Better late than never!

Bajans take part in West Indian Labour Day Parade

bajan in ny-1Better Late Than Never is a brand – a NBC American reality –travel TV series, and a full length album by the ska/reggae band Slackers, to name but a few examples.

It also recently appeared in this headline: COME FOR CROP OVER 2016 – BETTER LATE THAN NEVER! – the title of a Due Diligence authored article published in the July 28 edition of the Toronto Star Horizon Travel & Lifestyle magazine, in response to a Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) advertisement titled, Think Summer, Think Barbados.

Interestingly, this universal trademark appears also in Barbadian folklore as in ‘fashionably late’. So, was the 2016 West Indian Labour Day Parade, which started unusually late, another case in point?   

How do you feel about the late start?

“I came for 10 a.m. It is now 12:30 p.m. What can you do? I came out to have a nice time,” explained a young female Trinidadian reveller.

“Honestly, I thought the hurricane Hermine was coming. So I am not surprised,” said a male reveller standing beside her. 

Now Buffalo Avenue is the assembly point before moving onto Eastern Parkway. At noon, 20 or more trucks were parked, waiting to go.

Is this the Bajan truck?

“No. Our band is a multicultural band. That’s why we have a Bajan flag. Walk three blocks on New York Avenue and you will find the Bajan band. They love to jump late,” explained a driver entering a truck whose front was draped with two large Bajan flags.

Nearby, along the sidewalk, there were Bajans, in the waiting crowd. ‘You knew them from their outfits’ but didn’t know their names.’

Some wore head gear or their bodies were draped in the Broken Trident. Others, in tee shirts or outfits, awaited the arrival of the band Bajan Paradise. Still others enjoyed ices and special brews in unsuspecting containers.

What are you drinking, sir?

“Man, I could not find a topsy. So here I am, sipping a drink from an enamel cup.” said the spokesman of a group wearing Bajan styled tee shirts. 

Truth be told, do you remember “when the cat’s away, the mice will play?”

Weather wise, it was a perfect day and the delay provided another moment for creative fun. The merry-makers took selfies, became railbirds, drank nutcrackers, sat on the sidewalk, lay on the road and chilled and posed at the mere sight of a camera. Some even ventured into Walgreens and printed their pictures.

Without question, the West Indian Labour Day parade is a Trinidad idea that has morphed into a parade for community organizations, politicians and Caribbean people. The Bajan presence – including music and bandanas – is also evolving. 

This group was eager to take part in the merriment.
This group was eager to take part in the merriment.
There were plenty of smiles to go around on parade day.
There were plenty of smiles to go around on parade day.
This reveller draped himself in the flag of Barbados in a strong show of nationalism.
This reveller draped himself in the flag of Barbados in a strong show of nationalism.
These two simply relaxed  and watched the parade.
These two simply relaxed
and watched the parade.
This Trini reveller with Bajan roots was resplendent in Barbadian national colours.
This Trini reveller with Bajan roots was resplendent in Barbadian national colours.

In addition, this year, a Barbadian, Ambassador to the United Nations Tony Marshall, assisted New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in cutting the ribbon. A first. However, for the past three years, there is still only one truck and a group of faithful followers in the parade.

For Barbados, clearly, the passion of the Diaspora is there. Isn’t it better to be late than never?

E Mail: weuandi@aol.com

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