichment of our people look like remote events that left no lasting social and economic legacy. We have always held that any discussions that throw light on the connection between past robberies and present poverty must be made taboo, and all the focus and the blame must be placed instead on the sins of the slave whose morality was bound to crack from the constant stress of the long historical weight of oppression.

If the truth were to gain recognition that the soul-destroying nature of slavery and the stress of present-day oppression are the main contributors to the moral decay of the people, then unhealthy attention and the glance of condemnation may become focused on us. God forbid that such a thing should happen, because the issue of reparations would be unavoidable, and it would be difficult to extricate the Church from responsibility for its long years of collaboration with the slave owners.

To counter such an eventuality I would suggest using the News Media to create a despicable image of those slave-descendants at the bottom of the economic ladder so that their poverty and social confusion will be seen as a direct result of their own laziness and their own innate immorality and inferiority.

To be continued next part



The Hindu Ban on Muslim Hijab

Submitted by Fatimah Mohammed

There is an ongoing controversy on the ban of the OJT Muslim trainee-teacher for wearing a hijab headdress at a Maha Sabha Hindu school.

Nafiesa Nakhid was told to remove her hijab in accordance with the school rules of the Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College in St Augustine on Monday.

As a Muslim woman with a Hindu husband and two multi-religious children, I am the best authority to adjudicate on this matter.

In its Facebook page, the Centre for Indic Studies led by NCIC’s Dr. Arvind Singh and Aneela Bhagwat, has condemned Sat Maharaj and the Maha Sabha for their action. Singh and Bhagwat have described the Maha Sabha’s ban as “disappointing and indeed shameful.”

Why were Singh and Bhagwat silent when mainly Hindu and Indian lecturers were fired from the Afro-Christian dominated UTT on May 11, 2018?

These paper-based organizations rise from the dead only to attack Sat and the Maha Sabha.

Mr Haripersad Maharaj of the IRO, Dr??? Mahant Deochand Dass of the Kabir Panth, and

Pandit Mukram Sirju of the Academy of Hinduism all came out of their coma to attack Sat when he said that Patrick Manning was a racial prime minister.

Obscure organizations like these do not utter a word when Hindu students are sent home from Muslim schools for wearing rakhi on their wrists and traces of abeer on their skins after Phagwa.

What do Arvind Singh and Aneela Bhagwat have to say about a brand-name Muslim jewellery store in a mall that refuses to sell or repair Hindu and Christian pendants?

What do these meek organizations have to say about a Muslim-operated stationery shop in Aranguez refusing to photocopy anything with images and/or text of Hinduism or Christianity?

Is the Bocas Literary Festival Biased?

Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

It seems that the city of Port of Spain has a no-entry sign for Indo-Trinidadian (Indian) cultural performers. The Fiesta Plaza in MovieTowne does not entertain these kinds of artistes. The Live Music District in the capital also does not showcase cross-over orchestras such as Dil-E-Nadan, T&TEC Gayatones, Karma, and KI & the Band.

The recently-concluded NGC Bocas Literary Festival (April 25-29) is yet another example of discrimination against Indian cultural performers in Port of Spain. The powers residing in Port of Spain have demonstrated their biased belief that (a) Carnival is the only form of national culture in the multi-ethnic society, (b) Indian culture should be pushed behind the Caroni bridge, and (c) at best, Indian culture should be confined to a token show of tassa drumming and an Indian dance. This marginalised treatment is showcased every time at the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA).

The latest published Government CSO population census in 2011 revealed that Indians form the largest ethnic group in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). Yet they constitute less than ten percent (10%) of the attendees and participants at Bocas Lit’ Festivals. It seems as though Indians have silently and individually decided to boycott this biased annual event. The fact that the main event takes place in Port of Spain, where few Indians live, also makes it challenging for Indians to attend.

Bocas Lit’ Fest is a great, exciting extended weekend event of readings, discussions, performances, interviews, workshops, storytelling, music and film screenings. The National Library (NALIS) venue is abuzz with activities mainly with local, regional and international writers, readers, publishers and critics of literary and non-fiction works.

The festival’s founder and director, Marina Salandy-Brown, must be commended for this initiative. Running for eight years, Bocas Lit’ Fest has emerged as the Caribbean’s premier annual literary festival.

On Bocas Lit’ Fest, literary critic Dr Raymond Ramcharitar wrote: “[T]he main concern is not promoting literature or art, but establishing the entitlement of certain people to produce, profit from, and control literary and artistic production, always at the expense of others” (Guardian 25/04/12). I interpret “at the expense of others” to also mean the exclusion of Indian cultural performers.

This year, Bocas Lit’ Fest hosted extempo deliveries and workshop on extempo composition, but no bir-a-ha workshop or renditions. A biraha is an impromptu song composed on any subject, religious or secular. It may break all bounds of propriety and social rules. It may even subvert accepted practices and customs as well as ridicule respected citizens. A biraha is sung as a solo item and may or may not be rendered with a dholak or typical nagara drum. It is accompanied by a dance (ahirwa nach) punctuated by rhythmic, fast footwork performed after each stanza.

Bocas Lit’ also included a workshop on fictional biography and biographical fiction based on the life of calypsonian “Kitchener”, and a documentary film on the calypsonian “Calypso King” from Costa Rica. Again, no workshop or film or discussion or performance on biraha, chutney or pichakare.

Both chutney and pichakare are musical forms indigenous to Trinidad. Chutney soca is a crossover genre incorporating soca elements and Hindi-English, sung with instruments such as the harmonium, dholak and dhantal.

Pichakare is a type of social-commentary song created by Ravi-ji, a spiritual leader, as a counterpoint to political calypsoes which defamed Indian politicians and personalities. It is sung in Trinidad Hindi (Bhojpuri) and English on stage during Phagwa, the Hindu festival of colour and harvest.

This year’s edition of Bocas Lit’ Fest also featured monologues by Carnival Midnight Robbers. The festival did not showcase an excerpt of Ram-leela or any of its characters.

