One More Reason Why CARICOM Will Not Work On A Cultural Level

Murder Rates – Jamaica vs. Barbados

Jamaica: 63.4 murders per 100,000 population.
Barbados: 7.47 murders per 100,000 population.

Today, BFP reader TJ2 dicovered a March 13, 2006 BFP post The Problem With CARICOM – Barbados Culture Is Not Jamaican Culture and left a comment describing CARICOM as “A marriage made in hell if there ever was one!”

I don’t know if CARICOM will be a “marriage made in hell”, but TJ2’s comments remind us that we Bajans have our own culture, and that our culture is strikingly different from many others. We often think of “culture” as merely singing, dancing and literature – but these are just brushstrokes in a large painting made on a canvas of values.

Values are the canvas that holds the painting together. Ours values are ours – and they are worth protecting because they provide a better way of life than, for instance, Jamaican values.


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Island Life, Politics & Corruption

23 responses to “One More Reason Why CARICOM Will Not Work On A Cultural Level

  1. Lady Anon

    It is said that with a marriage, there are two individual people, and then there is the union. The individual people do not disappear, but the union should be the combination of the two.

    Although simple, perhaps we could look at CARICOM in this way…Bajans will still be Bajans; Jamaicans still Jamaicans etc…but the union will be a combination of all the CARICOM territories.

    I know our honourable PM stated that the CSME was not designed to create insularity, but unintentionally it did. We should come together for the good of the region, but not so that the individuality will disappear.

  2. West Side Davie

    Nice thoughts Lady Anon, but if Jamaicans are free to travel, work and live in Barbados (as is the ultimate goal of CARICOM being free movement for citizens within the region), then will we be able to avoid the parts of Jamaican culture that are trouble?

  3. Mile and a Quarter

    In theory the notion of CSME is acceptable. In practice we are into a different ball park. Jamaica’s violence spearheaded by worlds highest murder rate is absolutely unacceptable to any Bajan even ones behind Black Rock green gates. Bajans have their share of crime but its miniscule compared to Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana and I hear even St. Lucia. Obviously its going to be a hard road to travel to integrate values and culture in CSME.
    Which brings me to Ricky Singh’s article in yesterdays Nation(18th Dec 2006). Singh asserts there were 35 murders in Barbados already this year. Is that a fact? The RBPF website does not seperate murders from other violent crime so the number is not there. Our Police Commisioner should keep Bajans informed on crime stats including murder so that we make informed decisions. I dont believe Singhs figure. It sounds too high.
    Singh appears quite often eager to have equivalency between Barbados ,Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica when it comes to crime. Thank goodness the reality is that Barbados crime remains comparitively low (7.47 % murders per 100,000). We need to keep our crime stats low and try hard to reduce them further. Jamaica regretably is the worst cultural example possible for sweet Barbados. CSME commendable idea but more questions than answers.

  4. Lady Anon

    I agree completely. What will probably ultimately happen is a levelling out…our values will deteriorate further to become more in line with the others. I do not believe that theirs will elevate…sorry to be so defeatist.

    Those who can’t take the changes will opt out, i.e., leave for so called “greener pastures”. Perhaps there will be a mass exodus as there was in Jamaica.

    Who knows?

  5. BFP- “Brushstrokes in a large painting made on a canvas of values.” Very poetic wording for the Christmas season, folks. Congrats!

  6. God Bless David

    I must confess I see no attraction in the insular approach to our brothers and sisters in the region. It is true that there may be cultural clashes, and the possibility exists for undesirable elements to move more easilty around the region, but it is also true that these negatives can be managed, and that progressive synergies can result. We just have to do it right. The Caribbean is not the first region in the world to fashion a single market and economic space, nor is it the most diverse region to do so. Let us not be more afraid of its risks than we are welcoming of its benefits…

  7. With all due respect I understand your concerns from Bajan point of view and the crime statistics posted are not disputed. Indeed Barbados and Jamaica as seperate countries each have unique cultural aspects but I fail to fully understand what exactly you are trying to say the problem is (or will be) with CARICOM. Is it the crime in many other countries (not only Jamaica), is it the loss of cultural identity, do you fear you small society being assimilated by larger ones, is it more, or all of the above?

    I am a Jamaican who has his own doubts about CARICOM and would like to understand other view and attitudes towards the same in other Caribbean countries.

