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Festival lessons for the learning

With all the trouble that has been brewing in the Barbados Labour Party camp of late, some folks have been heard to say, and not in the most hushed of tones, though clearly in jest, that “there are two Kadooments in town –– the BLP’s and Crop Over’s”.

This is not to take away anything from this year’s staging of our annual cultural showpiece, where real and genuine enjoyment has been had, providing much needed stress relief, amid all the economic doom and gloom hovering over our country.

Special mention must be made here of the Pantastic weekend of July 11 to 13, and the “show of shows” this past weekend, aptly titled 40th Anniversary Monarchs In Concert.

We tip our hats to veteran musician David Weatherhead, who conceptualized the show, and its producer Ronald Ronnie D Davis of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF). A good time was definitely had by all!

In the interest of cost efficiency, however, maybe the monarchs’ theme could be incorporated into the Cohobblopot show.

As a people we are often quick to serve up brickbats, but we should be equally fast to distribute bouquets in abundance wherever and whenever they become due.

In this same vein, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, CEO Cranston Browne and the entire NCF cast should be credited for a generally controversy and incident-free Crop Over thus far, never mind one or two skirmishes that occurred along the way.

With one more week of celebrations to go, we know there are some who would feel we should wait to the very end before singing anyone’s praises.

After all, just as in politics, a day in Crop Over is a long time.

Nevertheless, we believe we have already had enough of a full diet of well produced, quality productions on the part of the NCF to at least give them a pat on the back as we head into the final stretch where there is still the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals, Foreday Morning, Bridgetown Market, Cohobblopot and its all-Bajan cast, and of course the finale that is Grand Kadooment to look forward to.

Among the many things we take for granted in this small paradise of ours with pristine beaches, clean drinking water, free primary, secondary and, hitherto, tertiary education, is the quality of musicians.

But it needs to be said Barbados has been richly blessed in this arena. And while not all will be able to rise to the international level of our stargirl Rihanna, as a people we have become accustomed to seeing top acts such as Alison Hinds, RPB and Gabby grace our stages, backed up by equally experienced and gifted instrumentalists.

Lest we take this all for granted, we need only be reminded of the very origins of our Crop Over.

During the days of the sugar plantation, the burning of the effigy of Mr Harding was the signal to all concerned that hard times were behind, and that payday had finally arrived on the back of the blood, sweat and tears of our sugar ancestors, leading to much celebration and merriment in the streets.

Oh, how times have changed!

These days there is hardly any sugar cane to reap, far less sugar workers, and the cry of the majority, if we take our cue from last week’s march over the Municipal Solid Waste Tax, is for relief from hard times, as pockets continue to hang bare.

Still as a people we use any excuse to celebrate, which has led some, including Senator Professor Henry Fraser to conclude, as he did in the Upper Chamber last week, that we need to stop feting and start working.

“We built our reputation as a solid country with a sober, Christian, hard-working people who could be trusted to give an honest day’s work for a fair day’s pay.

“That is not what we have been seeing [in recent] times,” Fraser lamented Fraser, who also expressed concern that Barbados was on course to becoming the party nation of the Caribbean, emulating our Trinidadian cousins and friends.

Whether this is true or note, we would wish to caution the goodly professor, but moreso the Government at this time, that in the midst of the partying, there is real economic hardship. Let us not be fooled into believing otherwise.

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