Debate on the Cultural Industries Development Bill 2013 BEGINS

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley took about 3 hours to introduce the Cultural Industries Development Bill 2013 to parliament today (15/10/2013). BU is happy the government recognizes the opportunity which the cultural industries sector offers. What we are not happy about is that key concerns which were highlighted by the Concerned Creative Citizens Group (CCCG) have not been included in the bill introduced. At the top of the list is the Idi Amin authority which any Minister of culture will have under the proposed bill.  What was downright egregious was the minister’s unwillingness to acknowledge the significant work done by the CCCG providing feedback on the draft bill in his three hour introduction.

Hope springs eternal and we are hopeful that it is not too late to incorporate constructive suggestions. BU takes this opportunity to congratulate Andrea King who has been appointed to the position of Film Commissioner.

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Stop the Filth, Protect the Vagina

Daggering Jamaican style

Daggering Jamaican style

There is a very disturbing trend which is gathering momentum in Barbados. If BU were to follow our sense of where it has its origin, all indicators point to Jamaica.

There must be a good reason why the Creator designed a woman’s vagina to be secreted away behind the protective lips of the vulva with additional protection between the legs. It seems the height of ignorance that any ‘woman’ would want to bend over (6:30 or not), to expose her vagina to violent humping – usually administered by a but not always the case.

BU agrees with those who believe that the wholesale adoption by Barbadian youth mostly of this silly and irrelevant sub culture, reflects poorly on our ability to effectively educate our young people. Why would any man want to bang that part of the woman’s ‘sweet spot’? In the name of freedom of expression it seems we are clueless as a society about how to arrest the rising popularity of this base behaviour. BU believes when the Democratic Labour Party government essays that it wants to build a society, curbing the unholy practice of bumping an unprotected vagina MUST be treated as abuse of a high priority. We must protect the ignorant from themselves.

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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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Cultural Norms and Development

Submitted by The Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
There is a need to align cultural norms with development.

There is a need to align cultural norms with development.

It is now obvious that there is a cultural hurdle to overcome if the Caribbean is to move forward. So often we have restricted our discussion of culture to the entertainment or superficial level that we fail to recognize and understand that the economy itself is cultural in nature. In other words the cultural norms of a society have a direct effect on all the factors that contribute to the economy.

One of our greatest cultural problems is our approach to time. Buses run late, we get to work late and then we realise that thousands of man hours are lost because of this simple fact. Without a proper public transport system, it is virtually impossible to improve productivity. Hence, those who live in societies where things “run” on time, immediately realise the importance of organising their business in order to catch the train or bus that they need to get to a particular point. The result is that time is not lost and productivity is less threatened.

We all recall when we used to get days off to attend test cricket! Nothing wrong with supporting our cricketers, but in those days during five day tests, the entire Caribbean came to a standstill. It was just the way we did things. Little did we realize the negative results of being five days behind our business while we enjoyed our cricket? We also enjoyed shopping days for Christmas. Imagine getting time off at the peak period of commercial activity.

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Barbados Landship to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

Barbados Landship

Barbados Landship

We are inviting your establishment to attend a press launch on Tuesday 23rd July 2013 at the Dock, Licorish Village, My Lord’s Hill, St. Michael at 10:00a.m. which will include a statement from the Landship about its present and future in the development of Barbados. Coordinators of the events for the 150th Anniversary will announce these and answer any queries and Members of the 150th Anniversary Committee will be in attendance.

Read full statement

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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A Game Changer: The Cultural Industries Bill

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture and Sports

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture and Sports

It was interesting to note Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson’s perspective in the news last week about the importance of forging the creative/cultural industries and sport. She asserted that “these sectors have the potential to be important drivers of economic development.” Bear in mind Jamaica is light years ahead of all the countries in the Caribbean as far as leveraging theses two sectors. It is also noteworthy that Prime Minister Portia Simpson has responsibility for sports supported by a Junior Minister.

To Barbados’ credit we were informed in the lead up to the 2013 General Election that the Cabinet of Barbados approved the Cultural Industries Bill (CIB).  It has been reported that the CIB will be one of the early bills to be read in parliament. It took five years to complete the consultative and drafting process and many of the stakeholders in the Arts sector now eagerly look forward to its implementation. However, others have reviewed the final draft and remain doubtful that it has the ‘meet’ to nurture and grow our nascent cultural industries.

One needs to go no further than page 8 of the CIB, “approved producer of audio-visual content means a film production company incorporated under the Companies Act…that is controlled by a resident of Barbados”. Does anyone believe any reputable film company is going to make films in Barbados with this precondition? What about non-Bajans who are resident in Barbados?

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Concerned Creative Citizens Group Waiting …

It is no secret that BU is very interested in Sports and Culture as a means to express their most unique talents and the economic benefit likely to accrue to individuals and country. The Sports and Cultural communities have been kicked about like the proverbial football for years by successive governments. It is time for it to stop.

The following was extracted from the Concerned Creative Citizens Group Facebook page. The images have been provided compliments of the indefatigable Rosemary Parkinson.

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A Response To Concerned Creative Citizens Of Barbados

BU received the following from a member of the BU family as a response to the submission from  A Concerned Creative Citizens Group Not Happy About The Proposed Cultural Industries Bill.

Alison Sealy-Smith, Senior Business, NCF  in contention for CEO position

It is all very well to talk blithely about an “association” of artists and how it is to be non-governmental. But to leave it like that on the part of this group of concerned creatives is, frankly, completely inadequate.

