Canadian travel agent Yvonne Bramson explains why some tourists are avoiding Barbados

kadooment blocked

Photo from the BFP story Grand Kadooment child-sex scandal

Dear friends in Barbados,

As Crop Over season gets into high gear I would just like to make a few comments. I am a travel agent for a large company in Toronto, Canada and have been to Barbados several times over the years. I have many friends there and also family and am hearing from both them and my colleagues at work (who hear from their travelling clients) that Barbados has changed a lot. What people are observing and saying is that what Crop Over symbolises has become a thing of the past.

I remember when most of the people participating in the grand finale parade were wearing period costumes to symbolise the farm workers, etc. What we are seeing and hearing for the past few years is that is has become something quite different. It seems to be a huge party where many of the women of all ages come out to show off their bodies – many in next to nothing. I happened to have been in Barbados last year at Crop Over time and was literally shocked at some of the behaviour I witnessed from the participants. I saw many women running over to men on the sidelines and gyrating on their laps, I saw many women dancing with their behinds way out against a man’s genitals. I saw women bent over with another woman gyrating on her behind. 

I could go on and on with the disturbing things I saw. I happened to be with a large group of tourists who were very surprised and said a lot of negative things, which I would not be able to repeat here. I was also next to a family who had brought their children to view this and were appalled at what their children were watching. They left.

I have been to many Caribbean and other countries festivals and I have to say that Barbados is over the top. It is not at all what it was meant to be. What disturbs me most is that I believe that the majority of the Bajan people don’t think this behaviour is abnormal. To teach our children, especially the girls, that they should act this way and dress this way is really shameful. We need to be letting them know that their minds, hearts and souls are so important. That is who they are, not their clothing and private body parts.

I left Barbados telling myself that this world is full of very special and beautiful places and I think that instead of coming back to Barbados I will use that time and that money to visit other places. I feel it is important for the people of Barbados to know why some tourists are not coming back or not coming at all.

Yvonne Bramson
Toronto, Ontario

This letter was also sent to other news media


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Culture & Race Issues

105 responses to “Canadian travel agent Yvonne Bramson explains why some tourists are avoiding Barbados

  1. Pingback: Canadian travel agent Yvonne Bramson explains why some tourists are avoiding Barbados | Barbados Blog !

  2. 27

    Well said Yvonne . Sad but true

  3. European

    There are certainly many reasons why tourism has declined, but what you describe has certainly no major importance. There is much that Barbados could do better. Better general maintenance of streets and sidewalks. Better standard on all types of restaurants. Better walking and not least some real center. Today, everything is spread out and not very tourist friendly. Criminality must of course be lower. The service at some cafés and shops are lousy.

  4. Delavegas

    if you want people to behave the way you do then stay at home why travel to visit other people’s place and see other people’s culture and traditions.

  5. Frustrated businessman

    Delavegas is an idiot. The behavior Yvonne describes is disgusting and was not tolerated in our society until very recently; unfortunately it now is. Another side-effect of fatherless families at the lowest class of humanity.

  6. True Bajan

    So glad for the concern that you have in our nation and in truth we have become a sad shell of the great nation we used to be.

    I will say this though…..our dance has always comprised of “whining” and what we call “wuk up” which are both pelvis driven dances that have sensual motions. Having said that to say that I see nothing wrong with the way we dance as this is our culture. You can look at many a ‘youtube’ video and see african dances and many will have similar movements.

    What i can admit is that there is a thin line between dance and sexual connotations, the latter being the direction which the public has taken the dances, and I am sure that this is what you would have witnessed. To this I will admit I understand your disappointment as many of us are disappointed also.

  7. No Yvonne, I can safely say the majority of Barbadians DO think this behaviour is abnormal; as a matter of fact it is disgusting, immoral and what we would call in Bajan plain ‘wutlessness’. It should never be allowed or encouraged. Unfortunately some persons in Barbados including some of our entertainers confuse this kind of gyrating, immoral behaviour with culture and categorise it as ‘wukking up’ and use it as an excuse to behave however they want to. Crop Over has deteriorated into little more than half naked bodies involved in wuk-up revelry. Year after year children are being drawn in in ways never seen before by adults who approve of this behaviour. If it were up to me the adults involved in that indecent incident with that child would be charged.

  8. 224

    bull shit ……..

  9. 113

    “I saw many women running over to men on the sidelines and gyrating on their laps, I saw many women dancing with their behinds way out against a man’s genitals. I saw women bent over with another woman gyrating on her behind. ” OMG thats disgusting… Thank god she wasnt in TnT… Brazil. Come to think about it… she should go there.

    While i agree that the festival has evolved into a not so innocent cash cow… and one can witness some random acts that make for bewilderment… but her reactions mek me swear she witnessed people in 3 or 4 bands having sex or something. Truthfully… a carnival in the tropics is not exactly the place for a prude. So one should take the initiative to steer clear of the heart of the action for fear of seeing women dancing with their behinds way out against a man’s genitals… (which is unfortunately… how we Caribbean dance.)