Ram-leela is perhaps the oldest living form of free outdoor folk theatre in the Caribbean. Villager actors play the role of animals, clowns, humans, saints, gods and demons through masks, costumes, props, gestures and body movements. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1992, poet and playwright Derek Walcott spoke glowingly about Ram-leela in Felicity in central Trinidad. In 2008, UNESCO proclaimed Ram-leela as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity which should be protected and promoted.

In all of its dramatic performances, the Bocas Lit’ Fest has never included folktale figures such as Birbal from Trinidad and Sachuli from Guyana. They are the Indian counterparts to the Afro-Caribbean trickster spider, Anansi.

Indian cultural performers and promoters have realised that the culture which they practice and promote will always be marginalised or excluded. They have decided to create their own shows, competitions and literary events.

Towards this end, the NCIC Nagar, led by Deoroop Teemal, has established “An Evening of Readings and Discussions” in Chaguanas. Its third quarterly readings with former journalist and novelist, Ariti Jankie, on Sunday April 22, drew more than 100 guests, mainly Indians.

Spitting fire, Teemal must have blurted, “To hell with Bocas!”

Working to Win Back Empire

The DLP continues to do an injustice to the Creative Community… and continues to favor Mark Maloney making a profit from the people’s property…. it has been just over 5 years since DLP gave Maloney this National Treasure on the eve of the last election…. it is soon time for a change!

Jim McGowan

Today the blogmaster was reminded by Jim McGowan’s Facebook post tagged to Mia Mottley that about seven years have passed since he and others attempted to win control of the derelict Empire theatre site- the objective, to ‘retrofit’  give the local Arts community a home.

The blogmaster is aware that Jim McGowan and team ploughed many hours into developing plan, negotiating loans, line of credit etc with venture capitalist agencies to arrange financing for the project. The dream was (still is) that the successful implementation of the Empire project would have served as a catalyst to boost activity in the Arts sector to the next level. Also create needed entertainment in a deserted City which is aligned to government’s objective having worked to achieved the World Heritage designation for Bridgetown. Instead the area continues to be the habitat for vermin and an embarrassment to all who have reason to be in the area.

Minister Stephen Lashley and government in their infinite wisdom gifted the facility to Mark Maloney and his backers, one of many government projects. It will be interesting after May 24, 2018 to observe how this matter develops. For sure members of the Arts community have reason to vote against the government in protest.

Cuba is Making Progress Mr. Degia!


How easy it is  for the Nation Newspaper’s columnist of East Asian descent, Mohammed Iqbal Degia, to get up on his journalistic soapbox and assume a posture of being “blacker” than all the Pan-Africanists and Afro-centrists of Barbados  by self righteously railing against what he characterizes as the Republic of Cuba’s inexcusable deficiencies in tackling and eradicating black inequality and anti-black racism.

But the “super black” Mr Degia conveniently doesn’t tell us what he is comparing Cuba’s record in tackling black inequality and anti-black racism with !

As we all know, in 1959 revolutionary Cuba — a society with a large minority black population — inherited a socio-economic system that was severely disfigured by entrenched black inequality and anti black racism from the pre-Revolutionary era. And therefore, if we are to assess  the record of the Cuban revolutionary government in dealing with and transforming that negative heritage, we would have to make comparisons with other white majority/large black minority societies such as the United States of America, Columbia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the United Kingdom, France and the list goes on. And the reality is that not a single one of these countries have come anywhere close to Revolutionary Cuba in dismantling anti-black racism and black inequality!

The “super black” Mr Degia seems to be demanding that by now Cuba should have eradicated black inequality and all vestiges of anti-black racism. But lets be honest —  which nation on the face of this earth can be credited with having eradicated black inequality and anti-black racism?

Can we make such a claim for our own Barbados — a nation that possesses a 95% black population? Do we possess a society of racial equality in Barbados? Have we rid Barbados of all or even most aspects of anti-black or anti-African sentiments and discrimination? I, for one, think not.

No-one — certainly not me — is claiming that Cuba is some exemplary post-racial paradise, but I truly find it hard to think of any other nation that has made a more solid contribution to the cause of Black dignity and upliftment over the past half century.

Perhaps Mr Degia could tell us–  in measuring a country’s commitment to the cause of black dignity and equality– what weight should we attach to the fact that thousands of Cuban soldiers (most of them being volunteers) sacrificed their lives on the very soil of Africa fighting the forces of white supremacy?

Or what weight do we attach to the fact that for several decades now literally tens of thousands of Cuban doctors, nurses, engineers, and a host of other technicians have served in Haiti and in a plethora of other Black and African countries in an effort to contribute to their development?

In addition,what weight should we attach to the fact that Cuba has opened its schools and universities — free of cost — to hundreds of thousands of of black and African students over the course of the sixty odd years of the Cuban Revolution?

You say — Mr Degia — that Cuba made mistakes in its approach to fighting racism. You imply that it was a mistake for the revolutionary leadership to believe that the establishment of socialist programmes geared towards fostering social equality and delivering education, health, housing and other social services to the people at the bottom of the social ladder would be enough to disrupt and rectify the inherited racist social structure. Well, maybe it was too optimistic to think that a sheer commitment to socialist equality and human development would be enough,but which country has not made mistakes in its approach to fighting racism?

Mr Degia, you write vaguely and glibly of a white Cuban elite that represses black Cubans. But — tellingly — you provide not a scintilla of evidence, other than your nonsensical pointing out that the three Presidents of Revolutionary Cuba thus far have been white. In case you don’t know Mr Degia, two of those Presidents– the Castro brothers– were the historical leaders of the Revolution, and they happened to be white.

Though, truth be told, it is really difficult to think of Fidel Castro as merely a “white” man, for at an ideological level Fidel was such an enemy of the system of white capitalist supremacy that most of us consider him nothing less than a “black brother”. In fact the great Black Power advocate, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) once described Fidel as the blackest man in the Americas!

Pray tell us Mr Degia, when was the last time you heard news of a police officer in Revolutionary Cuba shooting down an unarmed black man? Or when was the last time you heard of the state intelligence or law enforcement agencies of Revolutionary Cuba setting out on a campaign to subvert and bring down black office-holders? If you are looking for a society that is oppressive of black people, Mr Degia, you are looking in the wrong place— you have to shift your gaze a little further North.