Yes, I agree that if there is to be a serious arts and culture industry, there has to be an association, a non-government association acting as a union, of artists. That is an essential first step. If you take on board that all arts and culture starts (and ends) with the artists and creatives, then you must know that, without them, there is no “product” for the “entrepreneurs” to market and make a fortune on, while handing back a bare pittance to the artists and creatives. And the “entrepreneurs” have carefully brainwashed creatives into thinking that they are doing the creatives a favour, so that creatives are completely happy to peddle into Bridgetown on their bikes and tug their forelocks as the “entrepreneurs” pass in their new BMWs. A century ago, this was the case in the USA – and 90 years ago, it ceased to be the case. So, let us look at the history of trades union and guilds in the arts in other countries and see if there is a parallel to be found to Barbados.

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A Concerned Creative Citizens Group Not Happy About The Proposed Cultural Industries Bill

Submitted by the Concerned Citizens Group

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

We are a group of creative Barbadians called the Concerned Creative Citizens Group. This group, made up of key members from various disciplines of our cultural community, was formed out of immense concern over the contents of the Cultural Industries Bill, which was being circulated by the Ministry of Culture a few months ago, with the intention of having it passed as a legal document. Our members are well versed in all aspects of culture and we went over the proposed Bill with a fine toothed comb, our efforts culminating with our recommendations being formally presented to the Ministry and addressed to Minister Stephen Lashley on April 30th 2012, via a hand delivered letter which outlined both the good points contained in the Bill as well as the serious flaws it possessed which we felt needed to be addressed.

Personal correspondence was then communicated between Minister Lashley and the group on several occasions, with one such letter assuring us that all submissions were being considered regarding proposed amendments to the Bill. A meeting was set up to discuss these proposed amendments between consultant representative of the Ministry of Culture Ms Andrea King and members of our group, which was also attended by UNESCO consultant Andrew Senior, who was purportedly hired by the Ministry of Culture to help with the Culture Industries Bill. At this meeting we were informed categorically by Mr. Senior that he was not involved in amendments to the Bill but was hired to advise government on ‘entrepreneurship’ in the culture industry of the island. We were, however, made more aware of the real purpose of the Bill, which we found appeared to have a high level of the principles of entrepreneurship at its core, and in our view was more focused on turning the cultural industries into a revenue earner for Government, and very much less on the inherent gains which should be derived from the Bill to the benefit of all creative practitioners in our country.

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All This Talk About Culture and What?

The Telegraph article highlighted the EU Office in Barbados

… £1.8million has been handed to the Caribbean island of Barbados to build a hotel and leisure complex where 200 youngsters will be trained each year in hospitality management. The revelations will intensify the row over the UK’s bloated aid budget, which will soon take up 0.7 per cent of our GDP at a time when vital public services are being pared to the bone…

In terms of GDP per capita, Barbados is wealthier than Portugal, Croatia and Hungary.  But the EU has spent millions of pounds on the Hotel PomMarine complex, plus a forensic science laboratory, a language centre and support for the nation’s financial sector.

Mail Online (Daniel Martin)

The excerpt formed the  lead stories in two of the United Kingdom’s leading dailies this week, the Mail Online and The Telegraph. One would never guess though if a half interested Barbadian scanned the local media.

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Developing Sports and Culture, the Way Forward

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Sports and Culture

Currently, the sports and culture ministries fall under the same minister. In the minds of most Barbadians these two ministries rank poorly when compared to finance, economic affairs, health, education and foreign affairs. This is unfortunate, the ability of Barbados to sustain a lifestyle anchored in consumption requires a never ending quest to be competitive by fully developing all of our productive sectors.

The current reality which sees Barbados totally reliant on tourism in 2012 sums it up. On this note BU restates its support for Trevor Browne and Craig Archer who have taken on the Herculean task to oust the ensconced Steve Stoute and Erskine Simmons. And also call on Erskine ‘Boozer’ King, head of the national sports council, to step aside. With a new leadership in position at two of our critical sports authorities there is hope that a new dispensation will breed success.

Despite half billion investment in ‘traditional’ education annually by successive governments the potential of sports and culture remains hidden in the rough. An example of how serious we are about culture and how we treat with stakeholders in this sector can be seen in the initiative to find a solution for the restoration of the Empire theatre. One year later, nothing.

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The Stephen Lashley Plan To Build Out a Cultural Industry

Andrew Senior

Barbados will host this year’s XV Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic 2012) from October 1 to 3, marking the first time ever that the event will be held in an English-speaking Caribbean country. More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend Foromic, which this year will focus on innovative ways to unlock entrepreneurship.


The news that Barbados will host this major event is good news. Up to now entrepreneurship has been a buzz word with little evidence that it has taken root in Barbados. We wish the organizers success and hope the stated objectives are achieved. Given the shift in the global economy post 2008 it must be evident that a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship will have to increase the contribution it is making to the local economy.

It is not widely known that the government of Barbados has contracted a consultant by the name of Andrew Senior to advise on the building out of the mooted ‘Cultural Industry’. Reasonable people appreciate the complexity of growing a culture industry, and the decision by Minister Stephen Lashley and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to request technical assistance from UNESCO and the EU  by contracting  Senior seems reasonable; on the surface.

