The great feast of the fat­ted calf

UK Barbados Nation - - EDITORIAL -

I AM TOLD THAT old habits die hard and the ev­i­dence cer­tainly sup­ports that view. Hence the say­ing: “The more things change, the more they re­main the same.”

Bar­ba­dian so­ci­ety has cer­tainly changed over the decades we can count in our life­time. We have moved from be­ing an un­der­de­vel­oped coun­try to a de­vel­op­ing one with a stan­dard of liv­ing many other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries might envy (al­though the last ten years in the po­lit­i­cal wilder­ness did set us back some­what).

But while we have had sig­nif­i­cant phys­i­cal changes, we con­tinue to be plagued by old val­ues, prej­u­dices and sys­tems in­her­ited from the colo­nial pe­riod. Nowhere is this more ev­i­dent than in our pub­lic ser­vice, which con­tin­ues to re­tard the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try with its cum­ber­some, “di­nosauric” meth­ods of do­ing things.

Hand in glove with this de­vel­op­ment-un­friendly in­sti­tu­tion is the men­tal­ity brought over from the days of strict de­mar­ca­tion be­tween the rulers and the ruled, the lat­ter thank­ful for the crumbs fall­ing from their masters’ ta­bles, know­ing full well they would never get to taste any of the meat from the fat­ted calf (Oh, how that calf has changed hands).

At­ti­tude to work­ing class

So that to­day, we have a lin­ger­ing class of ne­gro­crats – “ne­groes” who have in­her­ited not just the man­tle of power from the old “mas­ter”, but his con­temp­tu­ous at­ti­tude to­wards work­ing class peo­ple – in this case their own peo­ple.

I have no doubt it was this at­ti­tude that dis­com­moded the ven­dors who have been sell­ing at the Grant­ley Adams Me­mo­rial School for all those years. (Some­one) got up one morn­ing and de­cided that

(for rea­sons best known to ru­mour and sus­pi­cion), the ven­dors should be pre­vented from mak­ing their liv­ing as they did for decades.

It mat­tered not how his ac­tion would af­fect them and their fam­i­lies. Whether they ate grass or sucked salt was none of the per­son’s busi­ness in the slight­est bit.

To com­pound the act of in­jus­tice, representatives from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion vis­ited the school to in­ves­ti­gate the is­sue, and met with those who man­age the school. None of them thought of speak­ing with the ven­dors nor the stu­dents. Why would they? Which bigups from Gov­ern­ment of­fices does sit down to talk with ven­dors and stu­dents?

Not in di­rect control

All this is hap­pen­ing in spite of clear sig­nals from Prime Minister Mia Mot­t­ley that the old pol­icy of crim­i­nal­is­ing vend­ing will end.

Ms Mot­t­ley is head of the Gov­ern­ment, but she’s not in di­rect control of ev­ery facet of it. She is sur­rounded by any num­ber of tribal min­ions who view the elec­toral vic­tory of the tribe as the gate­way to the great feast of the fat­ted calf. And they are not pre­pared to let lowly ven­dors from Hor­tons or Horse Hill get be­tween them and the roast.

Sarge may be large and in charge, but he should be aware that the time al­ways comes when the peo­ple will say: “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.”

(FP)

VEN­DORS HAND­ING chil­dren food over the fence dur­ing the re­cent im­passe at Grant­ley Adams Me­mo­rial School.

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