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FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: Stop confusing us


FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: Stop confusing us

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The doctors and medical researchers are confusing us. Researchers at well known Columbia University found that a person’s risk of osteoporosis seems to depend on levels of serotonin, a chemical known mainly for its effects on the brain, while a group from equally well known Harvard, several other universities and a biotech company are questioning those findings.  
The nutritionists confuse us: “Eat three square meals a day. Eat six small meals a day. Eat red meat, don’t eat red meat. Drink milk, don’t drink milk. Eat five portions of fruit and veg a day (just don’t eat five portions of fruit a day). Eat ten portions of fruit and veg a day (eight veg, two fruit). Eat low fat. Eat low carb . . . eat like a caveman. Eat vegetarian. Restrict your calories. Don’t eat till 5 p.m.
Don’t eat after 6 p.m. . . . the list goes on! ( – leaves us all in a quandary. And now, four years after we’ve been ingesting it, there seems to be some question about using azodicarbonamide in a local restaurant’s bread and it’s been discontinued.
Of course, the politicians have us in perpetual confusion. The retrenched National Housing Corporation workers must be baffled by Minister Denis Kellman’s statement that “now that we find ourselves in a little bind, give us a little elbow room so that we can develop something a little better for you, and instead of being temporary, that we can create some permanent work for you”. He didn’t mention what they were to do in the meantime . . . and we know that Government projects don’t happen overnight.
The doctors cum politicians confuse us even more. As the co-ordinator of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre asks in the February 16 Sunday Sun: “Am I alone or do others remember the David Estwick who was on the campaign trail in the last election? Do you remember David Estwick bringing graphs and statistics to show that the state of the economy was not the fault of the DLP [Democratic Labour Party] Government?” Now, of course, he has made an about-turn. Then, Sir Lloyd Sandiford  joined the fray, making statements that seem to be at odds with the present Government.
While we’ve grown accustomed to this type of confusion, we didn’t expect the geologists and seismologists to confuse us. Our former Government geologist boldly states that  “. . . our positioning does not allow us to receive any adverse effects from any earthquake type events”, and  “the other Caribbean islands which are called the island arc will have volcanoes and earthquakes, but you will never find one here because we are not really even part of the Caribbean chain”.
Never is a strong word! But Dr Latchman of the Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies disagrees, saying: “Barbadians should not have a complacency that earthquakes in the Eastern Caribbean
do not affect them. An earthquake along the arc just needs to be large enough . . . . Barbados has had impact from earthquakes in the past and I am convinced that Barbados will have impact from earthquakes in the future.” Which should we go with – the geologist or the seismologist?
That’s our dilemma, but let’s err on the side of caution.
I’m confused. I thought we were trying to save and even improve the sugar industry, but it’s the end of February and growers still aren’t sure when the one and only factory will start grinding. Meanwhile, the canes, some of which looked very promising, are drying out, being stolen and burnt. Bearing in mind all the logistical problems to be dealt with this year, hopefully the union will not compound these problems and cause delays by trying “to get blood out of stone”.  
As if we haven’t had enough confusion, the cartoonists are now confusing us. I always thought Prime Minister Stuart was left handed; now I see him playing tennis with his right hand in the snail cartoon – although I suppose he could be ambidextrous.
If it’s any consolation, most seem to be in agreement that we shouldn’t devalue our currency, although of course we could wake up tomorrow and find that, too, has changed.
In the meantime, let’s continue to air our views, and maybe like drops of rain, they will “make a hole in the stone, not by violence but by often falling”.
• Dr Frances Chandler is a former Independent senator.