  8. Bimbro

    Boy, ‘TJ2’, and the rest of wunna gun get severe licks when ‘bajans’, Jameka and her cohorts catch up wid wunna! How dare all ugh yuh can even suggest that there could be anything conceivably, mistaken about that idiotic union, the CSME, I don’t know or that there could conceivably, be any difference between Barbadians and Jamaicans!

    Boy, you lot in fa licks, and the first thing they’ll tell you is that ‘you too, negative’ LOL!!!!

  9. To the outside world the formerly British islands of the Caribbean are a “natural” for economic, political and social union the way we toyed with Federation nearly 50 years ago.

    We have a common language (more or less!), a background of the same legal system, common ethnic composition (apart from the Indian component of Trinidad and Guyana). We enjoy the same music, dance, humour, social mores, and religion (again allowing for Trinidad and Guyana’s Hindu and Moslems).

    We are far more alike than the European Union who speak different languages and have fought tooth and nail for centuries.

    We see only the differences. Others see mainly the similarities. They do not realise how insular islanders can be in temperament.

    A lot of lip service has been given to CSME about how great it will be. It would indeed be great to be able to go down to Trinidad and buy a car, and drive it home to St Philip from the dock without any more formality than if it was bought locally. But I honestly can’t see that happening in my lifetime.

    There is already enough grumbling about Trinis buying us out, Guyanese forming gangs, and undercutting labour costs. And the real swing hasn’t really started.

    As the best run economy doing well with our limited resources, Barbados will be the target for all the less fortunate states. People will flock here to get away from crime, which will follow them. We will undoubtedly be dragged down, and our currency with it, but this may be the price that “has to be” paid for a single English-speaking Caribbean entity.

    Our politicians have never enlightened us on this score. Small wonder. It is hard enough to generate much enthusiasm even by speaking of the advantages.

    In the levelling out Lady Di refers to, Barbados stands to lose most. In retrospect Federation looks a far easier option than the full integration we are now committed to. What a shame Federation collapsed for purely selfish political reasons. We would be way ahead of the game by now.

  10. Jerome Hinds

    Too Individualistic! That is the concept that is strangling CSME at the moment. Every Caribbean leader forces themselves/countrymen to look out for their own ‘neck of the woods’. Each caribbean leader in Caricom is often busying themselves with keeping down unemployment/ inflation, attracting more visitors/foreign exchange or a host of other (dis)attractions for their ‘countrymen’ rather than approach Caribbean integration with the same level of vigour.

    No wonder our PM (Arthur) who has lead responsibility for the implementation of CSME told the Barbadian duo at the just concluded Golf Championships that ”earlier this year when Barbados was playing the cricket match against Trinidad at the Carlton ground – that he implored the Bajan lads not to let Trinidad beat them !

    Good gosh, it was only a cricket match!!!! But , I guess good sportsmanship and unbridled individuality are strange bedfellows…….

  11. Bimbro

    Oh, and I forgot to say that, in the UK, ALL west indian MEN are seen by EVERYONE as brainless, stupid, morons and violent criminals, thanks to the Jamaicans!

  12. Bimbro-
    Can’t agree. A generation of London bus conductors and Underground operatives taught Londoners years ago that Bajans are stable, moderate, dependable people.

  13. Bimbro

    My dear ‘newcomer’, I could n’t agree with you more. However, I’m not referring to the bus conductors of years ago! I’m referring to the situation which currently, pertains in the UK! Mind you, I recall many of those bus conductors as being absolute, pigs! Not many of those kind, however, were Barbadian! You may recall that ‘bus conductors were so civilised’ as you would like to give the impression, that LONDON BUSES NOW HAVE NO BUS CONDUCTORS AT ALL! That’s how wonderful they were! I remember thinking when I first heard they were to be dropped that, ‘is it any wonder’!

    I think that you think the ‘bajans’ who I referred to in an earlier post refers to Barbadian people! No, it does n’t but to a ‘foe’ in another Barbadian Forum. That’s the idiotic name which she uses!

    Bro., I wish that nearly, all the West Indians over here were Barbadians. The UK would be a much happier and civilised, place!

