Why a restaurant worker’s selfie photo with Robert Van Persie was bad for Barbados

Robert-Van-Persie selfie with hotel worker

Photo controversy has a big message for Bajans: Remember what made Barbados the choice of the rich and famous – and how we all benefited from our image.

Frank Sinatra would have understood why The Cliff Restaurant suspended employee Kyson Forde for asking Manchester United striker Robert Van Persie to take a photo with him.

Back in 1967 BFP’s Auntie Moses had an encounter with the famous Rat Pack member (as told by Marcus. God, how I miss him)…

“The super rich and famous have always had their gates and guards, and I guess I don’t begrudge them a little privacy. Shona’s Auntie Moses tells a fabulous story about meeting Frank Sinatra when he ran into the kitchen where she was working. Auntie Moses and her friends hid Frankie in a walk-in cooler for a few minutes until his need passed. Then he talked with the staff for half an hour, had a beer and gave all the girls a big kiss before he left. He also sent autographed photos the next day. (Certainly a different profile of Sinatra’s character than one might think by reading some other accounts. Auntie Moses hasn’t washed that cheek since 1967!)”

… from BFP’s Rich and Not-So-Rich Brits Flock To Barbados Gated Communities

This island used to be the first choice for the rich and famous of the world. There were reasons for that – our pristine beaches, some upscale accommodations, and most important the Bajan ‘doan care who you are, everybody is welcome’ attitude. You are rich? Famous? Who cares? Never heard of you and even if I did, have a rum and a cutter.

Now everybody has a camera in their phone. It’s not much of a proper camera but everybody has one and feels obliged to record everything. Are we better for it as people and society? I don’t think so.

The rich and famous came here partially because Barbados offered as much privacy and anonymity as possible in a vacation destination. Within walls and upscale hotels, the rich and famous could relax and not worry that their every movement and word would be reported. (That went for the Royal Family too, although it didn’t work out all that well for Princess Margaret and her toyboy.)

Kyson Forde was suspended because he forgot that Mr. Van Persie was our guest – not only at The Cliff Restaurant, but on this island. Mr. Van Persie was good enough to stand for the photo, but he was probably thinking very unkind thoughts about The Cliff and his vacation in Barbados. It’s part of the Bajan deal with the rich and famous: we don’t make a big deal of our guests.

There are many qualities of our culture and business sense that we’ve lost over the years, and the ability to not see anything when appropriate is one of those lost Bajan qualities.

Barbados still has the qualities that attracted the rich and famous for the last 50 years – but we’re losing them. You know we are. I won’t list them all here but think about the changes to our environment and culture. Any Bajan knows what has changed so I won’t go into it further right now.

Congratulations to the management of The Cliff Restaurant for maintaining our standards, and in doing so protecting the reputation of our country. The mainstream media covered Kyson Forde’s suspension extensively, and that probably did far more to promote our tourism product to the rich and famous than anything else this year.

And a big welcome back to Kyson Forde after his suspension. Hopefully he has done some thinking about his job. If not, there are a hundred others who will apply for his position.

Further Reading

Waiter suspended for snapping pictures with Van Persie

Mirror UK: Robin Van Persie almost selfie costs Barbados waiter his job.



Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Culture & Race Issues

40 responses to “Why a restaurant worker’s selfie photo with Robert Van Persie was bad for Barbados

  1. What’s the big deal really?

  2. MoneyBrain

    ROBIN did the decent thing and beg for him. Poor chap maybe religously involved with Soccer. He shoulda give Robin VP a clip around the head for playing crappy in the WC! Clown was OFFSIDE far too much! Disappointing to fans like myself.

  3. yatinkiteasy

    Van Persie was an a. hole..if he did not want to take a photo with a Cliff employee, he could have just put up his hand, palm out, and said quietly..no thanks…and that would have been IT!.. Instead, he poses with the excited Kyson, then goes back to his villa to complain…what a pussy!

  4. MoneyBrain

    Where you heard that RVP called to complain?

