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FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: Mind boggling

Dr Frances Chandler

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: Mind boggling

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Whenever I think I’ve heard it all, there comes another mind boggler. Barbadians are masters at finding scapegoats for everything, but to state that there’s a direct link between slavery and our high rate of diabetes and amputations is the limit. No right-minded person could agree with slavery, but blaming diabetes on it is ludicrous.
I am neither historian, twistorian or any other orian, but I think I’m fairly logical. If diabetes and amputations were directly linked to slavery, one would think that those closer to that era would be most affected, so I doubt we would have so many centenarians, most, if not all, seemingly in relatively good health and with their limbs intact.
I’m not a medical doctor either, but as far as I’m aware, genetics and obesity are major risk factors for diabetes. Lifestyle changes, including regular physical activity and a low fat/low calorie diet, are recommended. I doubt slaves would’ve lacked physical activity, would hardly have been obese, and complex carbohydrates like breadfruit and root crops, fresh from the field, which our centenarians credit for their longevity, would’ve featured regularly in their diets.
An article from the National Commission on Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) entitled The Maladies Of Affluence notes that while pre-Independence we may have been poorer financially, and the country less developed, we were far less prone to CNCDs. Back then we were involved in vigorous physical exercise and more often than not, took home-cooked meals to school and work, while today we buy prepared foods and use convenience snacks. In short, we’ve paid a high price for progress and development.
It seems then that modern lifestyles and our attraction for foreign fads, rather than slavery, have resulted in prevalence of obesity and diabetes. So those using this link in their arguments for reparation should “wheel and come again”.
Another mind boggling statement came from a moderator on a call-in programme while discussing whether the uniforms worn by our police force was unsuited to our climate. The caller also doubted whether their heavy boots were suited to pursuing suspected criminals. I see her point, although the local uniforms are extremely attractive and always pristine (my mother always wondered who did their laundry). Perhaps there could be some change of materials used, while maintaining the dignified design. Believe it or not, the moderator then noted that he had a more serious problem with the red stripe on the officers’ trousers. He didn’t explain if it was the colour of the stripe or the stripe itself. It’s amazing that with all our problems, a stripe on a uniform could even rate a mention.
Then there’s the revelation about the gated community not paying for water for ten years, because no meters were installed, and of course the meters which haven’t worked for years. Is there any wonder we’re in our present position?
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s resignation from the Barbados Labour Party has taken centre stage for the last week or so. It’s amazing how much time and energy are being expended on this and how the Government now seems willing to embrace his advice when, as far as I recall, they point blank refused it before. Are all the “past his expiry date” statements now forgotten? As someone said recently, if the Almighty could’ve foreseen who would be politicians, he would’ve created them with multiple mouths to enhance their unique ability to talk all over their faces.
I don’t recall ever seeing a full parliamentary speech by Mr Arthur (except the Budget) reported in the newspaper when he was Prime Minister, but now we’re treated to a two-part series on his contribution to a compulsory land acquisition resolution. Mind boggling.
Then there’s the matter of his seat in Parliament. None of the explanations is very convincing. Didn’t Hamilton Lashley, after much “to-ing and fro-ing”, eventually become an Independent? Where did he sit? Is there a shortage of furniture in Parliament? Couldn’t additional seating have been provided in “neutral territory”?
Finally, there’s this trend of using “too” and “as well” consecutively in a sentence which is spreading faster than chikungunya. Don’t those guilty of this realise that both have the same meaning? Our English scholars like Dame Patricia Symmonds must cringe at this crime against the English language.
• Dr Frances Chandler is a former independent senator. Email: [email protected]