    Plenty other things to take in at cropover time if carnival isnt your thing… but i refuse to believe that hurts our tourism sector… unless its that we’re not lewd enough.. maybe if we more lewd and naked we could see tourist arrivals comparable to brazil since their carnval is world renowned. (that was sarcasm btw)

  10. 240

    yes i think sometimes people in Barbados take it overboard but there are places much worse that are more popular destinations…in a nutshell…people want to enjoy themselves….but sometimes people take it to the extreme

  11. Carolyn

    I have no idea why people are defending this behavior I have lived in Barbados for 10 years and I always say there is a Jekyll and Hyde behaviour in this society – it is APPALLING the type of behaviour that I see in parties once young people are involved – it is deplorable -the dress the conduct – the MUSIC (if you can call it that ) does nothing to help – when you have sounds like butt butt yuh head on a Headboard – and then you have every other tune about the BUMBA and every other part of a woman’s anatomy – get real bajans – clean up your act.

  12. I first came to Barbados in 1985 to play cricket and have been coming back regularly ever since for cricket and holidays. I have now lived here for 10 years. Barbados has changed enormously since I first came here and the main reason is that the ethos has changed from the love of God to the love of money.

  13. 234

    welcome to the Caribbean honey,

  14. Culture?

    What culture?
    E.S.A.F. stands for our “culture”

    Eat Suck and F**k.

    lol at our contrived culture as manufactured over the last 40 yrs. by one Cultural Foundation when it was discovered
    (shortly after independence)
    that he had no culture apart from white ppl drinking Afternoon Tea –and that was seen as being entirely unsuitable for a young black nation of ex-slaves.

  15. fitz alan cumberbatch

    ps the behaviour with some of the people is very bad towards some of the tourist ,iv,e had encounters with some of the gangs over there before,they some to want to be like the drug lords form other places.and if they see your with your wife or girlfreind they like to bring words to the women.if the government don,t sort this problem out you will have serious problems job wise out there.

  16. condo man

    We like it so

  17. 29

    hmmm, 1. who caused this fatherless society frustrated businessman, and i agree brazil is a good place for her to go Anonymous. i have been to places where i was told i have to adapt and i have culture shock and should have an open mind when statements of racism and other forms of disrespect were directed towards me. i think these same people should open their minds and stop enforcing their ways on us. i do agree we have our many faults. but we can go to their country and change their backward nasty behaviours. so why frown on ours. pick your own nose 1st.

  18. Guess she hasn’t been to Trinidad or Jamaican then?

  19. Patrick Gibson

    ….according to Condo Man….”we/(dem) like it so”…..This is Barbados, this is how it is. Never mind the over 900 churches, and the top notch education Barbados is “progressive” and has everything. Don let them fool yuh, Crop Over is a product of Barbados, the behavior is Bajan down to de pooching back.

  20. 158

    this topic is a double edged sword it cuts both ways, i agree with what she says, but still if she went to Africa, Trinidad, most night clubs or anywhere in the Caribbean even Jamaica or Brazil. Most of the female population “gyrate their waist on men or women” called having fun. Yes some take it to the extreme but in my opinion you should get out more often no offense just saying they are much more pressing issues to make tourist not come back other than our crop over festival bring something better to the table……….

  21. Marine rider

    Well in Trinidad Carnival people foop on the streets like dogs…Barbados did not reach that stage as yet, exeptions apart!

  22. 191

    Oh please, ‘wukking up’ is not the cause of our tourism numbers declining. Find another topic to vent on “Yvonne”.

  23. IP

    The “frustrated Businessman” needs to apply some logic or basic common sense to his statements. Fatherless families have ALWAYS existed in B’dos. That state has no reflection on the behavior of revelers. Keep your attempts at determining root cause analysis to yourself.

  24. 191

    Also if this is the sole reason you have chosen not to come back please by all means you and your friends can stay home… Bunch of squares…

  25. Israel

    Just beacause other carnivals may be worse, doesn’t mean we have to be bad. Yvonne raised an important point worthy of note; Crop Over has, for many intents and purposes, become something drastically different to what it was. It has become a mirror of T&T or Brazil Carnival. We DON’t have ‘Carinval’ in Barbados, we have Crop Over. The festival originally is linked to the Crop. Many of the costumes today, while the themes may say they are cultural, the execution is just the run of the mill sequins, feathers, skin and heals.

  26. LOOK

    The photo and what the writer said is distasteful. I wouldn’t come back.

  27. This letter is entirely ignorant. This is the only reason why Canadians avoid Barbados, I think her opinion is pretty bias. Listen, Barbados has it own culture like any other country. I am a Barbadian currently living in Brazil, and I can tell she needs to get around more. Lemme just give yall example. In Brazil, they sexually make out, on the road, in the bus, everywhere. Is this also disgusting? No, it’s their culture. And when you begin to see these things as what they are , culture, you will be much better off. How can you travel and expect everywhere to be the same? IGNORANCE. How is she even a Travel Agent? Barbados’ only flaw as a tourist destination is not truly defining why people love it there so much. I think we are stuck on the fantasy of Sea, Sand and Sun but it’s more than that and that is where BTA is slipping up. Also you can use the same campaign for every country because again each country has a different culture. Some markets you just need to remind them about Barbados and others you need to introduce.

    Check out my travel blog:!

  28. Ignore my grammatical errors, I was annoyed lol.
    also you can’t * use the same campaign

  29. 221

    Wait,wukking up during the Festival season is concern? To who? Not the smiling thousands that partake yearly.Can i suggest that all PRUDES stay the f@#k away.

  30. Richard

    Yvonne, with all due respect this is a cultural event, unlike nothing that you might find in Canada. It is every easy for foreigners to see the wrongfulness in something that does not mimic their culture, so we have to be cognizant of that. On the other hand though, I don’t believe we have to display raw sexual overtures to enjoy ourselves at an event.

    I really think we can tone down some of this, especially since we have children in attendance. I am from Jamaica,(although this fact might disqualify me from commenting)and I will tell you this, most Jamaicans have contempt for this kind of vulgarity, passing as “wukking”or “brukking” or what ever you want to call it, similarlu, most well thinking Barbadians will have NOTHING to do with these kind of events either, but you should not expect to leave you homeland and expect to find things mirroring what you left behind in Canada, this is a diverse world Yvonne, with diverse cultures.

    You cannot and should not right off a country because of an event that you find distasteful, after all, there are so many other different things you could have done on the island to pass time, attending Crop Over is not mandatory while you are on the island, I suspect you never got that memo. Barbadians don’t get to decide what the Canadian culture look like, the same way Canadians don’t get to decide what the Barbadian culture should look like.

    Try coming to New York and attend the Gay Parade in New York City, and be honest with your comparison of both events, predictably, the Gay Pride would make Crop Over look like a picnic. I agree that the Bajans can tone it down a little, but the element of cultural relativism is pretty obvious in your argument. PS: I need me a bajam girl, anyone know of any lol.

  31. Richard

    ANONYMOUS you no easy at all my yute. I read your comment and I just had to laaf. One thing though Anonymous, you have to mek di people dem know who is a prude ok boss, sum people might not know what it really mean, you mad funny though. Sometimes we just have to just laugh and just have fun man that’s all, life is short.

  32. 66

    If Barbados Crop-Over Parties are so BAD, then you all should visit Jamaica and check out what goes on at their parties. “Stop Bashing we Culture.” We one time a year crop-over Fun.

  33. 224

    I always tell myself, this is the ONE MAJOR time of the year that people “let loose” true some let too much hang out (literally and figuratively), but to say that THAT behavior, during that SHORT time, affects the REST of the year? Give me a BREAK lady…seriously…

  34. Kerwin

    Wukking/whining/evolved African dance is such low horrid culture… We should put on our ballerina tights and do our splits with our knees up to the ears, etc. while ppl come to watch us at the theatre instead of on the streets. THAT’S high culture and NOT sexually suggestive AT ALL.

  35. Red man

    I don’t care if they wuk up & behave in a sexual way! The irony is the hypocrisy! They in church acting like dem all Christian & ting? Den wukking up & skinning dem botsie in the street!

  36. 66

    Party behaviour has gone way beyond where is once was. The young at heart party in a different style. However, one should take a trip to Jamaica as see what is partying or to see how the Jamaican’s party. ”

    Stop Bashing we Bajans”

  37. 58

    She has few good points however, that is all over the world since I live in Toronto we just had the Gay parade. I did not attend, however it is worse than what Bajan girls do.

  38. 58

    Tourists are not coming to Barbados because it is expensive lower the cost and it will attract more people.

  39. Even bajans were annoyed when they saw the picture of the young boy and the lady. have seen much worst and I think we need to police these acts. Don’t do it for the tourist. Do if for ourselves and the future generations.

  40. 58

    She should look up the gay parade in Toronto and see all the naked women and men with their penis out. Stop calling out your own people if you don’t like it stay the hell home that day. I stay in my house for gay parade.

  41. hammie

    I wish you people Would stop watching passa passa videos and thinking this is indicative of partying in Jamaica Steupse

  42. 32

    She obviously never saw the blue box cart band…..what would the tourists say when they see their own skin colour getting on with the same behaviour….pleaseeeeee

  43. 17

    So true Yvonne Barbadians need to learn how to behave on the streets .

  44. Keila

    At the end of the day everyone is entitled to their opinion,I think the the costumes needs to be revised but there are tourist that order those same costumes and jump every year and enjoy themselves doing the same thing that people are saying is wrong.If you like the idea come for crop over ,if you don’t like it come before or after crop over Barbados has other things to offer,check you tube other islands doing the same thing it isn’t nothing special about how Barbadians does party.

  45. Lola21

    I understand your point of view, but this cultural “behavior” or “misbehavior” is not specific to Barbados. Trinidad carnival is the same, the costumes are smaller and smaller years after years. Jamaica is the same, and St Lucia as well. It is all about a play on sexual dances and sexual games among people. It is dancing yes, the same way swing and blues dancing were outlawed as a matter of fact in the US for a while, because girls were jumping on them their legs wide open and being throw in the air with their skirt on top of their head (Did you watch Grease?)
    Now, we are in 2013 when provocation, over the top sexuality are the new trend, so of course carnival in every country in the world will be affected by it as well.
    It can be too much for some people, but it is a choice to be there or not. Barbados has a lot to offer, just don t go to Crop over, or warn the tourists that the culture is way different.

  46. Bajan

    Bajans fooling themselves that Barbados is so much more special than the other Caribbean islands that it is an experience…LOL…poorest hotels in the Caribbean except 5 and a Government that does nothing to more than talk tourism..A minister that is way out of his death and has done nothing but erode the gains in his 6 years. There has been no addition to the product in the past 6 years expect the poorly conceptualizer Heritage product which has a very distinguished designation and a group of jokers who don’t know how to develop it into a desirable product… I will not waste time to come back there again for a very long time as they have

    killed even the few business opportunities that once existed..

  47. gnp

    I’m a Barbadian and it’s becoming a disgrace to live in this country. I agree with the writer, he should find better use for his money. If you plan on spending time and money to see bajans at crop over, you might as well spend your money on watching pigs wallowing mud, it’s basically the same thing.