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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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The Neglected Space At Rock Hall

Submitted by Rosemary Parkinson

Standford C. Haynes creator of the Rock Hall statue

Saturday 11th August I happened to swerve into a gap off a main road in St. Thomas, just by chance…’twas a dead end…but…what I saw shocked the life outta me. A most amazing piece of work stood tall into the skies literally in the middle of nowhere. As I drew near I realized it was a statue of a man, woman and child with arms outstretched as if touching the heavens. I was totally taken aback. What was this gorgeous piece of work all about? On approaching…the first thing I noticed was the dilapidated state of this monument, its surroundings and its plaques…there were several. I managed to read one of them. Rock Hall was the area, Cynthia Forde (previous government) unveiled same, one Standford C. Haynes was the creator, it was bronzed in the UK. The plaque did not say whether Mr. Haynes was a Barbadian but with this name, I assumed he would be. And even if not, who cares. The images are simply stunning.

But here comes the sadness. They are in desperate need of a cleaning…I ent seh scrubbing dong…just a little cleaning. There are no benches or seating arrangements of any kind to be had for those who might like to relax and admire this work of art. I looked around and although there was a lovely green pasture, there was no sign that said I could picnic there if I wanted. Actually it looked like private property with some cows grazing and a lovely backyard garden…but for sure such a simple thing as a few little picnic tables would have been nice.

As I looked around, I came across two more plaques under some overhanging bush. One gave names of free slaves and the other (both sadly needing some repair) said the following:

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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.

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!

Time To Go 95% LOCAL Music!

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

A few weeks ago while listening to the highly entertaining and informative Fireworks Show on VOB radio, kudos to Dennis Johnson and Carol Roberts (in the PM), Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley called the program.  During his contribution he voiced his displeasure at the low level of local music being played by local radio stations. BU is onside with the minister, we definitely need to make some ‘earth moving’ decisions about how we leverage the power of the airwaves to kickstart a revolution in local music which continues to endure labour pains.

It boggles the mind why a minister of government in 2012 should have to plead for Disc Jocks et al to play more local music for several reasons. The two reasons at the top of the BU pile:

It is approaching near 40 years since Crop Over was restarted and synonymous with the festival is the making of music, usually calypso. Through the years local entertainers have produced some wonderful music which to this day continues to thrill the locals and others abroad. BU conservatively estimate if we have produced 250 songs in the near 40 year period there is a calypso/soca repository of songs of about 9000+. Perhaps Dennis Johnson can tell us if this is not sufficient music to adequately fill  the airwaves should we decide to make the push to GO 95% LOCAL. Imagine our horror to listen to the government owned station pushing hip hop two weeks ago by none other than Admiral who should know better!

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Notes From a Native Son – Creating Cultural Industries that are Relevant to the People

Hal Austin

This government is trapped like a rabbit in headlights when it comes to formulating a cultural policy, if the so-called cultural industries bill is meant to be its calling card. I won’t be too hard on them, since the previous government spent 14 years in office and also failed to come up. But that is history.

In simple terms, national culture is the nation speaking to itself; whether it be fine or performing arts, music, food, literature or any of the other facets of culture. This, somehow, has been lost on the prime minister who recently made rather disparaging remarks about literature and his parliamentary colleagues’ (for that see nation) ability to absorb high art.

Devising a Policy:
We already have two powerful cultural vehicles which should be driving out cultural policy. CBC, which for some reason a number of business people want to get their hands on, and the National Cultural Foundation, should work in tandem to drive forward policy. The problem is that there is no policy for the two bodies to champion; on culture, as in most other things, government has run out of ideas.

However, if we were to look at the key aspects of cultural policy, all the building blocks are there: literature, fine arts, sports, food, performing arts, etc. As a small island, we have produced some outstanding writers and at least one world-class poet.

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Minister Stephen Lashley, Knock Knock

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot – Mark Twain

The government is on a tight timetable to enact several pieces of legislation before parliament has to be dissolved before the next general election. A peek at the Order Paper of the House of Assembly for next Tuesday’s sitting announces a number of bills, among them the long awaited Prevention of Corruption Bill 2010 which was sent to a Joint Committee in July 2011. Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart has promised the country his government still has work to do, which confirms the belief in many quarters that Stuart may become the first Prime Minister to go the extra time which the constitution affords before calling the next general election.

While many Barbadians agree that our legislative framework needs to be strengthened to efficiently guide how we order our society. The process of enacting such legislation – to be effective – must encourage wide collaboration with stakeholders and facilitate rigorous debate to ensure there is fit for purpose. BU does not want to believe that in the government’s haste to enact legislation, the quality of the effort is compromised at the altar of political expediency.

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The Cultural Industries Bill Too Important To Be Hijacked By a Few With Agendas

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart - another matter which the PM needs to get involved.

This blog was compiled with the assistance of  a prominence industry professional currently based overseas.

The Hollywood Reporter, the bible of film and TV production in the World’s largest and most successful film production centre, reported on March 24, 2011 on the negative effect tax cuts will have on the Canadian Province of New Brunswick’s film. An extract from the report suggests that, “There will be more than 30 companies here that will be affected. Most will be forced to move to other provinces that support media and they will bring their productions with them,”  Maurice Aubin, president of Media NB and director of Mozus Productions said. Canadian provinces like British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec in the last two years have managed to woo Los Angeles producers by juicing their film tax credits as debt-laden U.S. states like New York, Michigan and New Jersey either reduce or scrap their Hollywood tax breaks.