Permit me to conclude — Mr Degia — by sharing with you the following FACTS about the racial make-up of the governmental administration that was elected to office in Cuba less than a week ago:-

(1) The National Assembly

The President of the National Assembly or Parliament of Cuba– Esteban Lazo Hernandez — is a black man, and of the 605 Deputies, some 36% of them are black or of African descent.

(2) The Council of State

The Council of State or Cabinet comprises 31 members, and close to half of its members (45.1 % to be precise) are black or of African descent.

(3) The Leadership of the Council of State

The leadership of the Council of State consists of eight persons — a President, a First Vice President, five other Vice Presidents, and a Secretary. Three of the eight members of this leadership cohort are black, including the First Vice President.

All the facts underlie that Cuba is making progress — very substantial progress — in solving the historic problem of racial inequality that the Revolution inherited! I wish the same could be said for several other countries that are well known to us.

The Windrush Generation, NOT Welcome in England

Hours after the Windrush story broke the UK Prime Minister May has been forced into damage control mode to apologize to Black leaders. Is this the opportune moment to force the reparations issue?

Here is a link to The Sun newspaper article –  Windrush generation – when did the children arrive, are they in the UK illegally and how many are there?

Few Indians Joined Black Power in 1970

Submitted by Dr Kumar Mahabir

Saturday April 21st marks the 48th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Emergency to quell the Black Power Revolution in Trinidad in 1970. The uprising was led by Makandal Daaga and his chey-la [disciple], Kafra Kambon, of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC).

This year also marks the 18th anniversary since Kambon and his gang of followers rowdily stormed out of a conference on the rebellion during my presentation at University of the West Indies (UWI).

On that Holy Thursday, I was simply trying to expose the popular, (politically correct) propagated myth that many Indians actively participated in the Black Power Revolution.

Seven years after Kambon and his gang noisily interrupted my presentation, Professor Bridget Brereton of the Department of History at UWI came out to support my position.

In an article entitled “Contesting the past: Narratives of Trinidad & Tobago,” Brereton wrote: “Most Indo-Trinidadians opposed the movement and rejected the label ‘black,’ which, most felt, subsumed their ethnic identity under a blanket term always primarily associated with people of African descent” (page 19).

At the Black Power conference in UWI in 2010, I began my presentation by saying: “I speak with the knowledge that there is an attempt by NJAC, and a few Indian militants, to sanitize what, according to historian Kelvin Singh was really ‘a bid by Afro-Trinidadians to dominate the multi-ethnic society in a totalitarian way’” (page 5).

In his book East Indians and Black Power in the Caribbean (1986), Professor Mahin Gosine stated that the participation level of Indians was very low. He wrote that Black Power meant a call to African people to return to their cultural roots, to reject White domination, and to seize political power through revolutionary struggle. The ideology, at its core, preached a return to the traditional African past.

Many Indians did not actively participate in the Black Power Movement because of the violence that was involved. Violence exploded on a large scale on the night of March 5, 1970. Each night, the number of targets hit by Molotov cocktails increased.

Indians feared that the violence would be turned against them, their families, their homes and their small business establishments. An Indian-owned factory was burnt in San Juan and four children died in the fire.

Although NJAC led a procession of 20,000 demonstrators to San Juan, and later to Caroni as an apology, and to signal Afro-Indian unity, the damage was already done to the psyche of Indians.

In his journal article entitled “East Indians and Black Power in Trinidad,” foreign-based researcher, David Nicholls (1971), agreed that the “majority of Indians looked with a certain degree of detachment and with some suspicion upon what was going on. They saw it as a confrontation between black demonstrators, black policemen, and a black Government” (page 443).

At the forefront of the movement were a few Indians. These were men like Winston Leonard who could not have claimed for himself to be either a spokesman or a leader of the Indian community. There was also Chan Maraj of the unknown Arouca-based National Freedom Association, whose fame to claim was that he was related to veteran politician Stephen Maharaj.

These men were aliens to the Indian community. Indeed the Indian community saw them as confused men without a cultural identity. They were token Indian symbols used by advocates of the Black Power Movement for strategic, symbolic and political purposes.

Like Raja Ramlogan, these Indian men did not talk about India, Indian history and Indian heritage with the same passion as their African counterparts talked about their ancestral past.

Indeed, while the Black Power leader, Daaga, and his chey-la, Kambon, were sporting dashiki with pride, Ramlogan was sporting dashiki too, instead of the culturally-acceptable Indian kurta shirt.

A few Indian university students were involved. They went beforehand along the Caroni route explaining the purpose of the proposed march. But they were not taken seriously by villagers since they were considered young university students who just had “more book sense that common sense.”

On March 12, 1970, Indian children came out on the streets out of curiosity to see the dramatic procession, complete with colour, props, chants and speeches.

Indian adults on the Caroni route came out not so much in support of the Movement, but more out of the characteristic Indian hospitality to give food and water to any passing stranger in need.

There was also the strong feeling of fear: Give these rebels what they want and let them go quickly.” If Indians did give a hand of support to the protesters, it was really in support against Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams and his ruling PNM (People’s National Movement) who were considered to be the enemies of Indians.

THE WRITER is an anthropologist who has published 11 books.


Correspondence – Dr. Kumar Mahabir, 10 Swami Avenue, Don Miguel Road, San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. Mobile: (868) 756-4961 E-mail:

The Caswell Franklyn Column – That Beach is NOT Mine

From the time I was a boy, I have been hearing that there are no private beaches in Barbados. It never really mattered to me since I was never attracted to the beach. My mother had declared the sea off limits and the fear of her hand outweighed any desire to accompany my friends to the beach. Even now as a grandfather, I can’t swim and don’t go to the sea.

However, the incident, at Crane beach when vendors’ chairs were seized, piqued my interest. I sympathised with them and felt compelled to be part of the protest that was staged to support them. But ever cautions, I wanted to make sure that I was on good ground. So while Gabby and others protested, I opted to research the matter of beach access instead.

This is merely the outcome of my research and is not intended to be a definitive statement of the law; I am not so qualified and I would be happy for any clarification in this respect.

