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When your tongue lets you down . . .


Richard Hoad

When your tongue lets you down . . .

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The clue on Money Mania was: “it is seldom used at night”. A caller suggested: “the tongue”. The attractive female moderator, whose tongue flicks at about 3 000 words per minute, didn’t spell it out but left little doubt she could think of several uses for the tongue at night.
The trouble comes when the tongue gets ahead of the brain and we say things we regret. Hence my new initiative: Foot-in-Mouth Damage Control (FIM DC) Inc.. Here are a few potential clients:
Bruggadung Johnson suggested that today’s Bajan workers are “lazy and inefficient”. He obviously didn’t enjoy the storm of protest which followed.
Now, there are exceptions. But we all know that Bajan workers have lost their reputation for hard work. In former times we held output in esteem. Big Fred could cut more grass than anyone at Vaucluse; Nicky, it was said, could fork tar road. A lady at Lion Castle became a celebrity for heading 126 pounds of yams. Lightermen and sugar bag lifters were heroes.
Nowadays, only the money you make matters. And in the context of many government workers doing very little and Port workers getting paid for work they didn’t do, what do you expect? We all also know that Barbados is going downhill like a ZR without brakes. And only shaking people out of their “comfort zones” will save us.
So Brugga’s problem wasn’t accuracy, it was choice of language. Bajan workers aren’t lazy and inefficient; they’re “parsimonious of effort” and “economically untenable”.
Next case: my friend Trevor Marshall really let the dogs out last week, railing against white foreigners getting jobs here and Bajan whites being asked to serve in the Senate. Wow! Although reportedly “unapologetic”, he wasn’t his usual ebullient self on Morning Barbados a few days later, leaving most of the talk to Maurice Greeenidge and looking like a fowl cock with a pip.
First off, Trev, your big-breed maths that 40 applications for work permits translates into 80 white foreigners per year coming here is conjecture. Are all work permits approved? Do only white people come in?
Furthermore, Trev, many of those foreign white men are marrying black Bajan women. I’ve come across three such recently, to wit, an Italian chef, an Irish vet and a miscellaneous Frenchman. After seeing our Crop Over girls wuk-up, they want some of that action too.
Worse yet, Bajan Black girls want them. Recently my wife heard two checkout girls lusting after a white fellow on Days of our Lives or something: “He look good, yuh! I got to get me a white man”. Next girl, nodding: “Me too!”
And, Trev, it looked kinda racist to call for whites to be banned from our Senate, especially Frances Chandler. Not only was Frances an exceptional senator who did her homework and exposed flaws in proposed legislation, she has worked tirelessly to make Barbados a better place.
She helps with Teen challenge, Soroptomists Village, organized agricultural camps every year for the former Governor General, encourages hotels to use local produce, fights supermarkets who bring in imported products rather than buying local, you name it. She did much of the spade work that saw farmers in Gibbons getting hefty pay-outs after an oil spill.
If only she’d accede to one small request I’ve been making since 1968, I’d nominate her for national hero. Instead you call her “elite”. The only “elite” them Roach-Burkes could be is if they had shares in the bus company or shirt factory of that name. Now my foolish wife, her sister, feels she is elite too and “ain’t buying no more lipstick at the Three Dollar Store, no matter how good it is”.
As for damage control, let’s say you were trying to show what a 1930s lecture would sound like.
Last case: homopromo letter-writer Frank Harris. Frankly, Harry, your logic let you down. You and Rev. Hall claimed that the homo lifestyle harms no one. I showed instances where predatory homos do just that.
Instead of admitting you were wrong, you copped out by saying heterosexual men also do bad things. That does nothing to justify your original incorrect claim.
Go check the Tenth Commandment, Frank, right after it says “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s ox…” Sort that out and we can move on.
•  Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator. Email [email protected]

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