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Youth advisors: Vybz, Mavado show a valuable loss

marciadottin, [email protected]

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THE ENTIRE VYBZ Kartel and Mavado issue was misunderstood, say two youth advisors, resulting in Barbados losing a valuable opportunity by cancelling the concert.Director of the Barbados Youth Action Programme (BYAP), Alfred “Lumumba” Batson and general secretary Emmanuel Beryllia, said the intention was never for the artistes to come to Barbados and sing “wufless” music to the youth.“When that incident happened, it became a political issue and the message as to what we wanted to do, which was to show there was no rift between Gully and Gaza, that it was just all entertainment, got lost,” said Batson.Both he and Beryllia paid a visit to the MIDWEEK NATION in Fontabelle, St Michael, yesterday to speak about how the programme was faring.BYAP started after Batson was deported to Barbados following a 17-year stint in prison. While there, he came across the Youth Assistance Programme and rose to become its coordinator. He adapted that programme, one which reaches out to youth to keep them on a path to success, for Barbados and the region.However, Batson said the work done so far by the group had been overshadowed by negative fallout following the show’s cancellation, as the group had been the major driving force behind the effort to bring the artistes to Barbados.“Before that, we were going into schools and reaching out to youth. We had visited four schools – Princess Margaret, Lester Vaughan, The St Michael School and Garrison – and we had received positive responses from each school’s principal,” said Batson.Beryllia said they also had requests from another three schools but after the plans for the concert became known, each school had asked BYAP to postpone the visit pending the response to the decision to hold the show. Since then, there have been no visits to schools although Batson said this was mostly because of exams and vacation.Batson said adults had to be more open-minded when it came to music.“In my youth, people said Marvin Gaye and such were no good but now we can look back and see their value. Sometimes it’s good to say ‘listen, you can do better’ instead of ‘you shouldn’t do songs like this’.“The problem occurs when children interpret songs without parental guidance. I believe we need to listen to the music they are listening to [and] then have open and frank discussions,” he said.“The whole thing was misunderstood due to negative images propagated by others. It wasn’t about performing ‘wufless’ songs to the kids,” he said.“Our focus is apolitical; we don’t endorse any party – we endorse the youth,” added Batson. (CA)

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