BC’S B’DOS – Stinking up Bim
WHEN I MOVED to Barbados three years ago, I was amazed at how clean it was, compared with Trinidad, where the self-loathing of the average person is displayed by the careless pollution of the place in which they hope to raise their children.
In Guyana, it’s even worse. Once, in a ZR van in Georgetown, I saw a hand-made sign: No Littering (though the semi-literate who’d lettered it neglected one “T”, effectively translating it to No Measuring of Liquids in Metric).
An illustration showed a hand tossing a PET bottle out the minivan window: no littering meant no littering inside the van – throw it outside, where it belonged.
My first Bajan exercise route – notice the subtle avoidance of confessing I’m now limited to the old man-style of keeping fit by walking, not running – took me through Sargeant’s Village, down Rendezvous Hill, along Highway 7, past Top Rock Roundabout, up to the ABC Highway and back to Sheraton Mall via Warners.
(For the benefit of visitors, Highway 7 is that tiny ribbon of road along the south coast; “Highway 7” is a misnomer along the lines of calling the drain at the side of Accra Beach the Grand Canyon.)
In my ignorance, I thought that keeping their little piece of the planet so clean was another illustration of the civic responsibility Barbadians valued so much higher than Trinidadians.
Three years on, I realise the only difference between Trinis and Bajans is that, when there is public money to pay for it, the Bajan hired to pick up the crap everyone else tosses away actually does his job.
With money tighter now, it seems, the state can’t pay someone to clean up. So every time a bit of roadside land is cleared, piles of previously hidden filth – plastic bags and bottles, fast-food containers, anything that can be carried and dropped or thrown out of a vehicle window – are exposed; and Bajans are revealed to be every bit as filthy as Trinis.
Barbados has become so nasty I’ve had perforce to reword that lovely old Merrymen song Beautiful Barbados to make it relevant to today’s island.
Again for visitors’ benefit, since all residents who have turned on their TVs for longer than ten minutes have seen the video more times than Rihanna’s S&M, the lyrics are:
Beautiful, beautiful Barbados/ Gem of the Caribbean Sea/ Come back to my island, Barbados/ Come back to my island and me/ Please come back/ Where the light winds are blowing/ Please come back/ To the surf and the sea/ You’ll find rest/ You’ll find peace/ In Barbados/ So come back to my island/And me.
The new, fitting B.C.-remix goes:
Dirty stink, full of filth Barbados/ Bim is one big lavatory/ Freemen wouldn’t firetruck up Barbados/ Litter proves our mental slavery/ Styrofoam/ And plastic bags are blowing/ Drop your cup/ Anywhere that you feel/ Look a stove/ And a shoe/ In a gully/ So destroy my island/ And me.
B.C. Pires is dodging Ting bottles.