As I understand it, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, when he led the Government, decreed that beaches in Barbados were public property. We must assume that he knew that private property extended to the high water mark. Nonetheless, he did not define what he meant by the term “beach” and therein lies the source of the confusion.

At section 2, the National Conservation Commission Act states:

For the purposes of this Act

“beach” includes the land adjoining the foreshore of Barbados and extending not more than 33 metres beyond the landward limit of the foreshore.

If beaches are indeed public property, this definition would therefore mean that Government acquired private property that extended roughly 33 metres landward from the high water mark, without paying compensation to the land owners involved.

To further complicate matters, Parliament again defined “beach” this time at section 2 of the 1998 Coastal Zone Management Act. It states:

“beach” means the entire area associated with the shoreline, composed of unconsolidated materials, typically sand and beachrock, that extends landward from the high water mark to the area where there is a marked change in material or natural physiographic form to a distance of 500 metres landward from the mean high water mark, whichever is the lesser distance.

A cursory reading of this definition would suggest that the beach ends where the sand or beachrock end, and that is the end of the matter. However, I have come to realise that nothing is ever this simple. Further reading led me to section 65A (2) of the Property Act which points out that the definition of “beach” in the Coastal Zone Management Act only applies to property that was conveyed after 1st May 2000. It states:

In all deeds, contracts, wills, orders, and instruments executed, made or coming into operation after 1st May, 2000, unless the context otherwise requires, any reference to the beach shall be construed as a reference to the beach as defined in the Coastal Zone Management Act, 1998 (Act 1998-39).

This suggests to me that a person, who acquires land on the coast after May 1, 2000, is not entitled to own the beach. And it begs the question, what about persons who owns property prior to that date? I found the answer at section 35 of the Limitation and Prescription Act.

If my interpretation of subsection 35. (1) is correct, there is a presumption that the public would have acquired the right to use the beach having done so for a period of 20 years without interruption. Mind you, that presumption can be defeated in court. Even so, that right becomes absolute if it had been enjoyed for 40 years, in accordance with subsection 35. (2) which states:

Where such a way or other matter has been so enjoyed for the full period of 40 years, the right thereto shall be deemed absolute and indefeasible, unless it appears that it was enjoyed by some consent or agreement expressly given or made for that purpose by deed or writing.

Since Bajans have been enjoying the beach for more than 40 years, it would appear that the beach might not be mine but I have the right to continue to enjoy it.

Black Panther: Symbol of Black Power in the Caucasian Paradigm

Submitted by Margaret Brito PhD

“A melanated big cat, called a panther, is a solitary, fearsome creature.”

Let us welcome Margaret Brito to the BU family. Do not ever forget that the BU forum is about a melting pot of ideas, opinions- a forum where academics and ordinary share a single space.

David, blogmaster

The image of the black panther is a symbol of Black power in the Caucasian paradigm. I use Thomas Kuhn’s definition of paradigm developed in his essay “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”¹ published in 1962. In this essay, Kuhn, a Harvard scholar, defines a paradigm as a conceptual box which validates and legitimizes the ideas within it, and invalidates and renders invisible whatever is outside it.

A paradigm defines what is known and how it is known. It defines the relevance of what is known. A paradigm dictates what can be known and should be known, as well as that which is not known and should not be known. It dictates what’s included in one’s experience and what’s excluded. It defines how people should understand and respond to their experiences, both those which should be and are included, and those which should be and are excluded.

Full Article – The Black Panther: Symbol of Black Power in the Caucasian Paradigm

Dancin Africa: Black Lives Matter

“View a video of the award winning dance entitled BLACK LIVES MATTER, choreographed by Aisha Comissiong and performed by Dancin Africa. This was one of the stand out dances at the recently concluded CARIFESTA arts festival in Barbados. It is the ultimate REPARATIONS DANCE!”

Flashback to Old Barbados

It is important for Barbadians to remember our history. The pictures in the BU gallery were captured from the Facebook Timeline of Dolores Grandison. The pictures vividly demonstrate the progress we have made on many fronts. The struggle is how do we continue to advance change in our little country that is positive and respect the struggle of our forefathers.

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Carifesta to the Rescue?

Submitted by David Comissiong

With CARIFESTA a mere week or so away, and with Barbados and most of the Caribbean enmeshed in social and governmental dysfunction and crisis, the fundamental question that arises is as follows:- “Will we use CARIFESTA to launch a powerful cultural and artistic Campaign to regenerate our Barbadian and wider Caribbean nation, or will we squander this priceless opportunity that has come our way?”

You see, the Arts are not merely about entertainment! In fact, the truly indispensable role that the Arts and the artiste must play in a society is to identify and explore the critical existential challenges and contradictions that the society is facing, and to pre-figure ways in which such challenges and contradictions may be overcome or transcended.

Thus, when a society finds itself in deep crisis– as  Barbados and several other Caribbean societies are at present– it is crucial that our artistes be called upon to plumb the depths of our pathology and  help to craft a response.

Indeed, this was the original vision upon which CARIFESTA was founded!

CARIFESTA — as some of us may be aware — was the brainchild of the late President Forbes Burnham of Guyana. And, having conceived of the “idea” of a Pan-Caribbean Arts Festival, Burnham had the good sense to arrange to bring the most creative and outstanding Caribbean artistes of the day to Guyana in order that they might confer together and generate ideas for the construction of the inaugural CARIFESTA.

The artistes who gathered in Georgetown, Guyana in February 1970 included such “giants” as Kamau Brathwaite, Jan Carew, Tom Clarke, John La Rose, Earl Lovelace, Beryl Mc Burnie, Shake Keane, Andrew Salkey, Sam Selvon, Ivan Van Sertima, Wilson Harris, A J Seymour, Michael Gilkes, Philip Moore, V S Reid, Karl Parboosingh, and Aubrey Williams. And it fell to A J Seymour — the legendary Guyanese poet and Editor of the Kyk-over-Al literary journal– to speak on behalf of his fellow artistes, and to address the opening session of Burnham’s “Caribbean Writers and Artists Convention”.