  48. 177

    i think u Yvonne or what ever need to stop and take a break, get out more and u urself need to let loose, Crop Over yes is not a Carnival, its the one time Bajans get to as we say “do we ting” or “do Bad” yea some people go overboard, but that is 1day and less than 24hours of gyrating an yes vulgarity, and we dont live in the 1940’s so u wont see modern people in cane cutter work clothes, yes feathers, heels and all the other decorations, mayb u need a little decorations urself, ppl want to feel and look pretty even if its for 6-7hours, and if Tourist who arent accustomed to our way of “partying” well too bad for them…. and to say that it is a reason for tourist not to come… they dont have to come to the crop over festivals if they want to see them go to the National Stadium “caw d road is we one” we bajans dont even revel with our children and if mine wants to see the costumes i am more then welcomed to go to the stadium where they are fresh and vibrant and less vlgarity… if i want to revel i going and wuk up and pooch back and let loose…up to the tourist not to join in the fun..

  49. kymy

    The children should stick to Kiddies kadooment and Bridgetown Market. let the adults free up themselves and do what they are entitled. I mean gosh…it’s the only time of the year where they can really let loose and enjoy themselves. However, I don’t agree with child-on-adult wucking up, its disgusting and seems to insinuate pedophilia. they need to cut that shit out. Encourage the kids of the visitors to attend the more suitable and age appropriate events for the kids. Stop putting children in big people mix up and then complain about what they see. The travel agent should know how to advise better on these things.

  50. Famz

    As a Muslim woman living in Barbados, I have never liked crop over for this, and I never understood how people could take part and even watch such disgusting behaviour. I understood why it was celebrated once when we actually had crop to celebrate about, but we no longer have crop, so why is it still being called ‘crop over’. It’s degrading to see people of my island behave this way and I have to ask, have we no longer any dignity and modesty to behave in such a manner and show the world our ‘culture’.

  51. 193

    Thanks Yvonne, I am also a bajan living in Canada and was home last year at that time. You tell the truth Bajans have become a set of lewd ignorant follow pattern people. Everybody bad habits they pick up and argue that other people does it. We have Caribana here in TO with costumes etc with bajans, trinis etc participating but not that vulgar and outrageous behaviour you see in Bim. The people has lost their pride and have 0 shame and before they take constructive criticism and improve themselves they bring a bunch of hogwash rhetoric.

  52. Cycles

    Tourism is dying because Barbados is just too darn expensive. Too many hotels and guest houses with respect to the actual number of tourists that will visit..
    “We culture” , “our culture”, and “keeping it real” are just excuses to be rude, crude and lewd.

  53. jono

    I’m English and am gutted I shall miss kadooment this year. My 12 year old son thinks it hysterical and loves pigtails n wings. I like the contrast between the upright behaviour of the Sunday at the Bajan market and the release of Kadooment day. So many wonderful things to see n do. From the Pork lime to Oistins , Granny’s to Naru and the 6am call of the ocean for my sea bath on the reef at Accra. Pull the poker out love! The only ting ya get wrong is the cost of coming. The rest is fine by me. Thanks to all of you for the terrific hospitality n I’ll see y’all next year!

  54. Simone

    While I agree that Kadooment has evolved into something a lot of people loathe, it is not the reason for our decline in tourism; in fact that has generated a totally different group of people. Have you seen the price to book a ticket to here lately? Even my aunt complained and she comes down from England every year.

    Anyway, slackness should never be used as an excuse for having fun, yuh slack, end of story. All this “culture” people talking about, is this all we have to offer?

  55. Don’t worry, I’ll go to the church on Sunday to regret my behavior

  56. Wait this aint the same canada that just not too long ago held an even called ” PRIDE ” with some seriously gay action up in there ….. Dearest Yvonne i’ll give you an easy bajan saying ( which you can look up since it is part of our culture too ) ” don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house ” so you may need to check your culture before you come criticizing someone else’s….

  57. Jamaican

    And Barbados need not adjust its pop culture to satisfy a tourist. Caribbean dances are all sexual, we are a sexual region. She is Canadian so she has been to Caribana and seen the same thing so no need to be such an alarmist.

  58. Oh Yeah!!!

    This is done at ALL the Carnivals: Trinidad, St Lucia, St Vincent, etc they all GYRATE and wear Skimpy Clothing!!!

    DO you really believe tourists aren’t coming to Barbados because of one day in the year???? Give me a Break! They gyrate the same way in St Lucia and people are going there, it has to be something else!

  59. 5

    Yvonne, you are typically one of those persons who pretend to be better than any one else here because you have moved on. You have obviously forgotten that it is a carnival and a carnival is the one time of the year when the most well behaved drop all airs and inhibitions and literally let go. Tourism declines because poor great assholes like you give your own country a bad name. Visit Brazil orTrinidad and learn something about a carnival before you try to impose your bourgeois pretensions on Barbados.

  60. Backback

    Poor neglected Bajans. Got to have the finest of everything in imitation of other cultures and countries, NEED tourists dollars to survive and buy US on the street, yet get all defensive and nasty when they are called out. It is so laughable. Nearly every young person would jump at the chance to live in America or Toronto; there is certainly NOTHING left here for them to earn a living and prosper. All down the drain. So why not act like tribal idiots with debasing antics that offend most decent people in the world. But you better believe that the buffoons running the country still have dey hand out. Barbados: shit in one hand, wish in the other and see which one fills up faster.

