Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Why did I think that my thoughts would run together more easily once I got back to Barbados? Was it the foolish notion that I got inspiration from the breezes that course across the veranda where I have made my office? I am no longer distracted by the birds whistling in the garden, or the monkeys dancing on the branches, or the intermittent flow of people calling to do something. I balance my trading with all forms of other things. I knew that I had some commentary to make on the radio, but somehow, the thoughts for that never got into gear.

First, I read about an armed man who had taken a Canadian plane and its passengers hostage in Montego Bay, Jamaica, just the same day as Canada's PM was visiting. The man wanted to be taken to Cuba--the plane was headed there, anyway. Soon, I heard that the passengers had been freed but the crew as still with the gunman. A friend called to tell me that the person concerned had a Facebook page which contained some bizarre postings. Within an hour, she gave me another bulletin to say that the siege was over (see CNN report), but also that the Facebook page was no longer available. I shook my head and hoped and prayed that one more disastrous nail was not going to be driven into the coffin my country has so carefully built. The politicians will try to cement in the world's mind that this was the work of a "mentally challenged" man not an act of terrorism--in a land that already has its own special brand.

Then, my little daughter decided to disappear from every one's sight 15 minutes before she was due to go to school. Calling high and low, looking in cupboards and in shower stalls, checking every bathroom, looking in the pantry, did not unearth the child. Not a whimper or a giggle. Did we miss the door opening and someone perhaps stepping in and out quickly downstairs? I had just been lying with her sharing a story after breakfast. Then, when all wits were at their ends, the lid of a cloth suitcase opened and out poked a face. Shock was replaced by a bit of frustration and her glee at being so clever turned to tears as she understood that fear had been pushing itself into our hearts. Fiendish is the right word, not devilish. When all was calm again, I hugged her and told her that the trick she played was the best ever. She was still a bit confused as she went off to school.

I tried to gather my thoughts as I listened to comments on the radio call-in. I just could not muster the energy to engage in another piece of explanation to people whose views were clearly set. I toyed with ideas about the separation of church and state, all brought on by the fact that a visit to another Anglican church yesterday had given us the distinct pleasure of listening to a government minister explain housing policy (see Advocate report). Minister Michael Lashley could almost single-handedly restored my faith in lawyers and politicians with the wit and relative brevity that he delivered his comments. He took Reverend Maxwell's invitation to say a few words as a lawyer and politician should--to make an hour long speech. As the quarter hour mark passed, he used "Finally" cleverly to introduce yet one more comment before he at last came close to the end of his remarks. He got laughs and applause that were deserved. All of which almost detracted from the reason my family and I were there--to be with one of my wife's colleagues, who was now retiring.

I reflected on the way that a child can capture the attention of adults, recalling how my daughter held court over lunch yesterday at The Crane, and went toe to toe with all comers in conversation.

I thought a lot about the way the Bajan church organizations seemed so off beam. Jumping into the fray about un-Lenten like celebrations during Lent and Easter, but only at the last moment (see Nation April 13, 2009 report and Nation commentary). Why did they not make their objections clear at the start of the season, by when it was already clear that later on the reggae festivals and other things they did not like would be occurring? Instead, the vociferous condemnation came on Easter Sunday, the day of one of the shows. I cannot believe that they had not seen the full page newspaper ads or heard the radio promotions. By making clear their position early it could have sent at least a clear signal to Christians who wanted to be of the same mind that their institution had a position. Instead? Supine. How can the so-called church leaders command respect if they tend to offer guidance and support always from behind and rarely from in front? As one person stated, during the Lent and Easter period is the time when a Christian must show that he or she is afraid of no one and no thing.

Fortunately, I have lots of inspiration and don't feel doomed. My daughter's amazing antics help. Today, so too did the news that my wife's niece won a gold medal at the CARIFTA swimming championships in Aruba.

1 comment:

Drey said...

So you went to Holy Trinity. Ha Ha.