  5. yatinkiteasy

    That was what was reported in the press; that he had complained to the villa management, who in turn complained to the Cliff.If that did not happen, I take back my pussy comment. However, I agree with you on the offsides though..almost every play..there he was…offside.

  6. MoneyBrain

    Had only heard he had put in a good word! But if he did launch a complaint he was really OFFSIDE! Send him a RED CARD!

  7. Anita

    While I understand the actions of the management and the arguments why the rich and famous come to Barbados, clearly you not understand what it means to be a Manchester United fan. One indiscretion could have been forgiven. Just saying…

  8. I stayed in Barbados in 2006 and had to leave the island due to my two slipped discs and had such a fantastic time for 13 weeks I didn’t want to leave.The Bajans are the most friendliest people in the world.If that overpaid person , who deserves no special treatment, should think himself lucky to be photographed with a Fan.Who do they think they are special.no they are tosspots and do not deseave any special treatment. They are horrible people especially those who play for english clubs. Shame on van persie, he has become too big for his boots .if I see him in Amsterdam I will give him a piece of my mind.I am of flemish descent and he makes me sick , Good luck Kyson don’t let it worry you , you have been treated unfairly. Big up mate , hope to see you soon .lol

  9. Colin

    The Queen doesn’t mind having her photo taken with her subjects. What makes Bajans so special?

  10. yatinkiteasy

    @Colin…you don`t seem to understand the story. Bajans are very happy to have their pics taken with celebrities…The story is Bajans who work in the Tourism industry should not ask visiting “celebrities”, who are Gods, apparently, to have their photo taken with the Gods.

  11. slippery slope

    I have to agree with the author of this piece. Some people who are only marginally famous (the 15 minutes of fame) are driven crazy by a hundred fuxking autograph requests a day, to the point where they can’t go out in public. People following them around, collecting discarded serviettes at the pub, that sort of thing. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have long term fame to the point where you can’t walk on the street.

    These people need some downtime and privacy and they are willing to pay for it. Barbados used to provide that downtime but if we don’t anymore someone else will.

  12. Cycles

    Cameras, cameras everywhere. Everybody is looking for the ultimate selfie regardless of the risks involved.
    Rules of conduct must be established for the work place. Employers and employees must be made aware and understand said rules. If you screw up . Too bad!

  13. Rules are good!

    Kyson Forde is lucky to have his job. He must be a good employee who made a mistake. He’s had his chance and it serves as a good warning to all employees who work with famous people: there are rules and the rules matter.

  14. Vehemently disagree with ebtire scenario, another example how racism & labor relations continue to oppress instead of uplift the Bajan worker – will do a full rebuttal on my site shortly…

  15. Colin

    As a regular visitor to the island, I just don’t see what the big deal is. Now, if Mr Forde had been suspended for piss poor service, which is a regular occurence at most restaurants, then I would have some sympathy. But really, a big song and dance about a photograph. Get a life people.

  16. ask me for a pic...not a problem

    As a regular visitor to both Barbados and The Cliff…RVP looked as though he didn’t mind….it must happen thousands of times when he is at Old Trafford…Can understand why the cliff took the action they did, and also understand that RVP was on holiday….but not like it a big deal, but then all premiership footballers behave like tarts on and off the pitch so would make sense that he didn’t have the balls to simply say “I would prefer you not to take a picture thanks”, but then that would involve both courtesy and intelligence….footballers have neither

    btw in back in ~Bim in a weeks time, so take as many pics as you want of me

  17. New world order

    The cliff management went too far …. I call it plantation syndrome … Clearly not a chill place to work when u could lose your job like that … The cliff lost me as a customer that’s how I’m gonna deal with that ….

  18. Anonymous

    Sure dimwits, ignore what are mandatory requirements for dealing with the rich and famous…they will go elsewhere and we’ll be better off for it you shyte for brains morons. SHUT UP!

