Tag Archives: Barbados culture

Barbados Red Legs flag – A symbol of cultural affirmation

Barbados Red Legs Flag

Barbados Red-Legs can now boast their own cultural flag

“I know as an outsider, no symbology can be foisted onto another culture;

yet my humble offering might spark the imagination of someone who is from there, and inspire some movement toward cultural affirmation.”

contributed by Three-fold Now

The Red Legs are a cultural community in the Caribbean island of Barbados. They are descendants of Irish and Scottish indentured servants—some forcibly enslaved by Cromwell—and remain as “poor whites” in what is otherwise a predominantly Afro-Caribbean nation. The performer Rihanna claims some family ties to this Irish-Barbadian lineage.  Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Slavery

‘A gentleman’ – Brian Popple passes while vacationing in Barbados. Mrs. Popple praises ‘so many’ people who helped her.

When her husband of 50 years passed away on vacation, Bajans helped Pamela Popple

It is natural that complaints and criticism dominates the news stories everywhere. That is just the way of things with the news media.

But it is also true that when guests in Barbados encounter trouble, illness or pass away while on vacation, good people in Barbados help as much as they can. These stories of kindness and going the extra distance by good folks seldom make the news, so when possible Barbados Free Press likes to draw attention to what we believe is a core Bajan quality: kindness and assistance to strangers in need.

Our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Popple, and to family and friends of Brian Popple.

A GRANDFATHER who died from heart failure while on holiday in Barbados has been described as “a gentleman”. Brian Popple, of Hillside Gardens in Brockham, was on the Caribbean island with his wife, Pamela, when he died. He was 69. (photo above: Brian Popple)

“He was a lovely husband, a lovely father and a lovely grandfather. I still can’t believe he is not coming back.”

His children flew to Barbados the following day, and his body was flown home to the UK on October 2. Mr Popple was a director of Skyline Bookbinders in Vincent Lane for 28 years, had been married to Mrs Popple for 50 years, and had two daughters and four grandchildren.

Mrs Popple said: “He was a good man, everybody said he was a gentleman. We had some fabulous holidays together but we always went back to Barbados; we had a timeshare there and it was our favourite place.

“I don’t know what I would have done if it had happened on another island.

“There were so many people in Barbados that helped me while I was over there.

“We were childhood sweethearts. He was the only boyfriend I ever had. We loved each other to the end. We were soulmates and he was my friend.”

Read the full story at Surrey Today: Brockham grandfather dies from heart failure while in Barbados with wife


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Kadooment needs a reboot to make it Bajan and acceptable

A parade of people simulating sex acts (and sometimes not so simulating)

Is that what we want for our culture, for our children?

by Analyzer

Is it just me or is all that vulgarity at Kadooment getting old? Some people are respectful, some people do the wukking up in amusement but others are so serious about it, they need to get a room! On CBC news when covering Kadooment day the commentator said that it is important for children to come out and see Barbadian culture? I had to say “REALLY?!”

“Apparently the original ‘wukin’ up’ was hips swaying from side to side. That’s quite acceptable.

Why do people have to look like a bunch of dogs?”

The ‘Walk Holy’ band that comes out first have choreographed some wonderful dancing. Can’t someone choreograph something for the majority of people, something original that could be Bajan? Apparently the original ‘wukin’ up’ was hips swaying from side to side. That’s quite acceptable. Why do people have to look like a bunch of dogs? Don’t they have respect for themselves? Anyway, if that’s what they enjoy so be it but I think it is almost X-rated and I don’t know if it is suitable for young children. Is it just me? Surely not. Do the other islands get on like this at their carnivals?


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Culture & Race Issues

The world forgot about Saturday Night Fish Fry at Martin’s Bay… and so did we

Who are we? Who are you?

by Baba Elombe Jakuta

Saturday Night Fish Fry

You don’t have to pay the usual admission
If you are a cook or a waiter or a good musician
So if you happen to be just passing by
Stop in at the Saturday Night Fish Fry.

– Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five

Martin’s Bay like a loop. A loop that curls like a noose to knot a shallow beach between a black scarred reef and a black macadam road. Potted once upon a time in the sands were singularly lean coconut trees to shelter this fragile loop of beach in a speckled shade. That was a time when fishing boats had sails. A distant loop from a distant past where the sea salt blinded ambition.

And Martin’s Bay people always lingered in my mind as having a sense of  privacy that was uniquely their own. There wasn’t much land but what there was was planted with bay houses and homes held precariously together by rust and paint.

Martin’s Bay is an outpost. As far from the tourist industry as imagination can make.  Not interesting enough to force the tourist buses down the loop.  Not even to see the remnants of a long gone train or to hear the strains of the mythical and mystical Brumley band hiding in the wind.

Martin’s Bay today is sedate and settled but how I would like to see a Martin’s Bay Saturday Night Fish Fry on the slender beach, replete with Sam Lord’s lanterns and Julian Hunte bonfires, roast breadfruit, fried plantain, potato pickings (the extra sweet potatoes) and other delights.

In a two by four island like ours everything counts. There should be no wasteland.

Tourism has developed as an industry far removed from the rest of us. It was precious to a few, hoteliers by and large, who saw their properties as oases in a dessert of primitive yahoos. And who used to get every concession, tax free holidays as if they did tourist themselves, tourist from taxes. And to some others the historical sojourn in plantation houses with silver forks was touted as the places to see.

As far as planners and developers expect, we are to be the hewers of wood and carry water buckets on our heads forever. And regardless of how sophisticated everything appears in Barbados, there are now some sophisticated hewers of wood and some sophisticated water bucket carriers. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Culture & Race Issues, History

Barbados mother says “I’ll breed ’em. YOU feed ’em!”

Story #1,243 in a continuing Nation Cultural Series…

by BFP reader Passin thru

Jacqueline Blunt is 40 years old and has five children (by how many different men we’re not told). She’s long-term unemployed and lives with her mother; who has served notice on Miss Blunt that she and her five children are out on the street as of Tuesday.

According to the newspaper article, Mother of 5 needs house Miss Blunt contributes nothing to household expenses and keeps such hours and personal habits that her long-suffering mother sought to impose an 8pm curfew on the 40 year old. That really says it all when an unemployed and unemployable mother can’t be bothered to tuck her children in each night. It’s not as if she’s out working or looking for work – she’s partying.

Miss Blunt is featured in The Nation newspaper looking for her next meal ticket. She doesn’t care whether the National Housing Corporation or some unsuspecting landlord continues her free ride as long as she doesn’t have to actually earn money to support her own children.

The sad truth is that this type of story is standard newspaper fare every month and explains much about why some matriarchal “families” live in perpetual poverty generation after generation. What values and life examples are being passed along to Miss Blunt’s children?

Barbados has an interest in curbing this destructive behaviour, for the country and for the sake of the children. This matriarchal subculture with unemployed mothers and no fathers contributes nothing positive to Barbados – unless you count as a positive the simple biological production of children with nothing further contributed.

The never-ending stories of Miss Blunt and other unemployable single mothers are the best arguments for the establishment of orphanages.

I accept that we as a society must look after the children of those parents who are incapable of supporting and raising children on their own. If we really want to help Miss Blunt’s children, the best thing we could do would be to place them in an orphanage and away from their irresponsible and unemployable mother. If we really want to help Miss Blunt and others like her, take away her children and allow her to sink or swim on her own: to perhaps become a responsible, self-supporting adult as she should have 20 years ago.

Only then will society have a chance to stop the perpetuation of the single-mother subculture that robs thousands of children of the chance to be raised with proper values and edifying habits and life skills.

