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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues