Crop Over can be secular without being dirty

It’s hard to miss that Crop Over is in full swing – the pulsating sounds of soca, these days more bashment than ever, and of course, the fetes and other events.

What is also back, and sadly so, is the looseness, lawlessness and inconceivable conduct of some who would have us believe that our national festival is a time for lewd, wanton and downright irresponsible behaviour.

Disappointingly, at the start of the week, we were reminded of the ugly side of the sweet summer festival as a video taken on stage at Water Xplosion – Party in the Tropics made the rounds on social media.

In the video, a young boy, purported to be 16 years old, engaged a dancer on stage during a performance of the Fluffy Girl’s Anthem, gyrating on her behind and performing other acts a child should not be involved in under any circumstances.

Of course it was not the first time that one of the island’s youngsters was seen “wukking up”, or what some call “practising his culture”.

Utter nonsense!

Crop Over is no excuse for depravity.

A quick examination of the history of the national festival reveals that it emerged from the hard work of early Barbadians who laid the foundation for our development.

Enjoy it, we should; degrade it, we must not!

Needless to say, the more glaring concern is why was a child at an adult event? President of the Barbados National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations, Shone Gibbs, deserves support for his call for the matter to be thoroughly investigated and action taken against those responsible.

“All the agencies – the police, the Child Care Board – must investigate the matter thoroughly and make sure whoever is responsible or who was negligent be charged accordingly. The video is repulsive at best,” Gibbs told this media house.

It is unnerving that some parents are so cavalier about the noble duty of nurturing their children to become sensible, well-rounded adults who can make wholesome contributions to the development of the world in which they live.

Even more painful to watch were the hypocritical adults who applauded and cheered on the youngster as he engaged in the madness on stage.

The display was a clear case of adults taking advantage of a child.

What examples are we setting for our children when we promote this kind of behaviour?

In one breath, we spew outrage at children fighting, and in the next, we encourage them to engage in lewd acts.

We must do better.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart once warned that there are many inducements out there in the world to sidetrack and to ensnare our young people, to divert them from the path of right into unwholesome, dangerous activities.

He said then: “A heavy responsibility devolves, therefore, on the shoulders of our adults to ensure that we take proper care of our young people and be the examples for them which they can proudly and confidently follow.”

Parents and adults would do well to follow this wise advice from this country’s leader.

But that would mean a major overhaul of the attitude of men and women who use the guise of Crop Over to parade their nudity. It would mean that adults who stop just short of copulating in public at various events abandon the practice.

And it would force our artistes to be more creative and desist from providing a diet of songs that throw out invitation after invitation to “ride it” or “jump on it”.

In no way are we suggesting that Crop Over be treated as a church service.

Long may the creativity, celebration and colour continue.

But this should not be confused with degeneracy, which only weakens the social fabric.

We need to re-evaluate a lot of things pertaining to Crop Over to ensure it remains a relevant, celebratory and clean festival in which all can partake.

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