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.

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.

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Is Crop Over … Over? Are we Beating a Dead Horse?

Submitted by Pachamama
30 years later has Crop Over become more about beads and feathers rather than cultural expression?

30 years later has Crop Over become more about beads and feathers rather than cultural expression?

More than 30 years ago Barbados sought to resurrect what we called Crop Over. It was argued then that such a festival would be good for tourism, the promotion of local cultural expressions, an aid for young people to learn local culture etc. These are all worthy, but limiting, aspirations. However, the festival has steadily been losing its essence, has been declining or failing to capture the imagination of the world. Indeed it appears that there is no more space for Crop Over to promote cultural development. This is not an exception, for cultural expression seems to have been generally arrested. It is an ‘arrested development’ where the established calypsonians, as the main force behind the festival, and who used to imbue a sense of cultural rivalry are withdrawing those energies. The replacements are not from that era and therefore represent a different interpretation of ethos. In this there is a certain monotony in the lyrics, rhythms and rhymes etc. This monotony maybe a function of inbreeding even when one recognizes cultural influences from elsewhere. The management has been beset, from nearly the beginning, with internal tensions that were never helpful for development.

Our anecdotal judgments may indeed be proved incorrect by facts on the ground, all types of studies and the general feelings of the people. But some of us no longer feel the urge to be in Barbados at Crop Over time. It no longer matters that 8 or 9 or 10 festivals could be missed in a row. The past excitement of Crop Over is no longer infectious.  We have seen festivals in Brazil a few times, Trinidad a dozens of times, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent etc and this general lethargy maybe merely a generational thing where the current group of young people find these public demonstrations of fun and frolic as irresistible as we did 30 years ago. But we tend to think not.

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Queen On the Horizon

Submitted by Old Onions Bag

…a child shall lead them…



Have you all been listening attentively to some of these calypsos coming out for Crop Over this year? If you have, then I am sure that you would agree with me. There is a most effervescent  and  future repository rising star on the horizon; a now so called ‘guardian of  calypso’ by her own making, that has easily out shone most of her seasoned contemporaries. A sizzling first timer to the adults competition, having just  achieved her elevated status from Junior Monarch. A fresh and most destined spirited lassie by the name of Aziza  that will be kicking butt this year.

I say this with no reservation having listened to both the Junior Monarch Finals and the Pic of the Crop semi finals that  given the calibre of rendition and diction exhibited by some of the juniors, they have definitely out shone their masters. The Junior Monarch show was a better place to be on the night and that is no idle boast. Why I can recall only a few seasoned  boast like Crystal Cummings-Beckles, Blood, TC Serenader, (Symphony in C minor) AC and Ian Webster that stand a chance of really pulling a rabbit out the hat on the night of the finals, now that this young lady is seemingly exploding on the airwaves and  more importantly the stage.

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Premier Event Services to Organize 2013 Cohobblopot: There Is Still Meat On the Fatted Calf!

The minister [Stephen Lashley] said for the much talked about Cohobblopot, there were two tenders for the hosting of the event, which was won by Rihanna’s Loud Concert and Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival organisers Premier Event ServicesBarbados Today

The news that the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) has awarded the right to organize Cohobblopot, one of the premier Crop Over events,  to Premier Event Services with just over one month to go  is interesting. Has anyone bothered to ask who are the directors of this company? What is their history of staging cultural shows? Is there enough time for this company to execute one of the biggest shows in Barbados? How much money is tagged to this arrangement? It is all about demonstrating transparency which is (was?) promoted by this government when it assumed office in 2008.

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Crop Over Needs a Master Plan

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think tank and Watchdog Group
Barbados Crop Over marketed as more than a carnival

Barbados Crop Over marketed as more than a carnival

The tourism industry is a sector of the leisure industry. Contrary to popular opinion, the Caribbean is not the exclusive reserve of white sands and blue waters. We were not that fortunate when the world was created. We are therefore in competition with ourselves in the Caribbean and tourists/leisure destinations worldwide.