The report goes on to refer to the amount in tax revenue lost to New Brunswick due to the tax breaks. What is kept under a veil of secrecy is the amount of tax that is actually paid in connection with these ventures, tax that will no longer accrue to New Brunswick, but instead will now benefit the respective treasuries of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

The report continues, “New Brunswick’s film tax credit cost the province $4.4 million in 2008-09, and $3.3 million in 2009-10. The Atlantic province has paid out $2.7 million to film and TV producers in the current fiscal year, and aims to phase the production tax break out in 2011-2012.” Which would mean that instead of receiving 0% tax on $0, New Brunswick is concerned that instead of receiving $10 million, it only received $6 million. Therefore, instead of receiving $6 million, it is prepared to receive nothing and let that $6 million go to the other provinces.

What has that got to do with Barbados, you ask?

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The Draft Cultural Industries Bill Needs To Be Widely Debated

There is a meeting scheduled for Thursday 5 April 2012 at 6PM. All those interested should visit the Empire Strikes Back Facebook Page and get involved..

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

During Budget 2011 the government promised to debate the Cultural Industries Bill (CIB) in parliament towards the end of that financial year. It is rapidly approaching the end of March 2012 and the revised date for debating this Bill is now slated for May according to a BU source. At face value many are happy that focus will be brought to a sector which has been neglected by successive governments. This is despite the potential of the sector for Barbadians to grow and promote cultural expression. BU is reminded that in Budget 2011 mention was made of of the government’s intention to guarantee a “special purpose vehicle, a facility to provide for the borrowing of $50 million dollars in amounts of $10 million every year for the next five years starting in 2012 to support this mechanism.” Obviously it makes no sense to float the bond issue before the CIB is enacted.

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Au revoir

Submitted by islandgal246

The Caribbean has lost another music Icon.  Jeff Joseph known for his intoxicating  music  cadence-lypso in the local Creole. I remember visiting Martinique and Guadeloupe  many years ago and dancing to the rhythmic beat of Grammacks.  His music will live on forever and condolences to his family. Au revoir Jeff,  Bon Voyage et Beaux Reves.

The Empire Strikes Back II, The Big Picture

The most effective way of using the Empire as an arts venue is to have it run under the auspices of the Central Bank management who currently administer  the Frank Collymore Hall (FCH). In this way, the administration is minimized with both operating under the same management team. We have to approach the task at hand in a holistic way, it is the only way, it is the only way.

While the Empire would run as a performing arts venue solely, the FCH ought to be marketed for business meetings, equipped with the latest in teleconferencing services, presentations, recordings,  other ancillary services and of course serve as a performing arts venue. The FCH has limited wing space, no fly space, a shallow stage and no orchestra pit and its seating is small. To put in an orchestra pit would mean sacrificing about 100 to 150 seats and the expense of excavation to access the pit by underground  would take it out of use for a long period of time.

The work begins with the need to build competitive packages to attract record companies that meet or undercut other international studios. This would include a cooperative effort by local stakeholders; the waiving of taxes on equipment brought in by recording companies by government and the like.

Then, there needs to be a major marketing push, Barbados, because of Rihanna has become a top of the mind name across the globe, we are ideally placed to be able to approach prominent names in the business. People like Simon Cowell, Mick Jagger  and L.A. Read to name three. If we build it, they will come because Barbados is not unfamiliar, these people have become known faces on the West Coast of Barbados over the years.

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Paying Lip Service To Culture

After the euphoria of making UNESCO’s World Heritage List the job – we are told – begins to sensitize Barbadians to protect the few buildings and spaces of cultural significance we have left in and around Bridgetown. An educated and enlightened Barbadian should possess an innate desire to safeguard our culture, to ensure who we were is passed on to our children and our children’s children. Wouldn’t this knowledge transfer serve to give truth to the cliché, ‘if you don’t know where you came from, you sure as hell will experience a problem plotting a forward course’.

Sadly there is the truth that Barbadians pay lip service to matters of culture. An example is the Crop Over Festival which was born out of a celebration of the harvesting of the sugarcane and has now been relegated to a beads, feathers and wuk-up affair. The cultural dimension has been prostituted on the altar of economic expediency. Continue reading

Where Is Barbados Gine?

By Baba Elombe Mottley

I have been following with fascination a debate on the internet about what direction Barbados’ budget should take.  I am taken by the wide range of people who are involved in the debate passively as adjunct recipients and actively (like myself) as commentators. What comes across are the various traditional alternatives on how government should divide up a shrinking pie in what appears to be crisis oriented with no consensus as to where we are going.  I am not an economist but I would like to raise one or two points which I think should be considered, valued and included in a budget to start the process of change.

WiFi-ing Bridgetown is one, but here is the problem – the level of awareness of politicians and civil servants and their unwillingness to seek advice on suggestions etc. The developer of the London Eye visited Barbados about ten years ago and when he found out that Barbados did not have Wi-Fi, he offered to construct the system.  The Barbados government – the politicians and their civil servants – refused.

About a hundred years ago, Barbados was at the crossroads between Europe and South America and as a result it was able to develop its nascent tourism with stop-over visitors from both of those continents.  The Panama Canal construction relieved us of a large portion of our population and in turn pumped considerable funds into the economy to raise the standard of living of thousands of Bajans. The sugar industry was still able to generate most of our foreign exchange.

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Are Barbadians Educated Fools?

…take health care for instance. We are educated to believe that doctors and prescribed medication help us to get well. Billions of dollars go into this industry. In many cases ailments can a be avoided through diet and lifestyle and there are powerful medicinal properties in substances that are deemed illegal by our lawmakers. We are educated to believe there is no cure for cancer, and will (like a religious zealot) feel that anyone that claims otherwise is a madman … Maat

According to that ubiquitous source Wikipedia, “education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.”