Passin thru

Further Listening: Generation X: The value of Black Women


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues

Caribbean women need to redefine their vision of men

BFP’s Shona found this at T&T journalist Ira Mathur’s website…

Perhaps the stereotype of what it is to be manly in the region needs to change among young girls. Instead of admiring macho, unfaithful men who have many children, the real role model should be a man who is serious, has an education, a job and supports his family.

My first week here I visited UWI and there were students presenting their theses on subjects I was familiar with through my job and I was astounded by the wonderful quality. What I find deplorable is the high rate of brain drain in the whole region of highly educated graduates, doctors, engineers, nurses who go abroad because they can’t get jobs here.

Ana Schlüter (wife of German Ambassador Stefan Schlüter) talks to Caribbean  journalist Ira Mathur in Ira’s blog article Line between right and wrong in T&T blurred

T&T Journalist Ira Mathur

Ira Mathur is an Indian born Caribbean freelance journalist/writer working in radio, television and print in Trinidad, West Indies. She has been a regular columnist since 1995 and currently writes for the Trinidad Guardian.

The body of writing reflected in her website is in many ways the diary of a woman of the Indian Diaspora who has made the Caribbean her home.  Ira spent her childhood in India and Tobago, her University years in Canada, lived in England and settled in Trinidad.

Like most children of the Diaspora, she inhabits many worlds, not quite belonging to any one, but improvising, choosing and claiming chunks of most.


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Trinidad and Tobago

An Open Letter to Barbados on Forty Five Years of Independence: We Are the Change

“The politicians cannot save us. Our allies overseas in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and China cannot save us…”

by Ronnie R. F. Yearwood

I was born in the small village of Boscobel in St. Peter. My family was poor, as were many around us. However, we did not let this reflect our state of mind. As was for many Barbadians, this provided the determination to create a brighter future. Better days were always ahead.

I saw a boy living in poverty. He stood proudly on the steps of his old house. The house was always about to fall apart and leaked when it rained. There was no running water, electricity or indoor plumbing. The boy went to school only because of free education, as did many other boys and girls around him. Without that free education these boys and girls would not have been able to learn, for their parents could not afford food, little more than they could books.

His father like those of others around him was absent either by will or culture. So his mother fathered him, as was the way. His mother worked hard to do all she could to help the boy into a better Barbados. I was this boy, and as much as this story is mine, it is also the story of many Barbadians. Together our stories reveal the history of a country that was built on hard work and determination to succeed, especially in the face of slavery and colonialism. A determination, as National Hero The Right Excellent Errol Barrow once said, that took a collection of small villages and transformed them into a proud nation.

Today, we see men and women who are forced to choose between paying the rent or mortgage, and feeding their families. The economic situation is not improving. It will not improve left on its own. We see boys and girls who go to school but cannot read or write yet we boast 100% literacy. We see young people unemployed with few opportunities to become active and progressive citizens. We see a decline in public standards and service, yet we talk of having one of the best tourism products in the world. We see an inefficient Government, yet we claim that public sector reforms are working. We see crime, and anti-social behaviour in schools, on our streets and on public transport. We see a country that is distrustful, apathetic, and struggling to understand itself and falters in crafting a meaningful response not only to current economic crisis, but also failing in setting out a vision for a prosperous Barbados of tomorrow. There is a future beyond the current economic crisis and political staleness that plagues this country. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues

Barbados VAT shortfall: a cultural problem of rule of law?

Barbados Government announces it has hired a consultant! OOOOOOH!!!!

(VAT delinquents must be shaking in their boots!)

Barbados Finance Minister Christopher Sinckler recently held a press conference to announce that the Government of Barbados has failed miserably to collect a staggering $300 million dollars in VAT arrears.

That wasn’t exactly how Sinckler put it though. With typical political bluster he announced that the government was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY going to get tough and enforce laws that are on the books.

This time.

Here’s what the press release said said…

“The hammer could be coming down on those Value Added Tax (VAT) defaulters who have racked up a staggering $300 million in arrears inclusive of penalties and interest.”