Carnivals and festivals are also magnets for those seeking leisure. Although the Trinidad Carnival has been compared with others and some of its designers/band leaders have achieved international fame; we cannot claim it is the worldwide leader in this category. The Crop Over festival in Barbados is a major attraction for those living in the Diaspora, but it is still unclear as to the direction it is taking or being led. We can say that there has been no clear international marketing plan for Crop Over, since it was revitalized over forty years ago.

We are pursuing heritage tourism in Barbados; in Guyana attempts are being made to market their vast outdoors and eco- tourism and efforts are afoot in Dominica in similar areas. From this brief introduction, we can suggest that the entire Caribbean has a rich culture and can attract tourists and leisure seekers. The question is: Why an island such as Barbados, that had a jump start in this industry over sixty years ago, cannot or has not developed a tourism product that is attractive enough to ensure greater economic benefits.

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Concerned Creative Citizens Group Says Cultural Industries Bill Not Worthy of Passage Through Parliament

The following is a press release from The Concerned Creative Citizens Group (CCCG)

John Roett, veteran musician leads the CCCG

John Roett, veteran musician leads the CCCG

The Concerned Creative Citizens Group (CCCG) wishes to inform the public that despite a very one sided debate, the current Cultural Industries Development Bill (CIDB) is of great concern to many of the creatives of this country. Our Group comprising of 1251 members, along with many experts (both here on island and overseas) plus lauded artists in Barbados feel that the Bill in its current form is not worthy of passage in our Parliament.

Despite repeated attempts to present ways in which to make the Bill better, numerous requests to the Ministry and Minister of Culture, Public Objections to this Bill in many of the Public Town Halls and Forums, we continue to be rebuffed and ignored. We have submitted documents to the Attorney General listing our objections with the bill, carefully and meticulously pointing out the ways in which it will fail to develop the Cultural Industries in any manner whatsoever, and in an effort to maintain absolute transparency, these documents have also been discussed with the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister of Culture

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A Few Good People

Submitted by Brubaker
Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism

Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism

A photo clip on CNN during the US elections showing a little girl crying because she was sick and tired of hearing the news associated with President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney election campaigns has prompted this blog. Like the election vitriol, the incessant reactive rhetorical rantings emanating from Barbados’ sidewalk superintendents and armchair supervisors about their destination’s tourism industry have become inordinately objectionable and are turning off would be visitors.

The recent adverse comments posted by visitors in Trip Advisor about their ruined holiday experiences in the Gap also do not auger well for Barbados and further aggravate the situation. Both groups paint an unsavoury image – all is not well in Paradise, serious plant deterioration is occurring, and Barbados’ tourism continues to be like a ship in a tempus, floundering aimlessly without a rudder.

The reprehensible behaviour is causing irreparable damage to Barbados’ reputation as a holiday destination and in the long run will be extremely costly to repair. To get an impartial evaluation of the state of Barbados’ tourism industry, a consultant involved with the marketing and promotion of Caribbean tourism was interviewed and asked to give his thoughts and insight on the challenges Barbados faces for the future.

The following are his comments:

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We Have To Protect Our Children

The sights and sound…yes the pic is meant to arouse sensibilities on a Sunday morning

Barbados, like all of the other States in the Caribbean region has committed itself to protecting the rights of children through ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (C.R.C.). Integral to this collection of rights are those geared at the protection of children who are abused, neglected or at risk of harm.


The story which continues to incense sensible Barbadians of a child being abused by two adults on Kadooment Day is rapidly reaching the end of the seven day period for top billing. Director of the Child Care Board (CCB) Joan Crawford, goaded by the public outcry, is quoted in the media that the widely circulated picture will be forwarded to the Police for investigation. Implied in the action by the CCB is that there is enough evidence to support a case of child abuse.

It was interesting to listen to Joan Crawford explaining that the picture does not expose the faces of the adults in the picture therefore it will be difficult to locate the individuals. Her apologetic observation begs the question, is Miss Crawford a member of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF)? She is obligated to report the matter and let the RBPF used its sleuthing skills to locate the individuals.

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RPB Wins Number 10 But ‘Weh Dem Judges’?

Submitted by Hamilton Hill

The Bag wins number 10!