  61. 211

    I live here and I also find the behavior vulgar and that is not culture , that is just vulgarity.

  62. 241

    Utter Utter Utter Utter BULL TO THE SHIT…..You are acting like this is an everyday act, It isn, The caribbean is best known for their style of dancing, It’s one day a year, when bajans are freely allowed to behave as they please and have a good time, if you do not wanna witness it stay df home….SIMPLE, dont come to our country with your stuck up ass criticizing the little shit we do, We have plenty other activites and entertainment for you to endorse, so insted of focusing on the smallest shit, focus on the biggest ones, for example, we have pan on the sand, kiddy kadooment, reggae on the beach etc…So just let us enjoy our self, for one of the best seasons of the year for us and leave us alone.

  63. LOOK

    They desperately need tourist and should behave better.

  64. How ridiculous

    How ridiculous to suggest that it’s Crop Over that’s affecting tourism…..It’s not like there is an international economic crisis or anything? What an absolutely ridiculous thing to suggest.
    Carry on smartly, old timer. While we can all agree that the dancing and apparel are both suggestive, that only thing that could do to tourism would be to give it a boost.

  65. 132

    @ How ridiculous

    You are just that – ridiculous.

  66. man77

    What a far fetched projection. It is the high prices here, and collapse of the World economy is also affecting tourism internationally. Wukking up at a once-a-year event will not deter any significant number of tourists. I bet the dads with their kids wished they were gyrating too and had left the old bag at home.

  67. Vennesia Trotman

    Enough said, cropover does not last the entire year, there are other events going on all year round I am a Barbadian and a proud one too. All the people you see are not from Barbados, please find another excuse for you not trying to promote Barbados, look at the young white women who go to the Island to get their groove on you should be promoting safe sex

  68. 2

    I have to say that I disagree with the statement that this is why tourists are avoiding Barbados or not coming back — compared to a lot of other countries’ carnivals Crop Over festivities are actually pretty tame. Even Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Fantasy Fest in Key West are much more lewd and lasviscious than Crop Over in Barbados.

    In my opinion, the reason that tourism is declining in Barbados is varied but one of the BIGGEST reasons is because of the cost. Barbados has gotten incredibly expensive and they are looking to raise VAT again — and it just becomes cost-prohibitive for most people to come and actually enjoy themselves. And, then because of the tough economy of Barbados, many places have closed down which further limits choices of places tourists can go to. You add the high cost to poor customer service (in many places); and the increasing crime rate and you have lower tourism numbers.

  69. jono

    If I had the money I would be pack in now! The international banking conjuring trick is to blame. But maybe a little too is allowing the
    Iikes of them fancy places north of Bridgetown to monopolise access to your beautiful beach front. Last year I took an run up the west coast in aunty Lynnette’s tercel an the whole place was sort of closed for business. One hotel takes a hit and so many folk feel the pinch. It makes a mockery of your wonderful right of access law. Ya problem is simple you rely on the whims of the rich! Maybe its time to unblock the canons and resurrect the black flag. (Sorry I get carried away.)

  70. Delavegas

    Frustrated businessman,

    You are the IDIOT. Coming online to voice the bile inside yourself. If you feel shamed why don’t you do something about it, rather than come online to degrade people “Another side-effect of fatherless families at the lowest class of humanity”…. Whatever the vice, who’s fault is it? As you put it, The kids who never had a father figure or the nincompoop such as yourself, who believe they know it all, ignorant, pompous bastard. yeah, you think you have the monopoly on insults yeah. Why haven’t you begun community programs sensitizing and trying to change the public’s attitude?

    My point is still the same…..You don’t like something then get the Fcuk away from it. Quit standing in the corner with your camera phone filming and a look of disgust on your face.

  71. 117

    UMM Frustrated businessman wtf does being fatherless have to do with anything stupse -.- you adults need a reality check

  72. Joyce Niles

    I am a Barbadian living abroad. Yes! When I come home to my country, I am shocked to see the ridiculous behavior of the young people. It’s not only @ Crop-Over, it’s any time of the year. Maybe I am too old, but I don’t ever remembering behaving in this disgusting manner when we as young people were growing up in Barbados. I don’t really understand what the vulgarism is all about.

  73. 240

    discipline starts at home

  74. How ridiculous

    July 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    “@ How ridiculous

    You are just that – ridiculous.”


    Seeing your response, full of points and valid arguments, has shown me the light!
    How ridiculous for the tourism sector to take a hit in a worldwide recession! Surely its our peoples dancing and not the fact that tourists can’t afford it anymore.

  75. DLee

    Dear Ms. Bramson,
    I think you have well overlooked comparing Cropover to the carnivals of other countries such as Trinidad & Tobago and Brazil. Brazil in particular is known for its flamboyant costumes and risque behavior associated with carnival. Believe me, NO ONE who is traveling to those festivals is offended because they know what they’re expecting when they go there. I live in the US and even at W.I. Carnival in Brooklyn, and even your own city of Toronto’s Caribana you will see nearly nude revelers parading about.

    I think the main issue affecting Barbados’ tourism (as mentioned in one of the earlier posts) is the price of airfare and hotel. A family of 4 would have a difficult time affording such a costly trip in these current economic times. Then there is also the cost of food and entertainment to consider. People are looking for cheaper vacations at a beach locale such as Mexico or Bahamas. My favorite example of an alternate Caribbean vacation is St. Lucia because its cost effective, the people are friendly, and the beaches are gorgeous. In terms of being able to provide the best Caribbean vacation, I think Barbados has the most to offer – hands down! Natural wonders, pristine beaches, active nightlife and entertainment (before the current situation), great people, best rum, and sports. The problem is making that accessible to North Americans and Europeans at an affordable price.