And it got better…

“Given this situation, Mr. Sinckler disclosed that a consultant had been hired to review the legislation as it related to collections and enforcement.  He also revealed that the consultant had already submitted the draft amendments which were being reviewed by officials in the Customs and Excise Department.”

My God! A consultant, reviewed the legislation and submitted draft amendments that are being reviewed RIGHT NOW!!!

Wuhloss!!! I’d better pay up that VAT tomorrow.

Or… maybe the next day. 🙂

Frankly, Sinckler sounded an awful lot like the Commissioner of Police warning gangs that if he had the officers and the budget, the gangs would really really really have to worry. And the Commissioner of Police sounded an awful lot like the Minister of the Environment talking foolish saying that the government was going to install hidden cameras all over the island to catch illegal tippers.

A Culture that disregards Rule of Law

Could it be that the problem is that Bajans have been conditioned that laws and rules are generally optional depending upon circumstance and position? Could it be that we’ve learned from the big-ups that laws, if they exist at all, don’t apply to all? That is the way it is on de rock. Anyone can name a dozen situations and stories – most of them true.

And where laws don’t exist (integrity legislation, drunk driving, freedom of information, environmental legislation) they are to be promised at election time but never ever implemented. That is what we have been taught by our political elites and we have learned our lessons well from skilled masters.

“Doan give me such a fright, Minister Sinckler! For a moment I thought you were serious, but then I remembered all the other laws that your government promised to pass.”

Pass me another beer, darlin’. I don’t think we need to hurry off to pay that VAT right this moment! 🙂


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Politics

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference cancelled – lack of interest!

Is this a problem with the organisation behind the conference, or something that goes much deeper?

Is this a backlash against Barbados for REDjet, Shanique Myrie, CARICOM movement rights, health care for immigrants and a host of other grievances?

by WSD

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association just announced that their (ahem) “much anticipated” inaugural annual summit scheduled for June 1-3 in Barbados has been cancelled due to low registration numbers. Unmentioned in the brief press sheet are the reasons why the conference failed – or if the organizers have even started to understand what happened.

Your writer is not in the tourism business, but I have some questions and observations as an ordinary Bajan. Let’s see if my thoughts are shared or disputed by those in tourism and Barbadians in general.

Barbados and the BHTA were heavily committed to this conference, but the conference website shows only four commercial sponsors – only two of which are major companies recognizable to your non-tourism writer (LG and MasterCard). Was this an adequate level of sponsorship interest for a conference that represented itself to be a major summit by a major organisation?

Contrast the Barbados 4 commercial sponsors with the 22 sponsors of the May 10-12, 2011 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference held in Jamaica.

Was the dearth of sponsors in Barbados a fault of the conference organizers, or fallout from a damaged economy and lower advertising budgets? Was the Barbados conference scheduled too closely to another major event?

Was enough notice given to the tourism industry about the conference itself and the apparently excellent list of speakers? (See BFP’s TripAdvisor’s Brian Payea coming to Barbados)

Backlash against Barbados?

Barbados is under heavy criticism (some of it entirely justified in my opinion) from our Caribbean brothers and sisters over a variety of issues including the lack of health care for LEGAL immigrants and LEGAL visiting workers in Barbados, and the REDjet situation where the airline and the Barbados government failed to show sufficient respect to the laws and sovereignty of Jamaica and T&T.

Then we come to the Shanique Myrie situation where a Jamaican visitor claims she was “finger-raped” by Barbadian authorities upon arrival, held in squalid conditions and deported the next day. Whatever the truth of her story, it doesn’t matter because the damage was done. More important, Shanique Myrie is seen by other Caribbean nationals as just another incident in a long history of similar incidents in Barbados whether reported in the news or not.

Like it or not, the truth is that Barbados as a country and Barbadians as a people are increasingly seen by the rest of the Caribbean as acting arrogantly and disrespectfully in our relations with other nations and on a personal level with visitors.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if this is true or not. It only matters that many other Caribbean nationals believe it is true, or at least have that impression.

