Crop Over must not die
Years ago, Barbados had three seasons – tourist season, crop season and hard times.
“Hard times” was when money was scarce. Not because of a local recession or a global recession,just a period which we all had to endure untiltourist season came around again.
Crop season employed hundreds of people acrossthe island. There were sugar cane factories in almost every parish. Some parishes had multiple factories. Along with the many plantations, almost every private home in rural Barbados had its own canes.
The island would produce over 100 000 tonnesof sugar – the majority of which was exported and would bring in much needed foreign currency.
In this year’s crop season, we barely made8 000 tonnes of sugar which meant a substantialdrop in foreign exchange.
If that were the case back in those earlier years,it would mean that the “hard times season” wouldbe even harder. It would probably have been called “starvation season”.
Tourist season would come around right afterthe hard time season to lift our spirits again. Hotels and guest houses and their many employees wouldall flourish.
Tourist season sometimes felt like two seasons, starting the year and ending that same year.Tourism meant more foreign currency to work with.We seemed to be living a magical life. We had no natural resources but we were living a high qualitylife because of two main industries. One was dependent on us and the other was dependent onother people.
As you would know, when you are dependent on other people, you have to move with great caution.Your situation becomes fragile. You have to becareful not to offend them, and added to that,the person on whom you depend has to be ina position to help you without harming themselves.
The tourists on whom we depend are hurting because of the global recession and would therefore have to watch their pennies. Those who are ableto come to our shores will surely not be spendingas they normally would.
The bottom line is that we cannot depend ontourism like we used to and the sugar industryseems to be no more.
So now that two of the three seasons are virtually gone, what are we left with?
Answer: the hard time season.
Can you imagine that? Hard time season isthe only season that we have left in these hardtimes, in this global recession with no natural resources. Whew!
But wait a minute! I forgot to tell you thatduring the passage of time, something called Crop Over came along and filled that space which “hard time” had occupied. This Crop Over bridged thegap between the crop season and the tourist season. This Crop Over thing became the Crop Over industry. It is an industry which we have full control over. Its destiny is in our hands, just like the sugar industry used to be.
If wisdom were to prevail, this Crop Overindustry should be given the utmost care andattention by every citizen. It should be seenas a lifesaver. It should be “all hands on deck”.
Not only would it “save the day” but it wouldbecome a more viable industry in the future.We simply cannot allow Crop Over to die.
I will take this opportunity to mention a fewideas that I think could help this great festival to live on.(1) Masquerade bands should NOT know where the judging points are for the choosing of the road march song. The road march title should be a true reflectionof the mood of that day. It should never appear to be orchestrated. I don’t know of any country wherethis happens.(2) The music played on Spring Garden at Bridgetown Market and on Kadooment Day should not be controlled by one entity. It is exceptionally boring and adds nothing to the atmosphere. Every stall should be allowed to play its own music. A potpourri of songs should permeate the air mixed with the potpourri of scents emanating from the various food stalls. That’s what festivity is all about.(3) The berating of songs by announcers on radio must stop. If you do not like the song, don’t play it. Do not “put down” the song or the artiste.
If you were to speak ill of the perfume which Cave Shepherd sells or the clothes which Abeds sells or Chefette’s chicken, I am sure that you would be sued.
The music, regardless of how it sounds or whosings it, is a product just like those other products.It has value just like they do. You can be sued thesame way. It is just a matter of time. Let CropOver live.
• Mac Fingall is an entertainer and retired secondary school teacher. Email [email protected]