• Today
    February 21

  • 04:44 PM

THE LOWDOWN: The E-bulla virus

Richard Hoad, porkhoad@gmail.com

Added 12 December 2014


PROBABLY TODAY’S MOST heard comment is “The world’s gone mad!”

It’s right up there with “My cellphone outa money”, “It’s the government’s fault”, and “Girl, you lookin’ good!”

And, in fact, it’s the only way to explain what’s going on. I mean, where but in a mad, mad world could blood-thirsty fanatics take over in a matter of weeks an inhabited area bigger than the United Kingdom? Set up a government devoted to beheading innocent people, raping women non-stop? And the rest of the world, by and large, does nothing about it?

How could a government, getting tough on violent killings and crime, water down a gun law, then announce that after four years criminals can apply for parole? While hundreds remain on remand with no justice for accused or abused?

How could this paper’s editorial on Tuesday ask Where are the experts? on marijuana usage when the Medical Association of Jamaica has spoken out against legalisation.

“As physicians we have been confronted first hand with and seen the devastating effects of the misuse of ganja,” says Dr Shane Alexis. These include addiction, psychiatric disorders, disruption of neurological development in the young, negative impact on all aspects of memory, violence, lung problems including cancer . . . .

Walking time bombs

The Coleridge and Parry principal bemoans his erratic, aggressive, destructive and hopeless marijuana-affected walking time bombs . . . .

Dr James Hospedales of the Caribbean Public Health Agency lists a host of adverse effects on physical and mental health, social and occupational functioning.

“These negative data far outweigh a few documented benefits for a limited set of medical indications for which safe and effective alternative treatments are readily available.”

It’s not that the experts aren’t talking, it’s that no one is listening. And there is a reason.

More madness. I was part of a Diversification Unit set up specifically to find alternatives to sugar cane. We experimented with most everything. We travelled the world and consulted.

Conclusion: there is nothing which can replace the large-scale growing of sugar in Barbados without leaving our island looking like rab land, infested with bush and rats.

Growing crops in rotation with sugar remains our best option. Yet self-styled experts would shut it down.

More madness. A West Indian cricket team, the pride of every Caribbean citizen, forgiven time and again for selling us short, goes on strike against its own association during a major tour. And makes us the laughing stock of the world.

Add to that, garbage everywhere. And instead of hiring some skips and getting rid of it, we highlight it for the world to see. Couldn’t those schoolchildren walking through garbage find anywhere else to walk?

And instead of parading about drug shortages and conditions at the hospital, couldn’t BAMP members have contributed towards the needed supplies? And asked businesses to provide gurneys?

When a country like ours, when a world like ours, virtually commits suicide, seeing things go wrong yet not prepared to lift a finger to put things right, that world has gone mad.

And I know why: the E-bulla virus. “E” as in electronic. “Bulla” as in “brains under lotta long angst”.

Brass Tacks caller Winnie from Jamaica said recently she was fed up with the “H’Internet” because of all the “’ackers”. I don’t know if it’s ’ackers or who but I am convinced some evil genius has found a way to destroy our brains with h’internet, computers, cellphones, iPads, tablets and all the rest. Nothing else could explain the rapid and seemingly unstoppable disintegration of our world.

Chikungunya may even be part of the plan resulting in the very antithesis of the old ideal: “Mens sana in corpore sano”. Nowadays it’s an unsound mind in an unsound body.

Don’t fool yourself, E-bulla is much worse than Ebola. There is no way to isolate it, no way to diagnose it, no way to treat it.

Can the world be saved from E-bulla? Are we prepared to dismantle the internet, control it or even sanitise it? Of course not. So let’s join the Jumbie chorus: “Back to back, belly to belly, we don’t give a damn, we done dead already. . . . It’s a jumbie jamboree!”

Happy 86th birthday to George Bannister, a great friend from the Haynesville area. I hope my mentor Owen will go have a drink with another of his loyal admirers.


  • Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.
    Email porkhoad@gmail.com


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With more public servants set to go home next month, do you think that the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation programme (BERT) is working?