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Monkeys no joke, Hoad


FRANK MORRIS

Monkeys no joke, Hoad

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I WRITE TO REPLY to your columnist Richard Hoad on the subject of the monkey cull suggested by myself and others in recent editions of the NATION newspaper.

If there was anybody in Barbados who I thought would see the value of such a cull it was Hoad. Is he not the same Hoad who is always promoting agriculture, self-sufficiency, food production and consumption of local produce, not to mention food production as a means of moving the unemployed youth from the negative culture of block idleness to that of paying work?

I can only conclude that your iconic columnist was having a dry week as far as inspiration was concerned.

Although this is a first for me, I will try my best to respond to the monkey.

You deserve no reparations because you have been helping yourselves to these for the past 350 years, living largely off the fat of the land created by the human population.

Any funds that may have accrued as a result of medical research represent a small fraction of the millions of dollars in damage, and disincentive to plant anything, that you have caused.

While I am glad to hear that you like grasshoppers, your preying on the nests of the very few native birds Barbados can lay claim to may well have led to the almost complete disappearance of the Barbados Grass Canary, and reductions in the numbers of other birds, which are a joy to have around and which cause nothing like the damage to crops that you do.

As for people being out every day shooting monkeys, I would like to know who and where they are, because they are not doing it on the edge of the Scotland District where I live. Yes, there are other anti-social groups within the island. You mention the criminal elements in high and low places. Don’t we “cull” them periodically, taking them out of circulation for a time, or sometimes permanently, when their depredations are no longer tolerable?

As for you being a natural food source, I have never heard of anybody eating monkey, and have even been warned by personnel from the Ministries of Agriculture and Health not to eat anything that a monkey has bitten, because the jury is still out as to whether they carry HIV or the monkey equivalent, and whether it can be passed on to humans in this way.

As for creating more monkey-friendly habitats, this would lead to further population increases, territorial expansion when numbers have increased sufficiently, creating more problems for human generations as yet unborn.

Your traditional living space is in The Gambia, so I would be only too happy to “give it back” to you. The Gambians, however, may not be so thrilled. Add to this your knocking out electrical power in the whole island some years ago and I think it can be safely said that you qualify as a major pest.

Mr Hoad may not mind losing all his fruits to you and your mates, as that is not his principal productive focus, but for those strivers who are trying to make a living from the land, this is no trivial or laughing matter.

I can only hope that Mr Hoad was really being ironic, and I hope that although as you write “he ain’t saying much these days anyhow”, that the tide of inspiration will turn and we will see again something more worthy of his undoubted talents.

– FRANK MORRIS

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