It would be a big mistake for Bajans and tourism organizers to assume that the failure of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference is only about the conference itself. There might be something much bigger happening that needs to be recognized and immediately addressed at all levels.

Submitted by BFP reader WSD. Edited and headlined by Marcus.

Further Reading

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference website

eTurboNews: Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association cancels conference


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Culture & Race Issues, Tourism

Rihanna’s new video: banana sex, Perez Hilton on leash

Barbados Ambassador for Youth gives S&M lesson in her new video

We haven’t published much about Rihanna lately because we are a tad disappointed in the road she chose.

Isn’t it about time that, ever so quietly, Rihanna resigns as our Ambassador for Culture and Youth? Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Music, Rihanna

Bajan Poetry Society – Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne

Another year is gone, another year you read or wrote
Unleashed your fervent opinions as BFP took note
Listed yourself with your creative, writers name
Did your best to explain theories and fairly dealt out blame

Literary skills were not asked but you kept your points clear
And others who read responded in zealous flair
Numerous comments came from diverse commentators because you
Gave us all the privilege of hearing your points of view

So BFP friends, thanks for this last year of 2010
You encouraged us all by speaking your mind friend
Now may the best of last year be the worst tomorrow to share
Enjoy the festivities to come and have a Prosperous New Year!

by Khaidji              http://bajanpoetry.com/

Comments Off on Bajan Poetry Society – Auld Lang Syne

Filed under Barbados

BLP candidate Santia Bradshaw’s message to Barbados’ young people?

Santia, is this YOUR Lil Rick, or not?

“If you don’t like how we talk, now fuck off”

(and that’s the best of the lyrics in the song “Fuck Off”)

Pyramid's Lil Rick

Santia Bradshaw is the hopeful BLP candidate for St. Michael South East, sometimes lawyer and all the time owner of Pyramid Entertainment Management Inc., an artist representation and booking agency. Her company currently represents some of the leading entertainers and deejays in Barbados and across the region – including “Lil Rick”.

An MP3 is going viral with young folks across Barbados. The email it comes with says it is the Pyramid artist “Lil Rick”.

It sure sounds like Lil Rick to us and a whole lot of people – but maybe it’s a clever imitator sent by a rival to do damage to Santia Bradshaw, the BLP and/or Lil Rick. Considering the song has probably been shared thousands of times already and glorifies violence, drugs and a kind of rape – if it isn’t refuted, explained or handled it will be damaging to Santia Bradshaw’s political and legal career. That is a for sure. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Celebrities, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Music, Politics

Of Manners and Standards… and buttons worn by shop assistants

Can a Polite Pig help Bajans regain our lost culture?

by David Gittens

“But quite apart from his immediate political and economic agenda, the Prime Minister is concerned about the general direction in which the country seems to be headed.

In an exclusive SUNDAY SUN interview this week, Stuart, 59, pointed to falling national standards while using excellence as his benchmark for performance.”

… an excerpt from The Nation article PM’s Plan

All through the years I have had indigestion caused by the very very seldom outspeaking by local authority figures regarding the general slip-shodden approach to work and productivity, and the non-existence of basic, everyday good manners that once-upon-a-time were the hallmark of local ‘culture.’ Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues

Happy Thanksgiving to our American Friends

The Culture We Need

Thanksgiving brings families near
Hustling to be together to share
Embraces and meals but mostly
Coming together to express freely
Uttermost thanks to God above
Lots of thanks with lots of love
This example should be copied by other countries
USA set a standard that should get lots of facsimiles
Reproductions of people who every year
Eagerly rush home cause their family will be there
With gifts they will show up, with prayers and wishes
Every pumpkin pudding, baked turkey and the casserole dishes
Nations will be well served to take a bite from this plate
Every country willing to imitate
Emulate the family first attitude and harmonious living
Do this and the whole world can be celebrating this Thanksgiving


Bajan Poetry.com

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Filed under Barbados