Andrew Salkey— in his subsequently published book entitled “Georgetown Journal“– records the fundamental point that A J Seymour made about the role of the Caribbean artist as follows:-

“The creative artists of the Caribbean have a very special cultural burden to bear, and a very demanding role to play in the total social and political development of the Area. He said that they are also involved, or ought to be, in an unwritten educational programme and praxis for all the people; in short, the Caribbean cultural contributors must see themselves as a vanguard who will help to liberate the creative energies of the Caribbean people, and help all our societies to create a new life out of the chaos of underdevelopment.”

This then is the opportunity that the staging of CARIFESTA in Barbados provides us– an opportunity to bring together the most committed and creative artistes of the Caribbean and to charge them with the mission of investigating the fundamentals of our condition and helping us to collectively chart a way forward.

Are we conscious of this priceless opportunity, and  have  we prepared ourselves to grasp it? Or will we– as tends to be the practice of the current species of governing and bureaucratic elites in the Caribbean– simply go through the motions of doing something but not really making it truly meaningful ?

We Culture | DJs Play FOREIGN Oldie Goldies at 2017 Pic O De Crop Finals

Submitted by Hamilton Hill

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

Just last Tuesday I called the Fireworks program on the Voice Of Barbados and had what I thought was a spirited chat with its hosts relative to the scant regard shown to the art form of Calypso in Barbados. I made the point that the nationally owned TV station opted to feature Whitney Houston one Kadooment day, in a slot that easily could have offered some much needed exposure to one of the exponents of the art form. As soon as the call had ended the text message came. “one thing bout you….once it got anything to do wid this guvmant, um gotta be bad“. The idiot had missed the fact that I had made reference to an incident that happened back in the decade of the nineties. Last night towards the end of the broadcast of the “Pic O De Crop” finals at Kensington Oval any residual doubt to my claim surely would have dissipated.

In an unforgivable act of disloyalty the hard work of the Calypsonian was again passed over, for while the judges deliberated the audience was subjected to the voices of Heidi Hauge, Scooter LEE, Johnny Rodriquez and others. Oldie goldies for a crowd that had spent good money in very bad economic times to support Calypso. This was the event held so as to choose the Calypso King or Queen of Barbados. It was held under the auspices of the NATIONAL CULTURAL FOUNDATION, and as such the adage of he who pays the piper calls the tune obtained. This writer therefore places squarely at the feet of CEO Mr Cranston Browne the bucket of teardrops we cried last night for our culture. Did you Sir not feel the emotion, did you not see the exhibited passion as the following lyrics were belted out? ” when duty calls, yah put the world on pause….and be a PATRIOT for de cause”. In this instance the cause is the survival of the exponents of Calypso. Perhaps you missed it. Please do not miss nor take lightly the following observations.

Calypso is the fuel that propels this festival. Time and again we have heard ministers of Government speak magniloquently to the take of the festival. We have also heard of the difficulties experienced, the costs incurred as contributions year after year are made to this festival oftentimes at financial loss to some contributors. Exposure Sir at every turn is of the essence. The Mighty Gabby called for a quarter million dollars in prize money. The Red Plastic Bag made the more realistic proposal of one hundred thousand dollars per competition. The NCF’s proposal is to combine Sweet Soca with Party Monarch. Fah real? Do you not recognize why is it that the biggest names in calypso have ran away from the Pic O De Crop competition? Have you forgotten that over the years Crop Over and controversy have had a synonymous relationship? Rather than rewarding these hard working men and women by a reinjection of some of the capital their efforts generate, the NCF continues to shower them in disrespect. Last night’s occurrence was a slap in the face of every single person who in anyway made a contribution to this festival. One for which the foundation should publicly apologize. My wish is that the Calypsonians find a creative way to remind the NCF that calypso drives this festival.

Just desserts.

UWITV Region Talk: Interview With Veteran Caribbean Entertainer Richard “Dick” Stoute

Interview conducted by David Comissiong with veteran Barbadian entertainer Richard Stoute                                                               Credit: UWITV

The UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES has started its own television programming , known as UWI TV. The attached programme is a wide-ranging and in-depth interview with Mr. RICHARD STOUTE of Barbados, a veteran entertainer and youth mentor.

The series from which this interview is taken is called “REGION TALK”. Look out for other REGION TALK interviews featuring Bobby Clarke, Idalmis Brooks and Marlen Sanchez of Cuba, Francisco Perez Santana and Sister Zuleiva of Venezuela, Dr Pedro Welch, Professor Verene Shepherd, Allison Hinds, and the list goes on.

David Comissiong

A Carifesta Dance of Shame Explanation

Which country that you know of, would host CARIFESTA, and would organize a major international Dance exposition as the central event of the Festival, but would refuse to include a single one of their local or national dance groups in the said Dance exposition?

Well, if you guessed that the country is none other than Barbados you would have guessed right!

David Comissiong – A Carifesta Dance of Shame!

Citizen Advocate David Comissiong shocked Barbadians with the revelation last week the opening signal dance event at Carifesta to be hosted by Barbados from August 17 to 27, 2017 will feature no local dancers. In the interest of being fair to the other players in this matter BU sought clarification.

There is an Advisory Committee which consist of Barbadian dance professionals from the NCF, BCC, and Dancin’ Africa that recommended the decision to exclude local acts.

Why was this decision made?

There is a strong though regrettable view that Barbados does not have the calibre of professional dance groups to match those coming from the other islands.  The main consideration is the size and professional setup of the dance markets of the other islands AND the breath of experience by the dancers from those other islands gained from touring and performing on a more frequent basis.

Dance groups in Barbados are non professional if we use NIFCA to assess status including the vaunted Dancin’ Africa and Aisha Comissiong. BU mentions these names because they represent the cream of the leadership and talent of local dancing. BU was informed that although local dancers like Aisha Comissiong, Suzanne Watts, Keisha Amory have been recipients of NIFCA scholarships AND studied overseas- not to mention Keisha Dowridge and Maisha Jordan who are graduates of the BCC programme- they have never entered the professional category.

The Carifesta program is littered with several events where local dancers will perform or collaborate with acts from other islands.There is therefore the opportunity to showcase local dance talent. The signal dance event at Carifesta is meant to imply professional excellence.

A Carifesta Dance of Shame!

