Family Unit Maybe Under Threat: Barbados Government To Lower Age Of Consent

Image Source: Nation Newspaper

esther-byer-suckooThe recent announcement by the government that they intend to lower the age of consent from eighteen years old to sixteen has caused many Barbadians to flicker eye-brows. The decision if promulgated will see sixteen year olds being able to seek medical attention without the consent of their parents. While the BU household understands the ‘business logic’ behind the proposal, the BU family knows that it does not square with the family centric positions which we have espoused over the past fourteen months. The truth be told, we are not sure about this proposal at all. We have this unexplained feeling that the change would have an irreversible and reverberating impact on the titled role which a family should play in a successful society. The BU household strongly believes that the family unit must be promoted as the focal point of a national strategy which seeks to arrest and promote undesirable moral behavior.

We want to believe that Prime Minister Thompson is receptive to our position. Isn’t he the architect of the Families First Programme?

The government led by the enthusiastic, intelligent and beautiful Minister of Family Care Esther Byer-Suckoo appears to be committed to lowering the age of consent. We deliberately omitted that many Barbadians feel that she maybe in danger of suffering from too much exposure to local media. We may elaborate on this matter in a future blog. To her credit she has had very vocal support from the quietest Democratic Labour Party Member of Parliament, Minister George Hutson, and the ever loquacious Ronald Jones. As we have alluded to prior, the BU household believes the import of lowering the age of consent may dislodge some social structures which are critical to maintaining social harmony.

No, we are not Gypsies! Can Minister Byer-Suckoo tell us where we can find a country model that adopted the strategy of lowering the age of consent, and achieved a positive result.

Minister Byer-Suckoo has shown early in her political career that she has some Clintoness characteristics, one of which is testicular fortitude. She recently was reported in the media as vetoing a plan to distribute condoms in prison. The ‘business logic’ exposed by the beautiful Minister Suckoo, details that we have a growing problem of under-aged pregnancy and HIV/AIDS, which has led to the urgent need to lower the age of consent. Do we detect a contradiction in government’s argument, i.e. it is acceptable to lower the age of consent but it is reprehensible to distribute condoms in prison? Using the logic advocated by the government’s proponents who support lowering the age of consent, they say it is to respond to a known undesirable behaviour among young people. On the other side of the coin our government is refusing to distribute condoms in prison despite of a known behaviour we all know to exist.

Prisons all over the world seem to affect inmates in a common way. Several reasons have been identified over the years why heterosexual men are prepared to engage in bulling while incarcerated. Whatever the reasons, the reality is that it is an undesirable behaviour which no doubt occurs in our prison! If we know that our prisoners bull then the possibility that they will contract the HIV/AIDS virus is real. So what happens when the prisoners have served their time and are released into the society Minister Suckoo? Remember that many of the prisoners who were bullying are not homosexuals. What happens when they resume their heterosexual behaviour Minister Suckoo?

Despite our best effort we are unable to reconcile the two positions of government 1)lowering the age of consent and 2) refusing to distribute condoms in prison. In both cases we can presuppose a known behaviour exist but the response by government has been on the opposite ends of the business logic. We smell a STINK.

To our favourite Minister Esther Byer-Suckoo we want to follow your lead. We know that you are a successful doctor and a budding young politician who has been anointed by some as a future Prime Minister. More important to the BU household is the fact that you are the matriarch of a successful family unit.

You need to tell us some more Minister, we are not convinced.

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72 responses to “Family Unit Maybe Under Threat: Barbados Government To Lower Age Of Consent

  1. J.

    Thank you for your clarification of the term “to trust”. While I do have 50% Bajan blood in my veins, I do admit that I did not grow up here, and so I am often ignorant of such vernacular.

    Now that I understand what you mean, I will say I would have no problem with a 16 year old being able to enter into a (as I know the term) financial contract. This presumes, of course, that both parties have conducted appropriate due-diligence, and are entering into the contact with full knowledge.

    J — seriously — I would welcome your response to the last two paragraphs of my last post addressed to you.

    Thanks, and kindest regards to all.


  2. Pingback: Barbados » Research on human trafficking in Barbados

  3. Esther Byer-Suckoo

    Wonder what she was like as a child
    inquisitive, talkative —- photogenic–???

    If you didnt know who she was- now you know
    The most photographed woman in Barbados


  4. Dear Justice: You say that “age has nothing to do with the capacity to consent”

    Consent to what?

    To sexual relations?
    To give birth?
    To terminate an unwanted pregnancy?
    To donate blood?
    To agree to a tonsillectomy?
    To marry?
    To vote?
    To enter into a contract for the purchase oof a $300 dollar bicycle?

    If age has nothing to do with the capacity to consent. Why do we and all societies limit certain things to people of certain ages.

    For example I am a blood donor. Did you know that healthy 16 and 17 year olds cannot donate blood even to their own parents even with parental consent?