  19. D Oracle

    Anonymous, totally agree…you’d think after all these years the tourism industry would have figured it out, but noooooooooooo….a holes abound! I would have fired his stupid ass.

  20. Colin

    “Mandatory requirements for dealing with the rich and famous”.? WTF!

  21. D Oracle.

    Colin, whether you like it or not, the rich and famous ARE different to all others and require a different approach to the masses. End of story if you want them as paying customers.

  22. D Oracle.

    Anonymous is 100% correct!

  23. Cycles

    “Mandatory requirements for dealing with the rich and famous”
    Basically, the rich and famous want the “service” staff to be seen and not heard. That might have been so in my parents and grandparents time but not today. Right or wrong, that is not the issue here. The issue here discretion and privacy. That all went out the window when everybody became a photo-journalist. If the rich and famous can’t get what they want here they will go elsewhere.

  24. D Oracle.

    And when they go elsewhere how does that affect us? Negatively people, that’s how….another nail in our coffin!

  25. Colin

    I’m rich – doesn’t bother me getting my photo taken.

  26. MoneyBrain

    I have a picture of U cheating with someone else—ok wid U???

  27. D Oracle.

    COLIN, what’s good for you could kill somebody else as MB just pointed out.


    Screw the rich & famous. Most of them are assholes anyway, with their sense of entitlement. Let them go somewhere else. This island would do a lot better of if we worried about the regular folk more and less about kissing the ass of the 1%.

  29. MoneyBrain

    Sounds good on the surface BUT are U saying that we are not better off than before Tiger Woods spent over $1,000,000 on his Wedding at Sandy Lane, NOT to mention what the guests spent? Not to consider those richasses that now return to Bim as a result. Lets forget about that FREE Advertising!

    What you think happens when British people of all income groups know that Rooney has place in Bim? Woosnam the Golfer?

    Agreed that these peeps should not be permitted to take advantage of Bajans. BUT Bajans should be providing the utmost in service if for no other reason than survival.

    Assuming U have great concepts of how to reposition Bajan tourism or new industries to supplant, Tourism please feel free to explain.


    Well, I’m sure most of whatever Tiger spent stayed in the hands on the owners of Sandy Lane. Maybe a few crumbs trickled down to the rest of us. In case you have not noticed, America has had a grand experiment in trickle down economics since Regan took over in the 80’s. It’s pretty clear that it has not worked. It won’t work here either. You have to build an economy from the bottom up – not top down. That would be a good place to start.

  31. MoneyBrain

    U obviously intend to ignore the multiplication effect I lucidly pointed out.

    The US economy and global economies are in a mess for a multiplicity of reasons:
    1 Banking et al were ENCOURAGED by Govt to misbehave in order to fulfill a very ERRANT policy in the US that every one should own their Home. Sounds good once people are going to work hard and deserve a home BUT not by attempting to use Banking to provide homes to LazyAsses who lack the discipline to deserve homeownership. It was and IS an exceedingly gargantuan ERROR!

    2 The US Govt permitted China a free and easy entrance into the WTO. Common sense dictated that China should have been required to
    a float their currency freely
    b take legal action to protect patents.
    c implement fair labour laws
    d proper pollution control
    Just a brief few points.

    Good Governments lead by appreciating certain critical facts
    1 incentive, keep Taxes as low as practical
    2 JOBS in your Nation MUST come first.
    3 educate and train the people
    4 help the populace BUT implement a DISCIPLINED system to cut OFF help to people who are LAZYASSES that are playing the Nation for a free ride!
    Just a brief note.


    Your “multiplication effect” is just speculation. You have no hard proof of that.

    On the other hand…..the high Barbados unemployment rate is not just theory. Sorry, I don’t know the exact number. I believe it’s around 20%. The people over at Sandy Lane are doing just fine. The rest of us, not so much.

    I don’t need an economic lesson on the past ten years, I know what happened. All I know is that the middle class has been devastated both in the US and over here from the trickle down theory that you seem to be in favor of. Upward mobility? Gone. “Good Govts keep taxes as low as possible”? For who?