The above extracts are instructive in the context of the current debate on whether the government is getting value for money given the significant investment it continues to pump into tertiary education. Some like Professor Michael Howard are of the view that we must be cognizant of the harsh economic conditions, a key consideration in the amount government should transfer to the UWI, Cave Hill. Others believe education must be supported at ‘all cost’ if we are to enable our people to compete on a global scale.

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Fighting The Fight Against The Corruption Of Public Morals

CEO Senator Santia Bradshaw of Pyramid and Barbados Labour Party candidate for St. Michael South East (

Sometimes the most optimistic person in this world is forced to hang their heads and cry shame. Listen to the audio of one of the most popular artists in Barbados. Although recently fired by Voice of Barbados (VOB) he had no difficulty getting back on the airwaves compliments of SLAM 101.1. He is everywhere, on the ZRs, in the dancehalls, the calypso tents, on facebook, dub fetes, he is ubiquitous. He has a loyal fan club mainly comprised of our young minds.

What does he have going for him? He is a member of the Pyramid stable of artists managed by budding politician Senator Santia Bradshaw.

BU family you be the judge. Is he entitled to unbridled freedom of expression under the cloak of freedom of expression? How should we view the role of CEO Senator Santia Bradshaw of Pyramid and Barbados Labour Party candidate for St. Michael South East in this matter. Do we have a case of an artist corrupting public morals?

What can we say? What are we to do?


Popular Culture And Scientifically Cultivated Ignorance

Submitted by Ras Jahaziel


The British explorer, H.M. Stanley was enthralled by the economic prospects Africa had for his country:

He is reported to have said “There are 50 million people beyond the gateway to Congo, and the spinners of Manchester are waiting to clothe them. Birmingham foundries are glowing with red metals that will presently be made into iron-work for them so that our trinkets shall soon adorn those dusty bosoms, and the ministers of Christ are zealous to bring the poor benighted heathens into the Christian fold”

– (H. M. Stanley, Journalist and Explorer)


In the above statement it is clear that Slave dealers were not only interested in slave labor, but they also saw Africans as a potential MARKET…. if their wants and desires could be effectively re-arranged. From out of this mercantile desire on the part of Slave dealers sprung a billion dollar industry to manufacture a product called POPULAR CULTURE.

This re-arrangement of the African’s taste buds has been so successful that today the African’s head is stuck in a Macdonald’s box…figuratively and literally. The African is COLLARED AND TIED in the European STRAIGHT JACKET…figuratively and literally. So too are dogs and cats and all domesticated creatures captivated by their taste buds and by their bellies. Just as destructive as the military force that was used to capture the African is the insidious manipulation of popular culture to capture the soul of the African.

CAPTIVATION of a people’s taste buds, CAPTIVATION of their wants, CAPTIVATION of their idea of beauty, CAPTIVATION of their idea of God equals CAPTIVATION OF THEIR MINDS.

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Barbados Confronting An Identity Crisis

But quite apart from his immediate political and economic agenda, the Prime Minister (Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart) is concerned about the general direction in which the country seems to be headed. In an exclusive SUNDAY SUN interview this week, Stuart, 59, pointed to falling national standards while using excellence as his benchmark for performance. The Prime Minister is equally troubled by an attitude of “instant success” most pervasive among the youth in a “press button age”  – Nation Newspaper


Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart’s statement is insightful. Its relevance in the month of November should be taken advantage of by stakeholders to collaborate an set the agenda for the kind of society we want to build. In recent weeks there has been the debate whether as a country we should be focussed on building a strong economy at the expense of a society. Although there is merit in the concept, its genesis seems to be compromised by the public perception of the government trying to gain political advantage.

It appears from observation our success as an independent nation is now defined as the number of cars parked in the driveway, the number of trips taken overseas, the number of KFCs, Subways and other foreign brands which populate our landscape, you get the idea. Most disappointing is the  surrender of the NOW generation to embrace anything that is foreign. Perhaps we need to blame the parents. On the current path by the time we celebrate 50 years of Independence it will probably be regarded as purely ceremonial, devoid of emotional attachment to ‘yella, blue’ and any idea of self-determination.

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Multiculturalism: Maelstrom And A Collision Of Cultures Or A Possible Cohesion Of Separate Ethnic Identities

Submitted by Yardbroom


German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel the German Chancellor recently said: ” Multiculturalism has “failed utterly” in Germany, she further elaborated. . . ” we kidded ourselves for a while that they – immigrants – wouldn’t stay, but that’s not the reality”.  If Angela Merkel’s views are in tune with her electorate’s, it demonstrates that it was never Germany’s intention for immigrants to take up permanent residence in their country.

A case is often made of the economic benefits immigrants bring to their host country; but economic integration of immigrants does not nullify the separate requirement, inherent in some immigrant’s religion, which appears if only on the surface, to them not fully participating in activities or practices, which have made the host country economically successful.

In Europe attitudes have hardened in recent years towards immigrants, this has been caused by the perception, that some of the Muslim faith, have not as vociferously as thought prudent distanced themselves from terrorist sympathies.  It is so obvious that “all Muslims” are not sympathetic to terrorists that it is not worth saying.  However, in the early years of terrorist activity in Europe “some” Muslims sought to justify such activity by the West’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and their failure to solve the Palestinian problem, by putting economic pressure on Israel.

It is difficult for the inhabitants of countries like the UK, to understand how groups of young Muslims, born in the UK, could openly state that their sons/daughters serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan deserve to be killed.  This is challenging for UK residents to accept, particularly when the young Muslims live in the same town and may even be their neighbours.