John Hunte

Which country that you know of, would host CARIFESTA, and would organize a major international Dance exposition as the central event of the Festival, but would refuse to include a single one of their local or national dance groups in the said Dance exposition?

Well, if you guessed that the country is none other than Barbados you would have guessed right!

Would you believe, that Dr. John Hunte — the “artistic coordinator” of CARIFESTA –is seemingly proud to be able to announce that the “Signal Dance event” of CARIFESTA  X111  will be a major international dance show at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium on the 24th of August, and that the event will feature dance groups from Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, and Haiti, but none from  Barbados!

According to Hunte, this ultra prestigious show is designed “to use modern concepts of Caribbean identity to unfold visions of ourselves and our common legacy”, but the only Barbadians that he deems  fit to include in the show are two female ballet dancers who reside and practice their craft in the European countries of Germany and Hungary.

Now, I have nothing against these two overseas based daughters of the soil– both of whom I know and admire– but somebody needs to tell Hunte , Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, and the rest of the CARIFESTA Secretariat that this is just not good enough.

If the Minister and his Secretariat are truly interested in exploring “modern concepts of Caribbean identity” and “visions of ourselves”, then how can they fail to include at least one of the best Barbadian dance groups that, year after year — at the annual National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) — creatively explore the boundaries of what it means to be Barbadian and Caribbean?

How can they– for example — fail to include such a quintessential and consistently excellent Barbadian and Caribbean dance group like Dancin Africa?

Is Minister Lashley and John Hunte really telling us that a group like Dancin Africa is not fit to grace the major dance stage at CARIFESTA — even though the Festival is being held in Barbados, and is being financed by the Barbadian taxpayers?

I have personally witnessed dance shows all over the Caribbean — from Cuba and Haiti in the North to Guyana and Suriname in the South– and I can affirm that some of the most compelling and impactful dance performances that I have ever witnessed have been delivered right here in Barbados at our annual NIFCA dance finals.

Indeed, the Dancin Africa troupe possesses a brilliant twenty-five year NIFCA gold award winning repertoire that is based upon at least two dozen  profoundly insightful and moving dances crafted by such outstanding Barbadian choreographic talents as Gene Carson, Kelvin Carvalho, Tyrone Trotman, Oral Welshman, and Aisha Comissiong.

Is Dr. Hunte and Minister Lashley really telling us that none of these Barbadian master works are to be showcased to the rest of the world on the biggest and most prestigious CARIFESTA stage?

What a travesty! What a pathetic expression of a national inferiority complex ! What a shame that something like this can still be happening after 50 years of Independence!

Sir Ruel Has Traditional Traditional Media Running for Cover

Two of the more popular calypsos of the season by Chad ”Sir Ruel” Bowen have been banned by the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)  and Voice of Barbados (VOB). Not a surprise to many is the fact the two social commentary songs deal with political references in Barbados. To be expected the CBC has banned both Run for Cover and Not My Vote and the less aggressive VOB has banned Not My Vote.

In the age of the Internet and social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube the two songs can still be heard but the banning of the songs by traditional media reinforces the view held by many that local media is intimidated by the political class compared to Trinidad and several other islands in the Caribbean.

The two calypsos by Sir Ruel are refreshingly  ”biting”  in a market  that has been starved of proper social commentary in recent years. The two songs are guaranteed to be on the  playlist of many.

Here are the two songs for your listening pleasure AND critique.

The irony for the BU household and others is that members of parliament continue to engage in immoral behaviour and attack citizens at will from behind the cloak of parliamentary privilege. In the mean time local media is on full bast with bashment soca crowding the airwaves. Here is an example of one of the popular bashment tunes by Scrilla with the title Wood.

Keith Neblett -General Manager of the National Conservation Commission Orders Coral Stone Sculptures @Batts Rock DESTROYED

The work of Sculptor Philip King located at the popular Batts Rock beach.

The work of Sculptor Philip King located at the popular Batts Rock beach.

The following was extracted from Rosemary’s Facebook page. There is rising concern and anger by Creatives at the callous manner Keith Neblett, General Manager of the National Conservation Commission (NCC) has dealt with the matter of coral stone sculptures located at Batts Rock. This is the same Neblett who was a key player in screwing the NCC workers – David King, Barbados Underground

Please check what Corrie Scott and I (other comments are on her page and mine) have written about Mr. King’s installations at Batt’s Rock…this is too ridiculous for words…and whilst I know many will feel there are far more important issues in Barbados to worry about, when the work of creatives such as Mr King is so shamefully destroyed for no apparent reason, for us, this is the beginning of a situation that could spiral into more foolishness that we as creatives have to endure. Creativity is the essence of any country, so we are allowing this to erode too?

Keith Neblett, Chairman of NCC

Keith Neblett, General Manager, NCC

Corrie Scott: For shame Mr Neblett of the NCC. Truly.
I have just been told that Mr Neblett of NCC has ordered that Philip King’s coral stone installations at Batts Rock be knocked down??!!

Does Mr Neblett not realize that these iconic coral stone sculptures have become a landmark? Photographed by both locals and visitors?
People travel to Batts Rock just to see them.
Mr King builds and adds to them every week.
They are in no one’s way. Most are built on a ridge of coral.

Geeeez wept man!!!
I am so angry.

Here is article written by Heather-Lynne Evanson of the Nation newspaper which tells the story.

Members of the Barbados Photographic Society travel there regularly to photograph them in their beautiful location. They have been featured in newspapers, magazines and online. Please, if any of you feel strongly about this speak up.

Rosemary Parkinson:
Dear Mr Neblett of the NCC, we creatives on this island are really, really on the verge of being extremely annoyed at the shennanigans being played with our lives and our work already, and suggest you do not push us further Sir or we might just have to show up the ignorance that persists on this little island of ours on an international level. Now, we know that many of us do not have the wherewithall to travel but we do have something called internet so perhaps you might like to look up the meaning of ‘installation’ as an art form so that you can recognize that what Mr King does is indeed worthy…so worthy that it has been not only photographed extensively but has appeared in international magazines to high acclaim with both locals and visitors making it a point to visit Batt’s Rock just as one would an art museum. These are continuous exceptional pieces done freely by a man whose honour is simply to have them play on the eye of the beholder – a vision of art which clearly you, Mr Neblett of the NCC, seem not to possess. If Mr King is not allowed to continue this awesome work of his that does not do anything but enhance the area attracting art lovers from all over the world, we will ensure that this will not go unnoticed. We would love it if you would see the light, apologize to Mr King and urge him to continue his blessed work. David King can you please take note of this foolishness and help us creatives to protect these ever-changing stunning installations that this son of the soil meticulously creates almost daily.


