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Wesley is about talking the talk


RACHELLE AGARD

Wesley is about talking the talk

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HE HAS A VOICE that needs to be heard. So every day on call in programmes, such as VOB’s Down To Brass Tacks or CITA’s morning show, Wesley Chandler airs his opinions and thoughts.

Chandler, who hails from Welchman Hall in St Thomas, is an auto body repairman who keeps abreast of all things topical locally, regionally and internationally.

Citing Admiral Nelson, a local radio and television personality as the reason why he got into calling into radio shows he said, “The Admiral years ago had a show called Fireworks, which is hosted at Crop Over on VOB. It was topical, dealing with all things kaiso. I consider myself fanatical about kaiso, so it drew my attention and I began listening regularly and started calling in.”

Another topic dear to his heart in society is politics.

“I love the political arena in Barbados. I like that politicians can be at each other’s throat in Parliament and at social events be friends. I think that is the mature side of politics.”

Asked if he ever considered dabbling in the political arena as he is so versed in the area, he said, smiling, “Calling into programmes is my political stage. It is so effective. It is so widely listened to that listeners get more mileage out of the political happy season [election time].”

Adding that he left school at age 14 and never had the opportunity to finish secondary school, he said he was not knowledgeable in academics because he grew up in the era where he was encouraged to learn a trade.

And although the majority of his friends leaned towards masonry, carpentry and joinery, he insisted that he be allowed to learn auto repairs after watching Ashber Jones work wonders with damaged vehicles.

“I saw Ashber fixing cars and was fascinated with a welding torch. From there it was clear in my mind that this was what I wanted to do.

“After over 30 years I still have a passion for meddling with motor cars. I do bodywork and spray painting as well. It’s just something about reconstructing a damaged car and making it new again,” he added. 

With the birds echoing in the background, a steady breeze blowing and with a rachet in hand, Chandler continued fiddling under the hood of a car he.

“I know a lot of what I know from socialising. My friends, however, are very limited and carefully chosen. I tend to socialise with the type of people who like what I like.

“We could have very robust discussions where we don’t always agree. As a matter of fact, we don’t ever agree. It always leave me with the passion to come back to cement my point.”

The group of friends consists of six or seven men, making them a very dynamic group which includes a former politician, a former public health inspector, a former accountant, and a farmer in his own right. Their chosen stage is in Green Hill, where they meet regularly to have their discussions.

His friends are his biggest critics, and he especially appreciates what his best friend, Sub, has to tell him about his contributions to the call-in programmes. “Sub has been my friend for years. He is also well versed in quite a number of areas, but he knows absolutely nothing about calypso. He is really just a hobby class rider who knows nothing about the art form,” he said, chuckling.

Stating emphatically that Red Plastic Bag (RPB) was the most lauded calypsonian to ever walk the face of Barbados, he was disappointed in the Government after all these years for not recognizing RPB’s contribution to the art form.

“By now you would think that RPB was made an ambassador or something of that sort to the country with all that he has done for the art form [calypso]. He has contributed a lot and still has much to offer.”

Adding that he would like to see more interest shown in the arts and sports especially, Chandler says he hoped he could see that happen in his lifetime.

“I think a committee should be set up which deals exclusively with these two areas. We have enough talent around where we can easily find ten personalities outside of the political arena to deal with them.”

As the interview with the grandfather of one and father of three came to an end, he said he did not know where the road called life would lead him in the future, but there was one thing hewas most certain of: “As long as I am still focused and I don’t lose my ability to speak I will keep calling them.”

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