Worth Repeating: "Social Toxicity in Barbados" Article by Barbados Today. Published on July 12, 2019
I believe that for the first time in its history, Barbados has a Minister of Government with the responsibility for Wellness. It must be a very arduous task to restore social health to a society that is becoming increasingly diseased.
There is and has been, for some time, substantial evidence that our country is not well. This state of ill health has taken on a new malignance. It must be cold comfort that what we see in Barbados today is also typical of so much in the Caribbean and the wider world. Violent predatory crime in Trinidad and Jamaica is of epidemic proportions. The continuing spate of knife attacks in London and other British cities is frightening. In a front-page story in the Daily Express of Friday, June 28, Dave Thompson, the outspoken Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police, warned that, ‘violent behaviour is being normalised.’
While we were sleeping, a number of events in both their qualitative and quantitative dimensions suggests a growing level of glandular malignancy. The Campus Trendz firebombing deaths of five young women signalled a differently more callous degree of social deviance. Then there is the ongoing spate of drive-by shootings where it is no longer healthy to sit outside of a shop playing a game of dominoes or draughts. Note also the recent stoning of vagrants by youths in Bridgetown and the stabbing of a hearing-impaired man in Fairchild Street. Add to that, the idea that the shooting death in Mannings Land, Bank Hall may have involved the use of high-powered AK guns. There has been some evidence of the presence of such weaponry in Barbados, but this incident may indicate that the criminal element is quite prepared to deploy them. This presents a clear and present danger to persons living in such neighbourhoods. It is incumbent on the police authority to let the taxpayers of this country know whether the shells recovered from that incident did involve the use of AK weaponry.
It probably makes little sense trying to analyse the roots of the current toxicity. The issues have been discussed over and over again with varying levels of acuity and honesty. Basically, it represents a level of institutional failure. The family, extended and nuclear (what’s left of it), has collapsed. The Church still concerns itself with salvation in the afterlife rather than with probity in the here and now and some in the church are equally consumed with materialism and status promotion. Besides, no law can force anyone to attend church. The school which compulsorily holds children from age five to 16 has become the agent of credentialism rather than of effective socialisation to positive norms. The authority of the school has been diminished by liberal professionals who have fashioned a culture of leniency which had led young people to feel a diminishing sense of the deleterious consequences of their actions. Then there is the Barbadian platitude that the deviance reflected only ‘a handful’ of miscreants. Also, there was the pretence that we had ‘a zero tolerance’ policy with this and with that. Yet so many rules and regulations are not enforced.
While these institutions were failing, the Culture, particularly the bashment variant and social media, has educated young people to negative ends. As Carl Moore suggests, so much is now built on ‘the bashment chassis.’ Chief Constable Dave Thompson blames ‘the PlayStation generation who believe that if things go bad, they can hit the reset button and start over.’ The situation in Barbados cannot be allowed to continue. A Jamaican once told me that if the violence seen in his country ever becomes evident here, Barbados, because of its size, would become, in his words, ‘a hellhole.’ The question is, how do we dilute the toxicity levels in the culture?
Apart from the more overt signs of social toxicity, there are signs of what I have called the atomisation or fragmentation of Barbadian society. This is marked by a growing sense of mistrust. In the Sunday Sun of June 30, John Hunte wrote a letter headed Genuine love lacking in society. I would suggest trust and empathy may be more germane. Hunte wrote: ‘Many of the young men and women I work with distrust each other both as friends and in relationships. Very few either know their father or love their mothers. Many have strained relationships with their siblings or aunties or uncles. Even within communities at church there is a level of distrust and judgment as to sincerity.’ He noted that many young men ‘struggle to develop a real, loving relationship with a young woman.’
