Daily Archives: August 23, 2011

Former UK Diplomat “Barbados badly needs plumbers but is turning out third rate lawyers by the dozen…”

UPDATED: August 29, 2011

Is/was there more than one “David Roberts” UK Diplomat? Apparently so!

We removed a link in our story to a certain David Roberts, previously with the UK Foreign Office, as we received the following email: “Please recheck the identity of David Roberts.  This is absolutely NOT the David Roberts who was the British High Commissioner to Barbados in the 1970s, who was balding and in his 50s or 60s.”

The book reviews and excerpts don’t provide a year for the David Roberts quotes below, but one of our readers (Thank you Elizabeth!) searched the old lists and came up with:

Sir David A. Roberts, K.B.E., C.M.G.: Barbados High Commissioner 1971-1973

This could be our man!

Here’s our original story…

David Roberts, at the time with the UK Foreign Office, said…

University of the West Indies…

Teachers “could not hold down a reputable job elsewhere.”

Alumni: “half-naked intelligentsia”

Well, if David Roberts really thought all that about us, he should have said so while he was here. Oh… he did, just not to our face – but authors Matthew Parris and Andrew Bryson recently obtained Roberts’ and other diplomatic reports under Freedom of Information and published them in a book called Parting Shots.

There’s no indication of when Mr. Roberts filed his report with the UK Foreign Office, except that it had to have been before 2006 because that’s when the valedictory exit reports ended – according to one book review. Mr. Roberts’ current venue is unknown but you can read a bit of what he thinks of us right here…

The High Commissioner to Barbados, David Roberts, sketched a situation by no means unique. “It is now the exception rather than the rule for a young and outstanding Barbadian to be educated at Oxford or Cambridge. Thus, through death, retirement or more lucrative employment, the generation of men who read greats, economics or law in the U.K., acquired an affinity with our way of thinking and an acceptance of our social values, and came home to govern Barbados, will pass away.

They will leave government in the hands of young men educated at the University of the West Indies, from which a half-naked intelligentsia is already coming forward. The new generation have largely been instructed by university teachers who could not hold down a reputable job elsewhere. A small country which badly needs carpenters, plumbers, engineers and so forth is turning out third-rate lawyers and sociologists by the dozen. It is good inflammable material for a political bonfire.”

… from the Frontline Magazine book review Diplomacy and Candour by A.G. Noorani

Okay, Mr. Roberts does have a point about turning out too many lousy lawyers and not enough skilled trades workers – but he sounds way too full of himself. His colonial nose is stuck so high in the air he wears loafers so he doesn’t have to look down to tie his shoes. Hmmm… I wonder if our wonderous reporters at The Nation will read Roberts’ entire report in the book and then ask Paul Brummell, the current High Commissioner, for comments?

And pigs will fly!


Filed under Barbados, Politics

Maachelle Farley teaches much more than piano

“The best thing we’ve done…”

I had to smile when I saw the email advertisement for Piano is Life sent around by our friends at Carib E-Trader (caribetrader.net).

“Build your child’s discipline and learning skills through piano tuition…”

How true that is, or could be – but it all depends upon the teacher. Parents can push all they want but if the teacher doesn’t love to teach and love young people, the kids sense that right away and it sets the stage for failure. Sorry to tell the truth, but too many musicians only “teach” to make money. It’s not what they are really about – they save their real love  and energy for the weekend gigs.

Maachelle Farley arrived home in Barbados with her music degree in hand and a burning desire to share her love and gift of piano with young people. Everyone knows that she has talent. Anyone who’s seen her play or sing at church or elsewhere can attest to that. But can she teach? And can she teach children?

Let me tell you…

Last November Maachelle opened her Piano is Life studio and according to our friends more than a few parents have discovered that she is delivering on her promises. The children are learning to play, and more: they are enthusiastic about their lessons and about practicing. Maachelle is practically bubbly with enthusiasm and love of music and the kids catch that from her.

For obvious reasons I can’t provide more details but I will tell you this… our friends say that going to Maachelle was “The best thing we’ve done…” for their child. They describe Maachelle as “half teacher, half coach”. They say they have seen a change in their child that goes way beyond playing piano. The child is more serious about everything and is focused on working hard to achieve goals of which music is just one.

I wondered if that was just normal development that the parents are seeing, but our friends credit Maachelle Farley with a big part of the maturing they see with their child. Who am I to argue?

So good luck to Maachelle as she continues to build her teaching career and reputation among parents. It’s also encouraging to see someone who could have made a good life for themselves in New York City or London decide to return home.

Why not give your child the opportunity to try piano lessons. You never know…

Piano is Life
Maachelle Farley

#128 Plum grove Christ Church, Barbados
Hours: Tues – Sat: 3:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Phone: 239-2487 / 420-9051
Email: pianoislife.mkf@gmail.com

Oops: Shona reminded me that Maachelle teaches adults too!

Photo: From the last Piano is Life recital. Definitely NOT the child I’m talking about in our post. PhotoShop treatment by Shona.


Filed under Barbados, Music