Valuing Our Own

jackieopelRead this entry on the famous Barbadian Ken Jone’s Facebook timeline and it resonated. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It explains the DNA of an ordinary Bajan.

Ken Jones

1 hr ·


The Greatest grave 50 years of Independence .I listen to Larry Mayers and hear all the comments etc.. Question did they really love this man? I wonder.

Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, outdoor and nature

Law and Public Decency

Wow! What an Editorial the Barbados Advocate posted today (08/12/2016). BU sides with the author of the editorial, tail wagging the dog indeed!

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

Should he find the time to reflect further on it, the Honourable Minister of Culture, Mr Stephen Lashley, will readily concede that his response of “It’s not illegal” was a surprisingly inadequate one to those who had complained that some of the costumes worn in the Grand Kadooment street parade on August 1 were too revealing or “skimpy” as it was put.

Among the protestors was veteran bandleader and designer, Ms Betty West, who expressed dismay at the number of semi-nude women on the road, especially those of a certain size. Her counterpart, Ms Gwyneth Squires, was of a similar view, regretful that “the police did not lock up” some of those in the more revealing costumes. Other bandleaders consoled themselves that they were simply giving the people what they wanted; a twisted scenario of the tail wagging the dog, where the reveller becomes both the designer and bandleader. Indeed, there were reports that some revellers had adjusted their assigned costumes to suit their individual tastes, inevitably of a more revealing nature.

Apart from the suggestion that the police should have locked up some of the more egregious offenders, the complaints generally appear to relate more to a question of public decency rather than that of criminal conduct, a much more complex and subjective area.

Nevertheless, the Minister, who is legally trained, sought to revert to the letter of the law to respond, offering his legal opinion that those people who wore revealing costumes during the street parade were “well within the law”. He may very well be right as a matter of strict law, although we would be loath to determine what is to be considered decent for public exposure purely on the basis of whether it is criminally indecent.

In most circumstances, an infringement of law of indecent exposure requires the showing of the genitals in the case of men, and the internal genitalia in the case of women; a reality that would be abhorrent to most Barbadians viewing the parade.

However, public decency is ordinarily to be assessed by community standards that may be based on religion, morality or tradition. In fine, whether the behaviour in question is repulsive to the public. There is, we submit therefore, a difference between indecent behaviour that is repugnant to right-thinking society and indecent exposure that invites criminal sanction, although there exists of course some intersection between the two concepts.

The sometimes-stark contrast between what the average individual may consider as indecent and what the law deems it to be is best seen in the exposure of the female breasts. While this occurrence at Kadooment would be, we assume, frowned upon by most, even when covered in paint as has happened previously, it is, at best, a moot point whether it would constitute an indecent exposure in law since the breasts are clearly not genitals.

The tendency to “push the envelope” is rampant in modern day society, and the Minister’s words may give some comfort to some of these individuals who intend to test local tolerance with the exposure of as much of their bodies as they are allowed to without falling foul of the law.

The Minister’s further query as to how does one go about policing what people should wear does seem an odd one, given his earlier assertion that “the NCF has rules and regulations regulating what type of costumes people can wear”. We should expect that these regulations are not mere carbon copies of the legal provisions on indecent exposure and that they go much further in the public interest.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Pride and the “other” Industry

Rihanna wukkin up on Kadooment Day

Rihanna wukkin up on Kadooment Day

It is the Sunday before Kadooment and the minds of most readers, more likely than not, will be concentrated wonderfully on matters such as the various parties, the identity of the Calypso Monarch and likely Tune of the Crop for 2016, with securing a costume for the street parade on Monday, or simply entertaining friends and/or family who have chosen to visit the island at this time. For those disinclined or otherwise reluctant to take part in the pandemonium or todoment of the occasion, and who should find time today to peruse the newspaper, it is the duty of the columnist to provide the traditional intellectual stimulation that you may seek in these pages despite the merriment that surrounds us.

Today, I have decided, in rather light-hearted fashion, to discourse on the national motto, especially that aspect that pertains to industry, in light of some of the “work” that will be on display tomorrow.

I have always been puzzled by the motto we have chosen -“Pride and Industry”. Clearly the reference therein to “Pride” has nothing at all to do with the cardinal sin of “hubristic self-overestimation” but speaks rather to that justifiable pride that we ought to feel in our achievements as a nation.

And we do have much to be proud of. For one, our pacifist political nature that permits us to change administrations through the medium of the ballot box rather than through force of arms, despite the seeming impatience of some for that opportunity to arrive; our freedom of expression that sustains arguments critical of the establishment and allows peaceful protest of policy decisions; and our reliance on the rule of law to govern our civic interactions.

Of course, in recent times, the crown of our hitherto near-pristine existence have slipped somewhat and the challenges posed by a more globalized environment have caused a loss of pride owing to some practices that have become part of our culture. The apparent increase in access to illegal firearms, despite our best efforts to stem their acquisition, and their indiscriminate use by those bent on redressing some perceived wrong, have caused us to rethink our old feeling of personal security in our daily existence; the recurrent criticism of the relative sloth of our judicial system by the Car1bbean Court of Justice and its negative impact on the treasured constitutional guarantee of protection of the law of a fair hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within a reasonable time have stung us to the core; and the national psyche and economic well-being have been assaulted by a seemingly interminable recession that threatens to reverse most of the gains we may have secured over the past 50 years.

As to the second quality, at first blush, the concept of “Industry” is an eminently laudable one and the constant public prayer for increased productivity as well as the general recognition that hard work is the key to success in most facets of life, embody the embracing of this aspect of the motto.

There is, however, another kind of ‘work” in which some of us are ready to engage in a few hours; however, the spelling is entirely different from the accepted English orthography and has been variously rendered as “wuk” or perhaps the more ostensibly descriptive, though admittedly rarer, “wuck”. This is what I mean by “the other industry”.