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African Benefits In The Works

Here is what Kammie Holder is writing elsewhere – Credit to Nation Newspaper 03/09/2010

Kammie Holder

I am sitting in a restaurant at the Golden Tulip Hotel Kumasi, Ghana which is managed by Barbadian Stephen Husbands. The serene ambiance places me in a transcendental frame of mind.

The last 15 days have seen me traverse the Sahara desert and driving on a well paved highway 272kms long. Yes, in Africa. My journey of adventure and work has not been without pain and tears, the visit to Elmina Castle on the Cape Coast brought me to tears.

Every citizen of the African diaspora should visit the birthplace of his ancestry. For two long, we have been miseducated and our thoughts of Africa poisoned by those who would want to believe the worst of Africa.

Fellow citizens of the diaspora never blindly believe what you hear from the biased eyes of those with hidden agendas. Africa and Ghana is a land of many opportunities. What pains me is the ingratitude and appreciation of many Barbadians for the many social services and opportunities available. Bajans seem to be caught in a whirlwind of envy, deceit, selfishness, laziness and greed, to the detriment of the country’s development.

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Guh Down, Guh Down, Down De Toilet – The Chicks Are Coming Home To Roost

The video like many is being circulated on Facebook and captures some of our young children dancing to the popular Lil Rick song Guh Down. BU notes that there are adults in the thick of things. In the words given currency by Fred R. Barnard, a picture is worth a thousand words.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things – King James Bible

Should The Barbados Board of Tourism Lead The Way In The Revival Of Our Crop Over Festival?

Submitted by People’s Democratic Congress (PDC)

Another Crop Over Festival in Barbados has ended, with entertainer  Blood capturing the Road March title from other contenders with the song “Foot on Fire”. And truth be told, had NOT for its own capacity to be made so intensely commercially viable but so wretchedly politically exploitable by a few power-hungry money-grubbing people, this Crop Over Festival would have long gone by the way side like it previously did.

But, like the wider society, polity, and so-called economy in Barbados, this really little, cultural extravaganza, a micro-cosm, is being used by many elites/government functionaries for the primary purposes of aiding in the elite/state political exploitation of the masses and middle classes by ideological financial cultural imperialist means.

So, while there is no longer – as it really was – during the old Barbadian plantation enslavement society  – the burning of “Mr. Harding” to signal the ending of Crop Over festivities and the beginning of “hard times” in between the Crop Seasons then, and while there is no longer in today’s post-independence Barbadian society too – but quite regrettably however – the burning of Mr. Harding to signify the end of the modern day Crop Over Festival, it can be safely argued by the People’s Democratic Congress (PDC) that long since those days when the Crop Over Festival was revived by the Barbados Board of Tourism in 1974, to principally woo more tourists to the island during the so-called summer season in Barbados, following its demise in the 1940s owing to the continuing decline in the importance of the sugar industry to the Barbados economy, there would have been many fundamentally wrong and senseless decisions and policies linking the Crop Over Festival more and more to local Tourism,
a very fickle, culturally destructive industry, to increase its commercial income generating potential.

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Altercation Between 2010 Calypso King Mighty Gabby And Tony ‘Admiral’ Nelson Backstage Cohobblopot Show

Mighty Gabby, Calypso King

Tony 'Admiral' Nelson

At a time when the country is struggling with indiscipline, the gun incident between Minister David Estwick and former Attorney General in the highest court of the land would not have helped. This matter remains outstanding several months after the incident occurred. The latest is that the matter has been referred to the Committee of Privileges by the Speaker of the House. Yet another matter buried to fade with time by our politicians.

Late late night the news broke that the 2010 Calypso King of Barbados was engaged in an altercation with CBC Radio Personality Tony ‘Admiral’ Nelson backstage at Cohobblopot, Kensington Oval. It seemed inevitable that something would snap among Crop Over stakeholders after the booing incident at Bushy Park last weekend. The crowd showed its displeasure at Terencia ‘TC’ Coward being declared one of the winners.  TC reacted in an unprecedented manner by forfeiting her right to participate in the face off with Anderson ‘Blood’ Anderson giving up her chance to win a car!

Pictures (only) compliments of Peter Boyce’s Facebook page.

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Adults Wearing School Uniforms To Crop Over Parties, Are They Also Supporting The Alumni And Parent Teachers Associations?

Joy Workman and Eudine Barriteau (right), deputy principal of the University of the West Indies - Photo Credit Nation Newspaper

The 2010 Crop Over Festival is about to reach its climax. Tonight will see the staging of Cohobblopot which is being promoted with all local performers; a departure from the past two years. Tomorrow the masqueraders will take to the road to jump on Kadooment Day on a new route which has generated the usual controversy among the band leaders. All in all the NCF directorate seems to be happy with how the festival has gone so far. Not sure the criteria which is being used.

Before the festival closes we want to share our opinion on the growing popularity by adults to wearing their school uniforms to Crop Over fetes. The fetes are openly promoted as ‘Back to School Fetes’, to be admitted a school uniform must* be worn. There was one such fete a couple weeks ago by Power X 4 which attracted thousands of party people and the police had to stop the fete for security reasons. If Barbadians did not have an opinion on the matter the outspoken Minister of Education Ronald Jones provoked many given his position on the matter.

“. . . Because of the profound respect I had for the uniform of my school, I am not wearing that to any fete, before school, after school, or even during school, especially during vacation; unless it was a special programme organised by my school where you ask the students to turn up in their uniforms.