    Ms. Bramson, I have to say that I am disappointed in the way that you are choosing to react to this situation, especially as someone with Barbadian heritage and someone who works in travel. In your statement you mention that you plan to avoid Barbados also, and to spend your money to visit somewhere else. I’m sorry but that sounds like you are being a “fair weather friend” of the country that you claim to care so deeply about. When things get a little tough (in this case specifically the economy) you can see who your true supporters are. In your position as a travel agent I am sure that you have contacts at different hotels, and are able to candidly suggest that there needs to be a change in order to attract more customers. You yourself should should encourage your customers to visit the island, even if not exactly at Cropover time. You know that people who live in cold countries always need a winter escape. So, Ms. Bramson, if you are not going to help be a part of the solution, you should stop spreading rumors that affect the livelihoods of so many in such a tiny nation.

    Finally, Ms Bramson, I think every Barbadian and many others have seen that photo from last year’s Kadooment. This is does not reflect the sentiments of a nation and NO ONE condones this type of behavior towards children. This was definitely an isolated incident and does not in any way represent Barbadian culture at Cropover.

    Please think about what you are portraying Barbados to be to your clients. Hospitality is still a Bajan specialty. Remember that you might look at your job as just helping someone plan a vacation, but that Little Barbados needs the boost in business.

  76. Boar Crab

    WE culture my ass,,,,nasty ,,dirty is NASTY,,,DIRTY……..keep pretending that dat is we culture,,,,yah cheap,,shallow,slutty bunch of NUFFERNEAREINGS,,,,,,,,,,,Feed shit to a child when it born,,,,and that will become caviar in time,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Stinking dogs all yuh are !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  77. Rob

    I have been married to a Bajan for years and we have family that lives there and yes it is expensive to fly and eat but we are family and we hope things get better so young people have a future to stay and raise their families.
    Barbados has changed over the years and it gets better. It has a heritage of many different people who made this nation grow and be world known for its people, educations leaders trained at major universities around the world. Sure some are jerks but we have ones in our countries also. The average Bajan is a proud intelligent person, friendly and in most cases hardworking and I know exceptions exist. Crime exists but nowhere like other areas. It is a costly place to live with high taxes but I do not have to buy clothes for four seasons either 🙂
    As to Crop Over fests, it is party time and as many have said for a few hours spread over a few days and tame compared to other countries including parades in Canada , UK , USA.

    Lots of young people enjoy dressing up (sure not much clothes but more than on the beach). It is a lot of fun, at my age I now watch and laugh.
    I love seeing the pictures posted afterwards of young folks and their friends afterwards of family. It will be precious memories down the road and an excuse to come back to Bim. Well any excuse works,,,
    Money is spent, people dance, sing and then wonder the next day what time it is , SMILE….. life is too damm short..

  78. 162

    Will probably get worse

  79. iabingy

    man bajans dont even work with crops hardly. crop over what?
    you mean drunken debauchery not reflecting anything to do with the African culture or the Irish ,Scottish,English.
    is just a stinking copy of stinking whoring Trinidad.
    oh yes i forgot. Irish slaves were the first slaves on barbados some 15 years before any African bajan set foot on bimshire.
    now if a black person is a African American?
    is not a Barbadian a African Barbadian???????????
    no blacks,Africans are indigenous to the Caribbean.
    your culture is from where you came.
    drums,spears,men dress as warriors and jump around to drumming,topless women in grass skirts.
    this crap over is just plain nasty bajans degrading themselves.
    no white person should have a part in it.
    Irish dancing and singing,Scottish games,English were our enemy.
    they indeed should have no part in it.
    but you see the low class English are much like the low class bajans.
    or worst i would say.
    i done talk.

  80. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    Permit me to say that there are a few idiots here who do not understand that that sexually explicit dance you call fun depicted in crop over is creating negativity for the island. How the heck can some of you idiots justify a little boy ‘wukking’ up on an adult woman in a position that is depicted in sexual intimacy. You call this nonsense fun and then do not understand why there is more deviant behaviour amongst your young people. You stupid adults are condoning a so called fun that is demeaning, sexual and leaves nothing for the imagination. Crop over is your number one attraction to lure tourist to your island. Your island is dependent on tourism to fuel your dependent economy. In essence, though crop over is yours locally, it is also featured internationally and a lot of people have video footage of what it involves. Many come to your island to enjoy the festival and let me tell you many are appalled by what they see. Many here in Germany are saying that the locals at the after parties are very aggressive and violent and seem to think that every white women comes to your island looking to sample the male Mandingo.You cannot walk in piece without being harass by some male looking get a piece. Certainly you do not want to create bad press with practices that others find despicable but you seem think is quite normal just because you have been doing it for a long time. You do not even know that many tourist are finding other destinations to visit. You Barbadians need to wake up and see where you are going before you find out that its a road of no return.

  81. 135

    i have lived in Barbados all my life and now find out that lewdness is part of our culture. wow!