    ….and other thing

    Just in case I did not make it clear, the OP is a perfect example of the 1% entitled attitude. Dare you commoner to snap a picture of us and your ass is out the door. This Van Persie dude should be thrilled that someone wants to take a picture with him! In five years, no one will even remember who he is. Let’s not forget, this guy makes his living playing a game. He might be very good at it, but let’s keep things in perspective. There seems to be a very low threshold for what passes for celebrity these days.

  34. D Oracle.

    Sure TWWIFOS, ignore reality, that works really well.


    They only people the are ignoring reality are the ones who still believe that trickle down economics works.

  36. Beefcake

    The problem isn’t about one photograph; the problem is about escalation. A few years ago I recall seeing 7 celebrities within a week at a west coast restaurant. Imagine if each night they are getting one request for a photo, plus wherever they go for lunch or into town? Why should Forde be so special to have the only fan shot? Everyone would want to be next, I know I would.
    The solution is to return to bragging rights about who you saw and where.
    On the trickle down economics bit and telling people to go elsewhere, that is a mixed bag of intelligence and ignorance in a single statement. If you lose a million dollar client, you don’t pick up another one in any hurry (if ever). There is no waiting list of rich people trying to enter Barbados for a holiday.
    I agree that the trickle down effect doesn’t work. However, by providing excellent service, variety, quality, and reasons to return – then you can help encourage them to part with their money in villas/hotels, restaurants, shops, boat rentals, golf, transport, bars, and wherever. At least their spending will help those few businesses, their employees, and their suppliers.
    Don’t ruin a good thing, the government has been proven to ruin the economy for us. We need to encourage and promote Barbados as individuals since no one else will.


    If getting his pict taken is the most this guy has to worry about, his a very lucky person indeed. If he does not want his pict taken, he can just say no thanks. That’s part of being a celebritie. I’m not literally telling anyone to go anywhere else. Just getting really sick of people defending them like they are above it all. The facts are that the Sandy Lane club members are not going to keep this place floating. It’s the 1000 other hotels & guest houses that bring in money (many of which have closed their doors) that really does trickle down into the economy. Like I said, most of the money places like Sandy Lane take in, stay there. A friend of mine came over the other day, who was a guest for a few days. The comment the stuck in my head was, “nice place, but no one ever smiles there”. That’s not the REAL Barbados.

  38. MoneyBrain

    Agreed it is the small businesses that create most of the jobs. But they benefit from the fact that, “lets go to Bdos because Tiger/ Rooney/ RVP go there so it must be great” how many of the followers can afford Sandy Lane? Soccer fans are more likely to be mid to lower incomes.

    I have been very clear previously above that RVP should be Red Carded for being Offside in reporting the incident!

  39. Victor

    I do get it that anyone would be annoyed to have some stranger demanding a selfie. I’m not famous but I would object if someone did that to me, who wouldn’t? Anyone can observe us as we walk around so CCTV is not such an intrusion but a person coming up to you and taking a photo of you with themselves without you permission is too much; the implication being that you are friends, or that you have agreed to the selfie.
    People come to Barbados to have a rest, relax etc. luckily for our budget. If we are going to subject our visitors to this kind of opportunistic scrutiny they will stop coming here. In any case, even if you are local, you cannot move a muscle without all of your English friends and relatives hearing about it on the grapevine, yes I mean you, worked at Jordans check-out whilst maintaining a “wife” and child in London! Whoo! Guess what hit the fan!
    Whether or not we have secrets to hide, we must be allowed to walk around without some idiot rushing up to us with a camera, agreed?

  40. http://bit.ly/1r38W6s “What I have to wonder is are there any Union policies at this eatery? Even if there are guidelines for Celebrity interaction, is it first offence and away you go? Or is there a number of infractions before Suspension? Where is Barbados Workers Union in the midst of this chicanery? Is this ethical given the current job market?”