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**

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Put On Your Thinking Cap....Now Where Did I Hide Mine?

There's no pleasing people. I have been less present writing on my own blog, but I have been wandering about giving comments hither and yon on some others in the hinter space of Bimshire. "You mad fool!" some friends have said, "Those blogs have some rabid people making comments." I jibed that while sticks and stones could break my bones, the odd (meaning rare) curse word or even the long rant sent via the Internet was not going to make me curl up and whimper "Mummy...". But, like many changes, this walk on the wild side was provoked.

First, I had such a sense of outrage at what I read about immigrants or just foreigners: substantive (yeah) arguments such as a certain group of people were "smelly" or "musty". Second, on the same issue, the evident (to me) lack of any basis laid out by the current government to support its policy change on illegal immigrants. I've been a public servant most of my life and I know that when Ministers say "get me the figures" you jump like a rabbit in heat and put something together. In Barbados, no sirree, Bob. Ministers are left uttering "If I knew you wanted some real evidence, I would have asked my neighbour, or reread Mavis Beckles. So, sorry, let me give you my own anecdotes." Third, was a need to stretch my brain a bit. I felt an equivalent of cobwebs forming. Don't get me wrong. The trading business keeps my head rolling around, especially when it seems that those who've been doing this for longer and much better, also seem to have no clue why things are moving the way they are. But, the adage is "the trend is your friend". Yet, ever wanting to be different, I keep going against trends: markets go up, markets go down. The real experts have tried and failed many times to call the bottom of the stock markets and they failed. They tried to call the top, and again they failed. Markets move in waves and living on an island, I see plenty of those so I am using my sense of the sea's rhythm to help me out. Right.

Anyway, it helped me discover that the greatest threat to Barbados is not from illegal Guyanese running rampant and getting all the lack of service from the QEH that was on offer and living 40,000 to a room and sending all of their money back to Georgetung. The real threat is from the hordes of half naked, or strangely clad, lily white, English tourists walking freely on the island's streets or lolling around on the beaches, flaunting all too clearly their disdain for our more refined ways. They also have deep pocket--with a few holes since the recession, mind you. So, if Bimlanders are concerned that rental homes for the average man are being grabbed up by the chapati munchers, then those Brits who are wining and dining at Sandy Lane and all places westward are buying up land so that nothing might ever be affordable by the same Bimlanders. I also pointed out that the British (and Europeans in general) have a sorry history when it comes to their effects on lands that they colonize (in an imperial or touristic sense). They bring diseases and local life dies off very quickly.Think I am joshing you. Look at Mauritius: where is the Dodo? Look at the Caribbean: where are the Arawaks and Caribs. Look at Latin America: where are the Incas and Mayans? Think I'm joking? Look at the spread of Swine Flu and see who it is that is having the highest incidence and where testing is going to be standard (see today's Mirror): Britain's Chief Medical Officer said "Swine flu poses the biggest challenge for the NHS in a generation." When you see those BA flights, think "Beware. Assassins." I warn you!
But some sad-masochism started to become evident. When I made comments on other blogs--one in particular--I noticed that rather than engage in intelligent discourse, some commentators reverted to what I would call the I Robot method.One would read the word "Jamaican" or sense that a Jamaican was writing and let loose a tirade of profanity. After a while, it was a bit like tickling a dog's buddy to see if his leg would react violently. In the end, I saw that the content would not matter. It was "Yea, man. De eejyat Yardee a write. Mi go rip him wi some lyriks bout how im family warra-warra, an' how fihim lady nah get nuff help an want a real man fi de jab..." The poor fellow (I am guessing that it's a male scribe) would also rant on about how his being a Bajan in England constantly mistaken for a Jamaican was ruining his love life and the racists there would never listen to his explanation of the difference between Barbados and Jamaica long enough to stop beating him up and lining him up to get on the next f***ing boat out of England, with all the other nignogs. Such intolerance! Yes, please.

I wish that I could feel that my musings made others think. I get that impression from some of the interchanges, though. But, it's not on that basis that I will engage. I really have been driven by the words of one of my early bosses: "Speak up during the discussion. You may be the only one who is talking sense." Otherwise, you get a lot of noise, even from just a few voices, and their words become THE words and it's then too late. Wrong is wrong, but the time is gone.

I have also been amused by the dishonesty of some of the discussions, especially by the blatant politicos in the local blogosphere. I'm really wishing in vain that I could read a sensible analysis of a political issue that then did not go to the sexual preference of someone, or a hint at an illicit relation, or the mixing of apples, oranges, mangosteen and cashews. I hope that when these sort of people offer advice to officials and get paid for it, that their written reports don't read the same, or have that nasty sticky feeling that comes from the writer always having his finger in some other pie, or even handling some rotting fish. Yeach!

But, does any of this change anything? I know that the blogs are read by some Big Ups or their Little Ones doing the checking for them. I know that people like to feel that someone has something to say about some of the nonsense going on, and occasionally to applaud good things. But some of the Calypsonians got there before us, and Crop Over reminded me of that. I really like Colin Spencer's political commentary entitled 'Inclusion In Reverse', which has a sharp cutting edge and takes almost everyone to task. So, maybe I should jack in this blogging and get myself organized for the next season. I cannot rival the grin'ers and win'ers with how I an wuk up. I have to perform with tough lyrics. Bob Dylan's been quiet for a long time. Time to dust off the platform heel shoes...

1 comment:

Aohinds said...

ha ha Wuh if I din know nuh bettuh I would think you were Hopi and Negroman put together. Wuh de Brits do you doah? I gine and call Bimbro/199 to read your words. lol!