  82. iabingy

    i still want to know if political correctness is alive in barbados.
    is a English bajan called a English bajan?
    is a African bajan called a African bajan?
    is a Irish bajan called a Irish bajan?
    is a Scottish bajan called a Scottish bajan?
    is a Chinese bajan called a Chinese bajan?
    is a Indian bajan called a Indian bajan?
    you get my drift????????????
    so why in America a negro is called a African american?
    are Irish Americans called Irish Americans?
    and so and so forth.
    and if not why are the Africans the only ones wanted to be called this.?
    extremely weird.
    you would think if Africa was so important to the African american they would return at their first chance.!
    or is it all a bunch of foolishness.?
    did some one die and left the Africans in charge of something?
    unable to even invent the wheel when found in Africa.
    weird stuff?

  83. J Brewster

    Excellent article. It seems that many of the “lawmakers” in Barbados are willing to accept this type of behaviour for the sake of popularity. We appear to be following the poor practices and lewd behaviour that goes on in other countries.
    From a proud bajan living in England.

  84. 132

    The tourism ship has lost course because Barbados is no longer a popular destination. At this point, there is nothing anyone can do not even that nut case Rihanna.

  85. Raymond Bajan Proud

    This post has garnered many comments, from the sublime to the utterly ridiculous. From some contributors like Boar Crab, Backback, Iabingy and Frustrated Businessman. Some people just don’t’ know what to say, so they say some ridiculous things.
    Other contributors had fairly good points on both sides of the argument. Even though I didn’t necessarily agree with all they had to say. All in all it made for interesting reading and was very thought provoking.
    Let me first say, to Sunshine Sunny Shine; that picture was very appalling to all who saw it. Nowhere in any of the responses, did you hear anyone defend the pic or the use of the child, in that way. NO ONE called that ‘fun’.
    Ashlee Estwick had some very good points but, D Lee’s piece was well written and right on point.
    To Ms. Bramson, I think that as a travel agent and as a person who claims to have Bajan roots or connections, that you went about this the wrong way. Barbados is a fine place to visit, with a history of stable government, stable economy; albeit rocked by the global economic downturn. There are lots of places to visit here and lots to do here beside Crop Over. Even during the Crop Over season, there is plenty to do beside standing and watching the revelers on Kadooment day . Kadooment day is only one (1/2) day in over a month of great activities. None of which have to do with any inappropriate behavior whatsoever. You can sell your customers on ‘The perfect winter getaway’, Sell the ‘beaches’, sell the historic sites, sell them on flying here and taking Carnival Cruise Lines to other islands in the region and spending a couple of days here basking in the sun. What kind of travel agent are you? It is a dying profession, only the best of the best can survive in today’s internet driven world.
    Do you steer customers and yourself clear of Trinidad, Brazil, Brooklyn, NY, Miami, Atlanta,Las Vegas, New Orleans etc.? And do you post negative articles about these places and their lascivious and lewd goings on? Or is it just pick on little Barbados time? TnT and Brazil both have world renowned carnivals packed full with ‘sex’ any and everywhere, unlike anything we see in Barbados. Brooklyn, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Toronto etc.. all host carnivals/parades that mimic a true carnival and all have participants who push the envelope as far as they can for lewdness,nakedness and imitation sex. Las Vegas, (SIN city) now promotes itself as kids/family friendly but, you can’t walk down the strip with your kids without being bombarded with small cards picturing naked call girls, or seeing the ocassional naked boobs with nothing more that a tassle to cover the nipples. At Mardi Gras, bare naked boobs, painted boobs, and girls just flashing their boobs for beads are the norm, sex on the streets and in alleys are not unusual. I’m waiting to read your warnings to your clients on why not to visit these places and others that are similarly guilty.
    I am not saying that Barbados should become these places, or that if it is good for these places that it should be fine for Barbados as well. I am simply saying there is a lot of double standards and that we as Bajans always buy into it. A lot of comments here were from Bajans just willing to kick the crap out of our beautiful Island. I am a proud 100% Bajan. We may not be perfect but, then again, who is? We may be worse than some but, we are definite better than most.
    I’ve lived in NY for 38 years and LOVE no place in the world like I LOVE Barbados. I am in Barbados most Crop over seasons but, I do not participate nor do i go and watch the revelry on Kadooment day. The pan events are more my thing, and pan-pun-de-sand is spectacular.
    While I do agree that there may be some things that can be improved upon, here in Barbados, I believe that as a travel agent and a so-called ‘friend’ of Barbados, that Ms. Bramson could have gone about this a much better and certainly more professional way. This was very shameful. Perhaps you should meet with some of our tourism officials here or in Canada and discuss more appropriate and effective ways to market this great and beautiful Island, BARBADOS!

  86. I don’t know if that is a major concern, perhaps minor. You will find equal amounts of carnival slackness throughout the world. I don’t discount your point of view, but I believe its more a matter of simple economics and the increasing cost of travel. People are just being more economical in their travel choices.

  87. Hate the Orgy

    Some Bajans just like to do bare wufflessness on the street. I now stay away from this orgy they call a street parade.

  88. Anonymous


  89. Robbie

    question: what percentage of Bajans are actually jumping now as to compared to 10, 15, 20 years ago? Is the behavior the travel agent describing those of Bajans or other islanders? I’ve watched some of the videos of cropover on youtube and I must say that a lot of the interviewees don’t sound Bajan.

  90. 42

    Its ironic how to make yourself feel better, you have to pull Jamaica into this. Jamaica does not have a problem attracting tourists.