In the song “Congratulations” Adonijah makes the bold claim that the NCF picks judges who are blind. Since I know three of those that sat last evening, I can say to Ado, yah lie. Let me forget Ado for a sec and turn to the powers that be at the Normally Controversial Festival. How do you move the show to the gym and not tell the judges? We now know that they were at Kensington. Is what wrong wid all yah?

I confess that I saw the show through the trusted eyes of the Starcom team, and as a big time Bag fan I am happier this morning than Owen was when Mia agreed to fall in line. I am as happy as I am dumbfounded that Gabby came third. Gabby did not beat AC. Nor did he beat Popsicle, Chrystal, nor Adonijah, all of whom also kicked Ian Webster’s ass.

A sense of euphoria filled my soul when it dawned on me that the gift wrapped toilet-tissue was finally outta here. If in the final tabulation the last song performed  brings up the rear of the pack, nuf nuf people would be mocking Gabby and singing the one line that made any sense from the nonsense he sang in the first half. “Oh God”. With the judges at de oval while the show was at de gym perhaps even De Announcer beat poor Chrystal Cummings-Beckles.

Thank You Red Plastic Bag

Red Plastic Bag

Red Plastic Bag recently celebrated his 51st birthday and it reminded the BU household how much we admire all he has achieved over a 30 year period. He is a Calysonian who turned ‘professional’ and has been able to make a success of it. No easy task. His brand is well known locally and he has achieved some success outside of Barbados.

What has truly endeared The Bag to many has not only been his commitment to producing good music over a 30 year stretch. It has also been his deportment. We observe how prevalent it is for performers to exploit the demand for smut to gain popularity. Red Plastic Bag has achieved success by adhering to a standard which embodies traditional Bajan values.  He has never deviated from it. The fact he has not made Rihanna millions does not change the fact that he is a success. Thankfully some of us still believe that success is not defined by money.

One of the unfortunate outcomes of Crop Over competitions – which Bag has dominated  – has been how it has negatively shaped public opinion and coloured how many view his achievements. Through it all RPB has practiced his profession in a manner which makes all right thinking Barbadians proud of his achievements.

On behalf of the BU household we wish to congratulate Red Plastic Bag.

Rest in Peace Julian

Submitted by Caswell Franklyn

The late Julian Albert Marryshow – click image to offer condolences.

A notice in the obituaries of the Midweek Nation of July 25, 2012 informed us of the passing of Julian Albert Marryshow on July 17, 2012, and further that he was cremated in a private ceremony a week later on July 24th. I am sure that his quiet departure from the scene was done in accordance with his wishes. After all, he was not one to crave the limelight or even claim the accolades that were rightly his.

By now many would be asking, Julian Who? The answer to that will not redound to who we are as Barbadians. It is a carefully kept secret that he was the man who was responsible for the introduction of our Crop Over Festival. The xenophobic revisionist among us would want to exclude his pioneering role in the development of something that is considered to be an integral part of our Barbadian culture from History. My understanding is that he drew his first breath in Grenada which to some is all that is needed to exclude him from his rightful place in History.

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Crop Over Costumes Cost Too Much

Submitted by Old Onions Bag

Barbados Superstar Rihanna ‘jumped’ in 2011

What you pay for, is what you get?
As promised I said I was going to write this one…a no brainer. Last price obtained for a band costume et al was $ 5oo flat…Horse shoed for real for that green. But has one ever wondered or done the calculations on this ask. What are you getting for your hard earned cash?

What you can see upfront of course….(no pun here) a lil pantsy and bra-D covered with beads and feathers from Samaroo’s here or in T&T..(either case forex outbound) cost of materials and time..give it $100 max. $120 if elaborate head gear. What else? Why there is security, $10, Admin $10,drinks $50,Food $20,Band party $ 25 and we being generous here.
How much that is let’s see…I make that $215- $235. Hmmm…nice bottom line of $285 per reveller. For a band of 2000 revellers , a nice profit of $570,000. Not bad for a budding entrepreneur planning to work three months a year.

But not being officious, people have been loving what they have been getting for years. Last reports the whole Sha Bangle is said to rake in $100 Million in economic activity….so who gives a care?

After all, the people do need to unwind and thereby releasing all pressures,so what if a few “blenzas” with it as well…… Long Live Crop Over!