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IN THE CANDID CORNER: Crop Over potpourri

Matthew Farley

IN THE CANDID CORNER: Crop Over potpourri

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“A word to the wise isn’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.” – Bill Cosby
First let me wish everyone an enjoyable Crop Over Festival for 2012. This week I have chosen to address several issues that surfaced during the past two weeks and share a few observations.
Let me start by extending condolences to Dr Wendy Griffith-Watson and her family on the passing of Ivy Griffith, who was interred at St Barnabas’ Anglican Church after a service of thanksgiving.
I was impressed with the appreciation given by Dr Ivan Henry, who spoke of this matriarch’s contribution to her community at a time when life was hard and it was difficult to make ends meet and provide for one’s family.
Born just after the World War I, Miss Griffith would have been part of that generation whose efforts and tenacity helped them to break the stranglehold of the plantocracy and shake off the pangs of poverty. The hallmark of her life seemed to have been her kindness, resourcefulness and God-fearing spirit and attitude. May she rest in peace.
Graveside technology
While observing the interment I could not help but notice how we remain in the dark ages in terms of how we bury our loved ones. (This is no reflection on the family to whom I just extended condolences.)
For generations we have used very menial and backbreaking methods. It is more than ironic that in an age when technology has become so advanced, there are still certain aspects of our life and culture that we have not modernized.
I could not help but observe the presence of three or four people using iPads or tablets to record the proceedings at the graveside. This contrasted greatly with the soil technicians, who – though they are no longer called gravediggers – struggled with hoe, fork and shovel to cover the grave.
Here is an excellent opportunity for some creative, technical and innovative mind to design a piece of equipment that would make the process of burying the dead less tedious. While it might have implications for employment, and costs, it certainly would bring our burial practices in line with other aspects of our life and functioning.
The PM and Pan Fusion
I could not help but hear about the excitement of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as he enjoyed the music at Pan Fusion at his official residence recently. It was novel and refreshing to see him actually captured on camera enjoying a dance to music whose source is seen as indigenous to this region.
I was even more impressed with his bold promise to do all in his “prime ministerial” power to take pan to the next level.
As a school principal I look forward to seeing the benefits of his commitment to push steel pan music at the highest level. I eagerly wait to see how this excitement and promise will pan out.
Festival goodies
I must admit that I am impressed with the level of music that this year’s festival has produced. Apart from a few tunes which might be described as utter rubbish, the majority of the music is of a high quality and most of it should go beyond the night of the Finals.
Eric Lewis’ song about elder abuse is commendable and Colin Spencer’s statement about our longstanding tradition of partying is brilliant, both in music and in voice.
In the political context, Stone And Wood by Speedmaster is well crafted and Peter Ram and Madd’s Wood Ants song is hilarious. All the songs about “cats” and “dead dogs” should be reserved for the Crop Over landfill where they will join the lewd and crude behaviour if it surfaces on Kadooment Day.
When Standards are Poor and Moody
I hope the economic stringency has not rendered you so poor and in such a mood that you can’t withstand the mouthings of the rating agencies. While the Central Bank governor was claiming stability and the economists were arguing stagnation, these agencies were putting things in the balance and have now found us wanting.
While we esteem ourselves and our potential for first world status by 2025, they have poured scorn on our financial fortunes and now Barbados, “gem of the Caribbean”, has been reduced to “junk” status. Our Minister of Finance will have none of it as he thinks that Barbados has been “unfaired”.  
Sexual maturity?
I still remain unclear as to what fellow columnist Peter Wickham was trying to say about “sexual maturity”. Perhaps the anticipated Part 2 will elucidate his stunning stance on this issue that he continues to champion.
If my assessment is accurate, the sexual maturity of any country must be anchored, not in what other countries are doing or wish to do, but in what is the will of the majority of the people.
While the desires of the minority should not be disregarded, they certainly cannot expect to “bully” their way with impunity into a country’s constitution. Tolerance? Yes, Peter, but follow pattern? No!
• Matthew D. Farley is a secondary school principal, chairman of the National Forum on Education, and social commentator.