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Editorial – Of therapeutic value is our Crop Over!

There is no disputing life in Barbados has become more challenging with all the attendant stresses in recent years. It stems largely from the biting effects of a protracted economic crisis that is finally showing a few signs of easing.

With not much money circulating as before, because of sharp cuts in Government spending, higher levels of taxation and job losses, the cumulative effect has been additional pressure on businesses, households and individuals.

A common cry on the radio talk shows, in letters to the editor and everyday conversation speaks to a difficulty making ends meet. This is especially so for persons at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. Some are cracking under the pressure. Not everyone, unfortunately, is blessed with effective coping skills.

The signs are evident: for example, the seemingly growing incidence of road rage that suggests Barbadians are becoming short-tempered and taking out their frustration on others. The said frustrations are a contributing factor in the rising cases of domestic violence. Money often is the cause of many household quarrels.

Against this backdrop, Crop Over is providing a welcome respite, and despite their financial challenges, Barbadians seem determined to have a good time. From most accounts, fetes and other events so far have been well patronized. Naturally, there are some who will question how come Barbadians are complaining about struggling to make ends meet but can still find money to dress up and fete.

The answer is quite simple. Crop Over provides an opportunity to escape, at least temporarily, from the worries and cares of everyday life by becoming fully engrossed in the fun and frolic. In this sense, Crop Over offers great therapeutic value as a stress reliever. It is good for the country because it serves as an outlet for the release of pent up negative emotions in a harmless manner.

Visitors obviously recognize this value. That is why thousands who live in big metropolitan cities of North America and Europe make the annual trek to Barbados at this time. Crop Over too is their way of escaping from the hustle and bustle of the daily rat race and finding mental and spiritual rejuvenation in an oasis of peace and happiness.

This argument is scientifically supported. Doctors in Singapore, a country often held up as a model for Barbados, found more young people –– the age group to which Crop Over has the greatest appeal –– are suffering from mental health issues like depression because of the pressures of daily living. That is why they agree taking a break to let loose and party can be highly therapeutic. There is a caveat, of course. Don’t booze up because it can be counterproductive.

Crop Over 2015 is into the home stretch this week. Yesterday, at Bushy Park, thousands took in the Party Monarch and Sweet Soca competitions under a new format and had a great time. National events planned for this week include the increasingly popular Foreday Morning Jam on Friday night, and the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals on Saturday night. Grand Kadooment next Monday is the finale.

We encourage Barbadians to go out, if that is their desire, and have a good time. However, do so responsibly! After a year which has been bruising in so many respects and has had the effect of dampening the spirits of many, the “feel-good” atmosphere of Crop Over is a refreshing change. Barbados is going through rough times but, contrary to some naysayers, it is certainly not a strong enough reason why people should not have a good time.

The Good Book tells us that there is a time and season for everything under the sun. After enduring a lengthy period of pain, there is a good case for an interval of fun, however short. Besides, partying at Crop Over is more than just having fun.

It generates business that helps to put money in the pockets of many people; ordinary folk like street vendors, for example, and persons who find employment with the Kadooment bands. More importantly, it contributes to the economy.

So here’s to an enjoyable, safe and successful remainder of Crop Over 2015! Hopefully, the hard times, which the burning of Mr Harding used to symbolize at the end of every Crop Over in years past, will soon be gone, and the good times will start rolling again for the benefit of everyone.

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