In the age of the television, the cell phone and the computer, people are becoming more isolated. A hundred Facebook friends but little meaningful intimacy with anyone. In his latest book, New York Times columnist David Brooks argues that the road to happiness and social wellness lies in ‘WE’ not ‘ME.’ The book entitled The Second Mountain: The Quest for the Moral Life, contends that the self-centred culture renders us capable of only the flimsiest relationships which leave us ultimately disappointed. The more disappointed we are, the more we retreat into ourselves. Cristina Odone in a critique of Brooks’ text concluded: ‘Brooks has hit a nerve. The rise in mental health issues, suicides, opiate abuse, absent fathers, broken relationships and distrust, bespeaks a seriously troubled culture.’ John Hunte’s observations quoted above, may represent the real psycho-social state of Barbados. Sad. Ralph Jemmott is a respected retired educator.
BCF Launches Annual Raffle Lottery
Barbados Canada Foundation launched its first annual raffle lottery to raise funds for its John Rollock Scholarships Program. Tickets are $20.00 each and the 1st prize will be a 7-Day Caribbean Cruise For Two, with the winner having the option of taking cash of $3,500. There are also 3 cash prizes totalling $1,000.. A total 1000 tickets were printed. For tickets contact the Foundation at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For all details CLICK HERE for the flyer.
Barbados On The Water Festival Returns to Harbourfront
Barbados On The Water returns to Toronto Friday, August 16th - Sunday, August 18th, 2019. Hosted by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and the Consulate General of Barbados in Partnership with Harbourfront Centre, this festival of all things Bajan will be held at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West - on Toronto's waterfront. Admission is free and all are invited to come down to Barbados On The Water and enjoy Bajan food, music, arts and culture. Performers include Arturo Tappin, Biggie Irie, RPB, Leigh Phillips and Laff-It-Off (Comedy); with culinary presentations by chefs direct from Barbados. CLICK HERE for the Programme Of Events.
2020 To Be Bajan Diaspora "Homecoming" Year
2020 has been designated by Prime Minister Mia Mottley as “the year for the Barbadian diaspora to be recognised and for them to be invited to return to their ancestral home.”
The concept, named “Homecoming 2020 – Year Of The Barbadian Diaspora “will be a Bajan family gathering that will provide Bajans everywhere on the globe the opportunity to celebrate our roots, while generating much needed foreign exchange for the island.
The “Homecoming “will be a full year of celebrations, with each parish being assigned a month. Expatriate Barbadians are invited to return to Barbados to participate in the celebrations, including Independence celebrations in November and a Bajan Christmas.
Click HERE to read the details of the initiative outlined in the memorandum from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This memorandum has been shared with all Barbadian organizations in Toronto by the Barbados Consulate at Toronto. Visit the We Gatherin Barbados 2020 website.
Are You A Barbadian Living In Canada?
Register with the Barbados Consulate at Toronto If you reside in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) you may wish to be included in the Consulate's Registry of Barbadians in Canada. If so, please complete this formand mail or fax it to the Consulate General of Barbados at Toronto. This information will assist the Consulate in being able to contact you on matters that may be of interest to you or to request your assistance.
All information received by the Consulate will be kept confidential. For more information call the Barbados Consulate at (416) 214-9805, Fax: (416) 214-9815 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Eligible for Barbadian Benefits?
If you are a Barbadian-Canadian, 65 years old or older, have lived and worked in Barbados; or are the survivor of a Barbadian citizen who has worked in Barbados, under the Agreement on Social Security between Canada and Barbados you may be eligible for Old Age Contributory Pension, disability or survivor benefits from Barbados.
To qualify for Contributory Old Age Pension from Barbados you must have made a minimum of 500 paid contributions to Barbados' pension program or National Insurance Scheme. This would have been achieved over 10 years of employment in Barbados. If you did not make the minimum paid contributions to the National Insurance Scheme, the period for which you contributed to the Canada Pension Plan will be taken into account in the determination of the Contributory Old Age Pension payable by Barbados.
A Barbadian citizen residing in Canada is eligible for Non-Contributory Old Age Pension if that person resided in Barbados for 12 years since attaining the age of 40 or an aggregate of 20 years since attaining the age of 18. However, such eligible Barbadian citizens residing in Canada are not entitled to Non-Contributory Old Age Pension if continuously absent from Barbados for any period in excess of six months.