“How far we have drifted. The kind of respect we hold to certain symbols that give us authority, that give us presence in our schools. There are so many things that people can do to enjoy themselves. I want them to leave the uniforms alone. I want them to leave the uniforms for the symbols of the schools,” Jones said” – Nation Newspaper.

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Squeezing The Culture Out Of Crop Over

BU has stepped out of our comfort area a few times to comment on our premier festival, Crop Over. It is a festival which has morphed from a cultural expression of a people to a wukup, mash up, drink up party. The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) appears to have lost control of the festival.

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Sing Mr. Calypsonian, Sing!!

Hartley Henry - DLP Political Strategist

“Boy, I hear Colin Spencer putting some blows in wunnah this year”. That was the refrain of the self declared independent commentator, whom I know to be an ardent supporter and financier of ‘the other side’.

He was thrilled that a known supporter, indeed a former candidate of the ruling Democratic Labour Party, had penned and was actually singing a song he, the observer, deemed critical of the government. As for me, I had not heard the tune. Indeed, in this, the third week of June, I have not heard many of the tunes for the 2010 season, but I guess that has to do more with my listening to the wrong stations. My daughter tells me I ‘have to get with it’, as there is much more to radio in Barbados than VOB and CBC. Truth to tell, I hardly turn my dial away from those two flagship stations; so that which is not played on either is not likely to be heard by me, unless someone calls and says ‘turn to so and so and listen’.

So I was not alarmed and still am not fazed by the fear of what could be contained in Colin’s song. I know Colin Spencer! He is a man of immense character and integrity and therefore he cannot be bought out or bought into. I have not heard the song, but I am sure it is solid social commentary, the likes for which genuine kaiso lovers yearn.

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Knowing Right From Wrong


Last weekend the sporting world witnessed a fairy tale ending to a fabulous story when Phil Mickelson won his third green jacket at the Masters Golf Tournament held in Augusta, Georgia. During an emotional victory speech, Mickelson spoke to the challenges his family has had to overcome for the last year. His wife Amy has had to endure chemotherapy as she continues to battle the big C, along with his mother.

On the flipside Tiger Woods had hoped to win his fifth green jacket after returning from a five month self-imposed exile. Lest we forget Tiger ran away from the game after his adulterous exploits were laid bare for the world to stare.  In one week which the world will never forget the pristine image of the once revered Tiger Woods vanished in the twinkling of an eye. When the final golf stroke was struck at Augusta on Sunday afternoon many would have breathed a sigh of relief; Michelson at the top of the leaderboard, and Tiger in the unaccustomed position of fourth.  Given all that Michelson has had to handle compared to the disgraced Tiger Woods, it seemed fitting the moral of this story should be the “family man” who triumphed over the “#1 player.”Whether we want to admit it, prominent people influence the way others think.

Some are saying the Government’s recent intervention to stop the Movada Kartel peace concert, followed by the announcement of a zero tolerance policy to filter smutty lyrics for the 2010 Crop Over season will lead to a nanny state. The idea that individual freedoms will be violated, some fear may lead our Government to not know where to draw the line. Every year we have Vic ‘the Parrot’ Fernandes and his sidekick Ronnie Clarke adopting a Pontius Pilate position when asked to explain Starcom’s contribution to the deteriorating moral base in Barbados. We have former Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation Al Gilkes whose remit along with his sidekicks is to flood Barbados with all the smutty Jamaican Dancehall artistes who are in need of money. The fact that a cloud of tampie smoke has seasonally descended on Farley Hill during Reggae Songfest appears to be of little concern to the organisers or the authorities. If our Fourth Estate and leaders in society have surrendered all for the sake of greed where will it end?

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Ronald ‘Suki’ King, We Salute You!

World Draft ChampionIt is the month of Independence and many Barbadians will be encouraged to reflect on what mirror image we have of ourselves. A reading of BU blogs might suggest Barbadians should be concerned about the lack of leadership emanating from almost every facet of Bajan society.  The mirror image of ourselves which the father of Independence, Errol Walton Barrow, encouraged Barbadians to see when he delivered his famous Mirror Image Speech is as relevant today as it was when first delivered.

Let us use one example to show how cloudy the mirror of ourselves has become. Many Barbadians have started to question why perennial World Draught Champion Ronald (“Suki”) King continues to be treated by his own like the commoner he is not. Why is it he has to continue to wash cars to fund his many trips overseas to defend championships? Why is it he continues to  have to knock on the doors of corporate Barbados to beg for money? Why is it as a National Sports Council employee he has to ‘pull his pocket’ to buy Draught boards which he freely gives to school children or anyone interested in playing Draught?

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Invasion of Cultures

lowpantSydney Symmonds the host of the CBC Talk Yuh Talk show  had an interesting discussion on Thursday morning regarding the adoption of low pants and cornrow hairstyle by young people in Barbados. The argument posited to explain the low pants style which has been popularized by the American hip hop and prison culture was –  it is just a matter of style. Interesting is the fact some states in the USA have instituted laws to ban the low pant style.

We have those who say a person should have the right to style as they please. There is the other camp who is concerned about the future of our Black  youth given their willy nilly acceptance of American and other foreign cultures. How can any intelligent being who understands the meaning of pride and industry retreat to a position that our society should surrender to the culture of the USA or Jamaica?

A strength of the Bajan society historically has been our willingness to deal with issues in a Bajan way. The challenges which have started to emerge given the nature of a pluralistic society which Barbados is transitioning to must take centre place as concerned Bajans question the type of society we want to become. This is a difficult discussion which must be taken out of the realm of economic mumbo jumbo. The emphasis must be to raise the discussion to appreciate that a society in our view which is socially cohesive will naturally create economic wealth.

