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THE LOWDOWN: Get some fronts, Bizzy

Richard Hoad, [email protected]

THE LOWDOWN: Get some fronts, Bizzy

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DAVID ‘JOEY’ HARPER (Nation, June 16), suggests we should “stop the drama” about slavery history. No doubt he will be dealt with.

But compare these scenarios. If your hypothetical wife dubs you her “super-dooper-pooper-scooper hero” and rejoices she married you instead of finicky former beau who could never have handled those loads the puppy left in the bedroom, you’d feel pumped, right?

If instead she keeps reminiscing how same former beau, all 15 inches of him, warts and all (warts, she likes warts???), was “a great kisser”, you’d lose it, right? Both stories are true history; one inspires, the other depresses. The same with slavery, Joey seems to be saying.

But consider Joey’s letter from another angle: it gives hope to the so-called “intellectually backward” among us. Hear DJ: “No one seems to remember that the first white settlers were uneducated set-afloat seamen – some pirates – who did not even know where they were.”

You may think he’s going overboard here. He isn’t. I was at a nephew’s wedding reception last Saturday night and after the drinking most probably didn’t know where they were. Plus, given the dazzling array of dainty damsels on display, some serious plundering no doubt ensued.  Although they have different names for it now. The groom allowed that he “rang the bell” on Thursday night after the wedding ceremony. With a wife that pretty, who could but envy him?

And then in the car park I came upon a couple in such proximity that I asked the lass: “Is he molesting you?” “No, Uncle Richard”, hastily explained the fellow (he turned out to be another brother’s son), “she was adjusting my sleeves!” Tell the truth it’s been so long since I’ve rung the bell or had my sleeves adjusted, I’ve forgotten how.

But back to Joey. He celebrates the black workers whose skills “created the agricultural dynasty” that made this island great. The bookkeepers, crop planners, medical doctors, builders who constructed “houses for the non-productive plantocracy, whose only legacy is their presence in tombs and church yards built by slaves”. How sad that blacks have forsaken their agricultural expertise and left our fields in ruins instead of taking them over.

There is another side to this, however. Those “barely educated”, “non-productive” (his words) whites not only survived, but prospered. Give them credit for that.

Or give credit to non-intellectualism. Last Saturday my most successful brother mentioned his seven certificates – three marriage, two divorce, one birth, one baptismal.

And don’t think this is a white phenomenon. A non-academic black businessman friend is forever bemoaning his “educated idiot” of a brother who is content to work for a big salary making somebody else rich instead of going into business for himself.

Joey lost me, however, on the rum deal. He says Mount Gay Rum was carried to the peak of refining skill by the offspring of slaves, “now trying to be captured by some new idea whose only claim to fame is that it is manufacturing in some white man’s inherited castle Nicholas (Santa Claus) Abbey, not original then or now”.

What’s that all about? I figure the Warrens did everything right. They bought Nicholas Plantation, kept it in cane, set up an old-time sugar mill, produce quality award-winning rum, and the 1658 house, one of only three Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere, is a major tourist attraction. They landscaped the famous mahogany drive and have provided space for local vendors at breath-taking Cherry Tree Hill. So what’s their crime?

David Comissiong’s article (Barbados Today, May 26) may provide an answer. Barbados was running out of landfill space. In a deal with our black government, Bizzy Williams set up a recycling centre which has gone a long way to help.

But, no matter his humble beginnings, no matter if he provides livelihood for 10 000 black Bajans, Bizzy is white. Like the Warrens. That smacks of the “old colonial system”.

The remedy is simple. Get some black fronts, Bizzy. Run your businesses incognito. More on that later.

Positive finale: World’s oldest polo player, Sir “Cow” Williams, in a match recently in England, scored a winner in the dying seconds. Massive crowd. “I can’t believe so many turned out to see me,” he confessed. Ignoring the fact that Princes William and Harry were also playing.

Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator. Email [email protected]