  91. 219

    Yvonne Bramson with all due respect you said ” you have been to many Caribbean and other countries festivals and I have to say Barbados is over the top. It is not at all what it was meant to be. What disturbs me most is that I believe that the majority of the Bajan people don’t think this behavior is abnormal ” Tell me something What do you think of the gay pride parade in Toronto? Totally nude men and women walking in the streets freely, and as I know it, women in Toronto can go topless without being charged if they chose, they passed the law….. And as a travel agent I’m very surprised you are of closed mind. I’m a Bajan living in Canada and I’ve been to pride parade with an open mind. It was just a celebration. No one was hurt or killed or raped there and I’ve never heard of any in Barbados. If you learned and mingled more with us bajans, You will learn we only ” gyrate” on those we know, out in a crowd or in a crowd and if we bajan women don’t wish to have anyone gyrate on us, we just have to give a man one look and he knows it is not happening and he moves on, if we don’t consent it don’t happen. I’ts our culture.It’s and understanding. We are about Love and unity. We may not be perfect but, then again, who is? We may be worse than some but, we are definite better than most. (Quote taken from Raymond above) thank you Proud to be Bajan.

  92. There is a difference between culture and lewd behavior, end of story!

  93. LOOK

    There is certainly lewd behavior in bajan culture. Canadian Travel Agent, Yvonne Bramson herself saw this and secured a photo.

  94. angela

    its the crime rate going up why tourist dont come as well as the price in airfares

  95. Jacie

    I would think that practically having sex in the street is not part of bajan culture, equally the girls who get down on all fours in the street and in the nightclubs showing everything they’ve got underneath really shouldn’t take offence when guys take pictures, which I have observed when I’ve been in Barbados! From my observations I think the lower class females behave like so as no female with an ounce of respect for herself or her family would behave in such a disgusting manner,

  96. Richard Johnston

    Little as I enjoy raucous festivals, and Cropover is one such, “Yvonne’s” story does not pass the sniff test. She has been put up to it by some puritanical Bajan, or she is a puritanical Bajan herself with an axe to grind.

  97. Anonymous

    someting that would revitalised the torism industry is moving with the times and creating new things of interest.

  98. Guider

    The reason most Canadians avoid Barbados is because of crime, either against the person, or property. I lived and worked in Barbados 30 years ago, when mostly people were safe. I still know a good few Bajans who tell me about the awful crime situation. Tourists have many choices in this world that are much safer, and that is were their time and dollars will be spent. The Crop Over sounds like over-exuberent behaviour and without being there, I cannot comment. Stay away from the area if you don’t like it. But crime will come and get you anywhere. Barbados, clean up crime, then the tourists will return

  99. wengers court jeser

    Well said Yvonne, Barbados is a shadow of what it used to be and it’s not just Barbados, the same thing is happening all over!

  100. stixx

    What Ms. Bramson stated here can be dissected and criticized in many ways. But there is no denying that at the heart of her commentary resides undeniable truths about the decline of Barbadian society. Ms. Bramson, the future will undoubtedly prove you correct if the hubris of your detractors prevail. Barbadians better get their act together with haste. I we don’t protect the conservative values that once defined us, fight the adoption of the worse of other societies and ours, then we will become a very poor, crime ridden, dilapidated country that no one will give a modicum of consideration to as a vacation destination. Once that happens there will be no way out. I live in the US I read a lot on the internet about the goings on in Barbados. I was always happy to hear good things about the country but in the last few years its perpetually bad tidings. Increased criminal activity including heinous acts of violence, overzealous customs officials, rude and bombastic attitudes that seem to now define us. Government, schools, businesses, religious organization had better come together to address this or there will be dire consequences. Bajans, think what we may about other Caribbean countries, in the end there is nothing really unique about Barbados except for its once conservative ways, and safety. Nice beaches can be found all over the Caribbean so leave that out. This is an island of little to no natural resources, culturally there is nothing overwhelmingly compelling, let us not be fooled. Trinidad has its issues but there is oil, St. Lucia can certainly feed its people if worse came to worse, and as for Jamaica, well whatever the criticisms mighty be it certainly is not a one trick pony. Once arguably considered as having the highest murder rate in the world foreigners still visited in relatively high numbers. Amidst it all there is the culture, food, music, history, fun, diversity and beauty that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. There is certain in-your-face-ness and arrogance/pride, but at the same time they are very warm people and have much to tout about. If Barbados ever approaches 1/100th of a percent of the adversities that plagued Jamaica, not a single sole from anywhere in the world, NOT ONE, would ever come to Barbados. Finally, it is time Barbados work diligently towards phasing out its reliance on tourism. The only salvation is EDUCATION, EDUCATION, and EDUCATION. Not this 97% literacy rate that we have been bragging about since Adam was a boy but real knowledge and expertise that is of value in this global economy the fact that someone can read or write is nothing to brag about. Big F-ing deal. Very 1960’s thinking. As for crime, I would suggest punishments that are only second in severity to that of Singapore. Barbados has existed on a fragile foundation that was once guarded. It is now allowed to weeds to take hold and ignore it’s housekeeping. Don’t be surprised if we one day end up job hunting in Haiti.

  101. Krissy

    i am a Canadian and I love everything about Barbados! The food, the music, the people, the rich culture, the beautiful beaches and island. Did i mention the food…. The dancing is amazing! really wonderful to watch. I love the costumes. You have to understand the culture to appreciate the uniqueness. There is always extreme people everywhere, but i don’t let that bother my travel experience. LOVE YOU BARBADOS

  102. Krissy

    However, I do agree with the travel agent, what is going on in this photo is not good.