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Crop Over And Growing A Waistline Culture


VerseeWild Push It Back Music Video -

As we do with the 11-plus Examination Barbadians engage the same conversations every year come Crop Over time; too much wukkin-up, lyrics too lewd and quality of the music, and the stakeholders who stoke controversy etc. In 2009, add to the list whether the festival should  proceed in light of the H1N1 virus threat and the mother of all issues the leak of the 18 semi-finals of the Pic-O-De-Crop competition.

What is evident to BU is the transition from a culture driven festival to one greatly influenced by economic considerations. Is it not obvious to the decision makers that  there is a conflict of interest if the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) continues in the role of sole producer of the festival? The Crop Over Festival is the premier national event used to attract visitors to Barbados, a bonus benefit is the large number of Barbadians living overseas who see Crop Over as the ideal time to visit the land of their birth. There is no question the important economic activity which is linked to Crop Over.

In our opinion culture issues have taken a backseat in recent years at the expense of  running the festival as a business. BU has no issue with the need to make money, however it is important to have the correct model to satisfy the business side as well as the need to facilitate cultural expression.

The burning question which must be given serious thought is, can the NCF adequately enable the environment to accommodate cultural expression and in the process grow the cultural industries in Barbados?

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What's In A Name In Barbados: Trafalgar Square, Heroes Square, Parliament Square

Submitted by Yardbroom
The Fountain  -in Trafalgar Square (Heroes Square) - was erected to celebrate the start of piped water in Bridgetown/GIS

The Fountain -in Trafalgar Square (Heroes Square) - was erected to celebrate the start of piped water in Bridgetown/GIS

It has been reported that the Minister of Community Development and Culture Mr. Steve Blackett has proposed to redesign and rename Heroes Square so that the statue of Lord Nelson – 1758-1805 – no longer occupies its present position; in essence the statue (originally in the past Trafalgar Square) will not be positioned “in” Heroes Square.

For many years Nelson’s statue has been a source of contention to many Barbadians, while a few have been very relaxed about it, even to the point of advocating that the statue should remain in its present position, against all opposition.

In taking a look at the situation we should start at the beginning and this is best done by asking why was the statue originally erected in Barbados.  The statue was erected in 1813 – sculpted by Sir Richard Westmancott – “to honour Nelson’s memory.”  I will return later to if Nelson’s memory should be honoured in Barbados.

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Always Listen To The PEOPLE

Lasana M. Sekou is the author of 11 books of poetry, monologues, and short stories. He is the leading writer of St. Martin and is considered one of the prolific Caribbean poets of his generation. His newest collection is 37 Poems, published in 2005. Sekou’s other titles include… Continue reading

Government Can't Do It Alone!

Vic Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer of Starcom Network.

Vic Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer of Starcom Network - Source: Nation Newspaper

Barbadians for the most part have given high marks to the government for introducing free bus rides to school children under 18 years old. The only requirement is that the child is wearing a school uniform or show a school pass to benefit. The Democratic Labour Party is no stranger to introducing bold initiatives of the social variety; free education and school meals are other pioneering social initiatives which come to mind. It should be noted that history has been positive about the impact which free education has had on the Barbados society. Our high educational standards have been linked to the political stability of Barbados, export of labour and the enfranchisement of our people in a post-independence era.

It is obvious that the introduction of free bus rides to school children is a public good which has been designed to target the mushrooming deviant behaviour among our youth population. While the government has been quick to deny that the initiative targets negative behaviour associated with the ZR culture, the BU household is not convinced. For too long, and certainly under the reign of the former government the PSV’s were allowed to terrorize Barbados. The culture had become so embedded that it easily nullified the attempt by the Royal Barbados Police Force to bring order. Don’t we remember Operation Road Traffic Maintenance? The time has come to fight back. Until the PSVs start a program to efficiently self-regulate they will continue to feel the brunt of public policy. No amount of talk about poor black man and people losing jobs will stop the process. The time for talk is done.

Having stated the above we believe that more still needs to be done to protect this future generation from itself. Too often we rely on government to do it all, but what can other stakeholders in the country do to assist in the fight against deviant behaviour among our youth and wider society? Continue reading

The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation In The News

The new General Manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation assumed duties Wednesday morning at its Pine headquarters. Lars Soderstrom was met on arrival by CBC Chairman Leroy Parris and Executive Director David Wright and then was introduced to the senior managers in the Corporation's boardroom - Source:Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 30/07/2008

The Swede Lars G.O. Söderström is reporting on his Website that he has been the General Manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for the last three months. We try to keep on top of the news which affect Barbados but we have to confess we missed this announcement. As always the BU household thanks the BU family member for drawing this matter to our attention. We have to admit though that the Swede’s resume is impressive, on paper! Continue reading

Bajans On Eastern Parkway Labour Day Carnival 2008

A member of the BU household attended the traditional celebrations on Labour Day held on Eastern Parkway in New York on Monday (1 September 2008). According to reports the Barbados revellers drew the #8 slot which is a far cry from #20 which it had done in previous years. As you can see from the pictures the yellow and blue was represented!

We have been having an animated discussion on the Is Wuking Up “Without limits” Barbadian Culture? which was submitted by BU family member Yardbroom. The feedback which we have gotten is that Barbadians wukkup and enjoyed themselves but they did so without the gay abandon which was demonstrated in our Crop Over 2008.

Bajan Yankees must be losing it!