  14. Bimbro

    Clearly, Barbados should n’t enter into any union with ANY country or groups of countries until it, or they have raised their standards both economically, socially and morally to those of our level, or higher. The pursuit of Arthur’s professional career in Jamaica and marriage to a Jamaican have obviously, had an effect upon him but I don’t see why we should pay the price for it in terms of increased crime and other lowering of our standards. Jamaica rejected union with the other caribbean nations in the early ’60s with the failed, Federation! Why we should now be going begging Jamaica, or even asking them to join us in the CSME like some blasted, ‘loopy-dogs’ is amazing, to me! Their willingness to participate now could n’t be becuase they’ve done so badly economically over the years without us that they now feel that they can condescend to join us, could it? Of course, that’s the reason! They need us much more now than we need them!

    Left to me, they be waiting another several, hundred years before I would even begin to consider their joining us, in anything and also, not without a grovelling apology for the Federation debacle! And, the ‘big island/small island’ mentality still prevails! If you think it does n’t then you’re fooling yourselves!

    Not to mention the victimisation which we daily suffer from them, and ON ACCOUNT, of THEM!

    Money is n’t everything!

  15. Wow Bimbro you seem to really dislike us Jamaicans.

    You are saying that all Londoners think of all Caribbean people in a negative light “thanks to the Jamaicans” but at the same time you are thinking/saying that all Jamaicans are “brainless, stupid, morons and violent criminals”

    I repeat, I respect you, Barbados and all your opinions and ya’ll seem very heated and emotional on the CSME topic but why do you continue to dangle this crime problem that jamaica is facing (which beleive it or not is improving) and treat us like outcast and violent cavemen? Jamaica has hard working, intelligent, progressive persons and personalities and the Bajan slate isn’t as squeaky clean either.

    In closing, as a young productive Jamaican who wants the best for his country and it’s “friends” I think it is time the malice from the 1960’s that other “smaller” caribbean islands are carrying for almost half a century be forgiven, maybe we were drunken by our new freedom from the “crown” or maybe the federation was 50 years too early 😉

  16. Bimbro

    Decorum and a regard for this publication means that I can’t really, tell you what I think of your people, Sir!


    As long as the Barbadians keep well away from you all – if they’ve got any sense!

  17. Ok sir, your hatred for your Jamaican brothers and sisters are noted and evident for all to see.

    I hope that one day you stop disliking “all” of us so much 🙂

  18. John

    Question: So if CSME won’t work, what was the point of the CCJ?

    Answer: $100 Million.

  19. Ronin of the Void

    Bimbro, your intolerance is astonishing. Although I have to admit that most Jamaicans I have met were arrogant, overly aggressive and obnoxious. I remember leaving a reggae festival at Farley Hill one year and being accosted by a Jamaican woman as I sat in traffic demanding to know why I needed such a big SUV in such a ‘likkle’ island. (it was a two door) Decorum prevents me from typing my response to her. Having said that, I know that Jamaicans are generally a dynamic, hard working and fun loving people. Some I have met were kind, warm and creative. Plus Jamaica made Bob Marley, a man I have huge respect and admiration for. As for the violence in Jamaican society, most West Indians know that the roots of that go back to the Manly/Seaga sponsored thugs battling for territory and votes in the seventies, and Jamaica as a whole cannot be blamed for that. I also have to say that I deplore a lot of the negative, infectious filth that Jamaica exports in the guise of music these days, and which is programming our population to become violent louts and and flouts. Finally Bimbro, let me just point out to you that your particular brand of bigotry is quite similar to the sentiments that fueled African slavery, the Jewish holocaust Jim Crow days in the American south, which still lingers, and many other human tragedies, and I find your position detestable. Kirk, please know that most Bajans don’t share this mans sentiments of Jamaican people.

  20. Hey Ronin of the Void

    I would never for a chance allow Bimbro to change my thoughts of Bajan people, a people who I admire and respect who have their own positives and negatives as all people do. My current job allows me to work with Bajan nationals from time to time and I think I understand their concerns somewhat as it relates to Jamaicans.
    What concerns me is that Bimbro chooses to right off Jamaicans as a whole as if we are some kind of castaways for all people to scorn. I can choose to be ignorant and respond with arrogant comments such as his own, but I think I will choose another path, a path that will, even it is just one person who reads through these comments, that not all Jamaicans are are like the ones highlighted negatively on the news.

  21. Bimbro

    You think that their disgraceful, behaviour is confined to Jamaica and that they have regard for you, a smallie?!!


  22. Bajan Guy

    i do not think that CSME can work, mainly cuz of the fact that no one gets along with each other. if people cant get along then they cant form a well working organisation because they will fight and cause alot of trouble, and wont agree on matters the government is talking about ad wont want the same things from CSME.