    Please tell me why age limits are there if it has nothing to do with maturity?

    Please tell me why 16 and 17 year olds cannot vote in Barbados and yet they can in Brazil?

    I believe that we as a society have put age limits in place because we truly believe that some, or many or most 16 and 17 year olds are truly too immature to make difficult decisions.

    And we know very well that only the most silly, immature, irresponsible 16 and 17 years olds “decide” to begin sexual relations. The sensible mature ones wait.

    And to Chris: Yes I agree with you that sexually active youngsters who are not in happy homes do need good quality helath social and other services. If the parents will not consent or if the parents are the problem. And yes I know very well that parents can be the problem (I have talked to 74 year old incest survivor who was still crying as she recalled the assaults from 60 years earlier)

    I would prefer to see a social worker assigned to those youngsters with irresponsible parents.


  5. No trouble Chris. I am happy to help you at any time. I am comfortable in Bajan vernacular as I am in standard English. If you do not know any Bajan term you can be sure that I know it and that I wll help. I had to explain to the folks over at Barbados Free Press the very great difference between coconut water and coconut milk.


  6. J.

    Thank you for your offer of assistance with Bajan vernacular.

    As you’ve articulated, that are many of us trying to work within our systems who are ignorant of our common nomenclature.

    Perhaps you could share with us: is there a dictionary available anywhere? A web site? As in, is this written down anywhere? You know, like, documented?

    If not, perhaps you might consider undertaking such a project.

    Kindest regards.


  7. Georgie Porgie

    You can purchase

    BARBADIAN DIALECT by Frank Collymore


  8. Thank you G. Porgie.

    I personally own at least two copies of this work. (Somewhere…)

    But is it *available*? A search on Amazon shows a single used copy from 1965…

    (Please note: I personally don’t consider information to be available unless a Google search can direct any inquiring user to the material in question within 20 links…)


  9. J.

    I realize I am stepping on very dangerous ground…

    But to speak to your agreement of my argument that children who are not in “happy homes” need access to “good quality helath [sic] social and other services”…

    Very specifically — how can we (as a society) enable this without allowing all youngsters to seek direct help? As in, how can we (again, as a society) know which children are in need, and those which aren’t?

    (Truly) best regards to all.


  10. Dear Chris:

    You might want to purchase:

    Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage by Richard Allsopp, with a French and Spanish supplement edited by Jeannette Allsopp. Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, England 1996, 697 pages.

    1996 is the first and only edition that I am aware of. Maybe you could contact UWI’s Lingusitics department to see if they are working on a new edition.

    I bought mine years ago from the Cloister bookshop in Bridgetown and I have bought a copy for a friend from UWI’s bokshop.

    Dr. Allsopp was for many years a teacher of Linguistics at the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill. His wife and co-author Jeanette taught at the Barbados Community College

    This dictionary is not perfect but is scholarly, comprehensive and far superior to Collymore’s slim volume


  11. Dear J.

    Thank you for this. I will indeed seek out a copy.

    Best regards.


  12. Chris:

    Available on today. It appears to be the paperback edition published by UWI Press in 2003. Cost $23. USD used and $30. USD new


  13. Esthe Byer Suckoo was on television

    twice in the news

    i will count her down for you guys
    will she be on tonight ??


  14. I beg the Prime Minister to give her something to do. Everywhere I go I see her. I don’t need to see ministers that often, I just need to know if they are doing their job… What is her job again?


  15. …Oh and shifting Days of our lives to another time slot does not count as a job


  16. saw suckoo on my tv again

    i will be counting the times she is on


  17. A True Believer

    If I was suckoo husband i would be worried about robot. at least she better looking than mottley or liz thompson. that long hair is drive me wild.


  18. I thought the arugument is lowering the MEDICAL CONSENT to 16.

    Any ways, I think that the MEDICAL CONSENT being lowered to 16 is not a bad idea, reason being there are alot of parents out there who still think old school and refuse to accept that sex is well known in the society by our children and these children knows more about it than they do. The thing about it is that most of these children are not very educated about protection and the different STDs out there and by lowering this consent age children can be more open with their doctor, if they cant be with their own parents.

    These doctors now would be able to relate to these children and answer any question these teenagers have for them without the pressure from their parents know, since there should be doctor to patient confidentiality.

    That is just my view.


  19. I with you on this one S. Although i know i will get some stick for this. But children are being more ‘adventurous’ than in days gone by and that is a reality that we have to deal with.


  20. Suckoo was on my t v twice last nite in the news


  21. i am seeing suckoo on my tv-right now 12:30 pm

    what i am doing might seem trivial but i find quite alarming that she can be seen so often.
    this is something that stands out and i find it interesting


  22. I think most of barbados quite sick of seeing and hearing esther suckoo on t.v.

    She reminds of the then ever present lynette eastmond.

    Both suckoo and lynette need to think carefully before they open their mouths – else what will come out is just emptiness – just air.


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