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THE LOWDOWN: 45 years of going it alone


Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN: 45 years of going it alone

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The Lord has been the people’s guide for past three hundred years.
With Him still on the people’s side, we have no doubts or fears.
Upward and onward we shall go, inspired, exulting, free;
And greater will our nation grow in strength and unity.
Happy Independence to our little nation! Forty-five and kickin’!
But let’s not get complacent. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Forty-five years ago there were countries proud to be called Christian. Today in some of them you dare not put up a Christmas display, wish somebody Happy Christmas, read The Bible in school or wear a cross.
If some among us had their way, Happy Independence would be no more. They want to reduce us to “parish” status.
Don’t say it can’t happen here. In 1966 we had a flourishing sugar industry about to hit 200 000 tons with windfall profits. Who would’ve thought that sugar would be so mismanaged that we can’t produce 30 000 tons and our prime lands have been abandoned to bush?
Recently my daughter showed me 1960s Bajan bands on Facebook. Bands for days. Music for the love of it. We in Crescendos played for $8 an hour. After a four-hour hotel gig, seven or eight men would share $32. But we loved it and never missed a practice. Now bands are few.
Forty-five years ago, no gangs, no drugs; the few murderers were hanged. Children could walk freely up Bay Street at night to get an ice cream at BICO.
Garment industries, Husbands’ Wrought Iron, manufacturing can’t done. Tourism in full swing. Paradise was a paradise packed with locals and visitors every night. Who would’ve thought?
So we have to watch it. As the man said: “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Mark my words, there are those among us who will campaign to remove “the Lord” from our National Anthem. Resist them. Muslim countries allow no such considerations.
The republicans have retired to lick their wounds, but will come again. The CARICOMers won’t rest until our identity is lost to unfettered immigration. Human rights activists will demand that we legalize all sorts of perversity, abolish capital punishment and be forbidden to properly discipline our children. These agendas will succeed whenever good men do nothing.
We in the media privileged to be called the “people’s watchdogs” have a responsibility to read widely and put world events in perspective.
Even if it means straightening out a colleague.
In his column this week, for instance, Peter Laurie says I “forgot to mention” how Gaddafi used torture. That is true. But Laurie in turn forgot to mention that his knights in shining armour, the United States and Great Britain, sent prisoners to Libya to be tortured. That information would have given a truer perspective.
But Laurie went further. Referring to me he wrote: “For him, democratic Barbados simply does not measure up: ‘Compare Gaddafi’s Libya where all citizens enjoyed free electricity’, he burbled excitedly.”
That, my friend, is an unpardonable journalistic sin. You are clearly implying that I compared my country with Libya and felt that Barbados “does not measure up”.
In actual fact, I wrote (Lowdown, November 4): “Compare Gaddafi’s Libya where all citizens enjoyed free electricity . . . with Nigeria . . . . .”
In other words, I was contrasting two African oil-producing countries, one a dictatorship, the other a democracy.  
Defamation is defined as: “a false accusation of an offence or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions”.
I am sure Editor-In-Chief Kaymar Jordan will agree that Laurie’s juxtaposition of these sentences constitutes a serious defamation which exposes me to ridicule and contempt; that THE NATION should issue a formal apology; and that, if in the spirit of Christmas I would accept a leg ham in lieu of the considerable financial recompense such libel usually entails, we can all move on smartly and resolve to do better in the future. Amen to that!
Peoples, we have a great little country. Some, through greed, would sell her out to the highest bidder. Let’s all work together to make her safe and prosperous.

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