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THE LOWDOWN: Harry’s bitery

Richard Hoad, [email protected]

THE LOWDOWN: Harry’s bitery

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ACCORDING TO an article in Barbados Today, Senator Harry Husbands “rubbished” those ordinary citizens who feel that “local knowledge” may have answers to our water problems. The scientists, he feels, are the  ones we must rely on for final solutions.

The senator “did not mention anyone by name”. But since my name is the only one that appears in the said article as someone offering suggestions, it has been noised abroad that “Harry pop up Lowdown!”

For the record, I encouraged maximum use of rainwater collected from roofs for farms, hotels, aquaculture systems and homes where potable mains water is not required. I would also avoid de-sal plants which are costly and have the problem of salt disposal. If that is rubbish, so be it.

Unfortunately, however, the historical record isn’t on Harry’s side. Didn’t the former government blindly rely on the “expertise of qualified technocrats”, (while bluntly ignoring the pleas of ordinary ignorant local people who knew the area backwards) to build the multimillion dollar Greenland landfill fiasco?

Has not Harry’s government for the past eight years taken the advice of the Water Authority’s “qualified technocrats”? And with what result? No water in many areas! Doesn’t this suggest we should give somebody else a listen?

I have a degree in science. But from early on I respected the experience of so-called ordinary people. Likewise, engineer Bizzy listened and learned from my unqualified brother Ted at the Biscuit Factory.

Fewer engineers

Further, senior Water Authority workers will tell you that when the BWA had fewer engineers and took the advice of experienced staff, water flowed. And that, when engineers come with a “we got degrees” attitude, workers will follow their instructions, even if they know they are doing foolishness.

That apart, Harry’s bitery is a positive sign. Only a confident government openly disses ordinary people. And this is amazing seeing that, not many months ago, it seemed teetering on the brink of extinction. Mia bestrode Froon like a colossus. Meetings and marches. The Laurie group rampaging for people’s initiatives. Or something.

“Blow, winds”, challenged Froon, “and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout, till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks! You sulphurous and thought-executing fires . . . ” Mia drowned the cocks, somebody t’ief the ducks, Maria wouldn’t give somebody peace. But Froon freundered unfrooved!

The 50th anniversary year has been a godsend. also billed as the year of “make today’s Bajan whites uncomfortable by blaming them for the past”, the bold declaration that this is a “black country” set the tone.

Nor will Bajan “poor whites” whose ancestors were dragged from their homes and ‘Barbadoed’ to work in the fields, escape the lashes. In fact, they’re prime targets, having dared to become successful businessmen.

Vivid reenactments

Spinning this out over a year will divert attention from today’s not so happy reality. Expect vivid reenactments of history, riots and rebellions.

A fellow sent me this from New York: “While I was at Mona, Errol Barrow and Cameron Tudor addressed a student reception there at which certain radical revolutionaries raised the hue and cry about black Barbadians, black Barbados, and “mixed race” societies. Barrow and Tudor vehemently rejected these ideas. Barrow said that Barbados was not a black or white or mixed race society and had no interest or desire in being any of those things.

“It was, he said, a non-racial society. Everybody was under a common and equal system of law: colour, religion, class and so on had nothing to do with it. Race, he insisted, J.C. Tudor concurring, was not a principle on which Barbados operated or could operate”.

The Dipper was obviously a statesman of Mandela calibre. We’ve come a long way since then.

Moving on smartly to today’s national topic: a teacher asks a female student to pick up a wrapper. The student tells the teacher: “My mother didn’t send me to school to pick up garbage!” As punishment for her rudeness, the girl is sent to pick up litter in the auditorium. She again refuses and is thereafter told to sit outside the guidance counsellor’s office.

Of no relevance whatsoever: at Codrington High School, my wife and all students had designated days for picking up the school litter. Unthinkable in the “freest black country in the world”. Not only freest, by the way, but among the most litterate!

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