“Wucking up” appears to be a peculiarly Barbadian phenomenon, although there have frequently been claimed alliances with the African continent and appeals to Eastern belly-dancing to justify its public display. It is effected by some revelers as an interlude in their pilgrimage across the stage at the National Stadium and on the journey to Spring Garden either as a response to a non-verbal challenge from a fellow band-member or, perhaps less frequently, as a way of drawing public attention to themselves, although the accompanying half-embarrassed facial expressions would seem to belie this conclusion in many cases.

Ordinarily, public dancing to music should not require justification, but there is a side of Barbados that is consumed with how others see us, the very power that Robert Burns wished for from the “giftie “-

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!

It wad frae mony a blunder free us,

An’ foolish notion:

What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,

An ev’n devotion!”

And, for those persons, the simulated sexual congress that public “wucking up” involves, even for the less prudish among them, constitutes an unwholesome form of conduct not befitting of the image that the archetypal Barbadian should convey to the rest of the world.

For them, the industry (or work) in our motto is best manifested in keeping the environment free of litter, being as efficiently productive as possible in our daily lives and exhibiting creativity in thought and manufacture.

2016 Crop Over Festival – One Big Party

CropOverroadThe 2016 Crop Over Festival is quickly approaching its grand finale (Kadooment).  A key ingredient that helps to make the festival is the music. There are the many genres -calypso, traditional soca, bashment soca.  To support the music are the parties galore: Fyah De Wuk, Jalapeno Sunrise, Caesar’s Army Ambush BIM, Jalapeno Sunrise, Puff of Colour and several others.

What is your favourite song?

Where is the best lime?

Here is BU’s favourite party song.

Here is a social commentary song we like.


Conflict of Interest

Submitted by Wayne Cadogan

Submitted by Wayne Cadogan

Today I finally got the opportunity to go and view the NCF Crop Over Visual Arts Festival 2016 held at the Central Bank of Barbados. I was disappointed in the number of pieces on show compared to last year, the quality of some of the pieces, the absence of many of big name artistes. I am a collector of art and was accompanied by my best friend who happens to be one of the biggest art collectors on the island, he was also terribly disappointed.

Among the pieces on show, I was very impressed with a couple of the paintings, unfortunately, only one of those pieces was among the selections recognized. I was very disappointed in the painting that won the top award this year in comparison to three or four of the other paintings on show. Yes the artist’s theme for the painting was excellent, but a lot of the perspectives in the painting were off, especially with the hands and feet.

As I recall, this same artist won last year and I had some issues as well as many of the other artists. All the artists are mumbling and grumbling under their breath, as usual that is a Bajan thing, grumble and be afraid to speak out. In the mean while the problem remains. As I see it, and others, this artist in question is employed by the NCF in some form as an art tutor. If this is the case, it is a conflict of interest and the artist should not have been allowed to enter the competition and vie for any of the awards. The NCF could have allowed him to exhibit his work as a guest artist but not as a competitor.

From all the grumbling among the artist, I now understand why there is drop off in the number of artist entering the competition over the years and the big names not coming forward to enter? Also, one could see why a number of up and coming artist, who you would want to enter, not coming forward, because of this conflict of interest. One would think that the objective of such a competition would be to encourage and inspire artist to get involved in the arts and provide that outlet for their work to be seen.

As I recall, the previous two years, the person that won the award for the Best Sculpture also worked for the NCF, which was another case of conflict of interest. I guess that either common sense or conscience probably stop that artist from competing this year.

One has to question why the NCF would allow these persons to enter the competition. It is widely known that companies here and worldwide do not allow their employees or their families to enter any competition that they have for the general public. Right away, the other artists that are participating will feel that some form of partiality among the judges will play a part in their decisions. I am not saying that this is the case in this instance but this is Barbados and it is who you know, where you went to school, where you live, and who are your parents!

EMMERTON, The Anguished Cry of Those CHEATED in the Name of EMANCIPATION

Submitted by Ras Jahaziel

Citadelle Lafer­rire, Haiti

Citadelle Lafer­rire, Haiti

This video uses the famous song called “Emmerton” to expose the injustice of Black Emancipation, a sordid act that compensated the owners of slaves to the tune of trillions of dollars, while leaving the X-Slaves in a landless and vulnerable condition where they are forced to live from rent to rent, and forced to continue working for the same entities that captured and enslaved them.

It is the cry of a people chained in the exploiter’s trap called LANDLESS NATIONALITY.

The Rise of the Millennials – Generation Sucks …?

millennials1Have a look at this 2:17 minute video where a Millennial goes postal on her generation. Members of the older generation will agree with her view. Some will dismiss her ‘rant’ as the usual tension between generations. The flipside is that there is the danger of dismissing legitimate concerns by the millennial by dumping it all in one bucket.

Crime and Girls

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Group


Bailey Sisters                                                                                   photo credit: Barbados Today

We now seem to be concerned that our young women are active participants in dangerous criminal activity. Societies do not become submerged in deviant behavior over night, this so called new phenomenon,

has once more proven that […] Continue reading

Janice Millington Gone NOT Forgotten

music1BU received the following message from W.Gibson and have to concur there is a paucity of information to be found about Janice Millington online although there is exhaustive references to her writings to support research. For someone who made […] Continue reading

Inadequate Compensation for King and Queen

Submitted by Wayne Cadogan

Wayne Cadogan

Wayne Cadogan

On Sunday May 24th. Minister of Culture, The Honourable Stephen Lashley M.P. was on CBC TV 8 program Meet the Minister. A number of questions were posed to him by the Presenter and the public via emails. Towards the end of the program, I emailed the following question to the Minister.

[…] Continue reading

Revamping Cohobblopot

Submitted by Anthony Davis

A slap in the face of Barbadian artistes and promoters! “That’s the view of many in the entertainment industry following the announcement that Cohobblopot, a staple event on the National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF’s) Crop Over calendar, was being replaced by a private event billed “One Love”, with Trinidadian Machel Montano as the headline act. – Barbados Today 12/06/2015

Continue reading