Category Archives: Culture

BU blog comments on what defines us as a people, local and regional perspective…


BU Members Featured in Barbados Bu’n-Bu’n

If you are interested in the book contact Rosemary Parkinson

BU members featured in Rosemary Parkinson’s latest book Barbados Bu’n-Bu’n.

Crop Over & Carnival – What is Caribbean Culture? What Does it Mean? Where Are We Going?

Submitted by Pachamama
... festivals in the Caribbean hold any particular excitement any more...

… festivals in the Caribbean hold any particular excitement any more…

We are working with a few ideas.

The people who seem to know, like to consider a culture as the beliefs, enactments, values, mores, stories and maybe traditions of a people. We always talk about the dead-endedness of the political and economic cultures in the Caribbean but it is also difficult to measure any higher level of vibrancy in any other aspects of the general ‘culture’. This is true from Trinidad to Barbados, as we will argue, if we are permitted to use Carnival and Crop Over as metrics.

The project to create a new Caribbean identity is no more visible in Jamaica than it is in St. Lucia and it is doubtful how festivals contribute. The radio call-in programs seemed to have served their purpose of absorbing critical public expression, as a release valve, like these festivals, but not much more. The market share of church attendees maybe more and more consolidating into a business organizational revivalist camp. They take their orders from elsewhere. In all this, it is difficult to reconcile the visionary, even hopeful, articulations by eminent Caribbean statesmen/women of yesterday, people like CLR James, Lloyd Best, the Great George Lamming, William Demas, Derrick Walcott, Rex Nettleford, Michael Manley and others, with what is happening today. Thankfully, none of these could have sung the praises of the queen and accept a knighthood.

Maybe it is a function of age but none of the carnival festivals in the Caribbean hold any particular excitement any more, seem chronically staid, represent a ‘monotony of a sameness’ year after year, unable to transform themselves far less their societies, but pass for the most popular cultural expressions still. And we seem not to be able to break out of this downward spiral. Disconnected from the visions which our leading sons and daughters held for us. We can no longer see the wisdom of writing another social commentary, as a calypsonian.

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Barbados Grapefruit and Opportunities

Submitted by Andrew Nehaul


The Grapefruit.

The grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi) is a subtropical citrus tree known for its sour to semi-sweet fruit, an 18th-century hybrid first bred in Barbados.[1] When found, it was named the “forbidden fruit”;[2] and it has also been misidentified with the pomelo or shaddock (C. maxima), one of the parents of this hybrid, the other being sweet orange (C. × sinensis).[3]

Grapefruits have a rather recent history, having been discovered in Barbados in the 18th century. Many botanists think the grapefruit was actually the result of a natural cross breeding which occurred between the orange and the pomelo, a citrus fruit that was brought from Indonesia to Barbados in the 17th century.
The resulting fruit was given the name “grapefruit” in 1814 in Jamaica, a name which reflects the way it’s arranged when it grows—hanging in clusters just like grapes.

Grapefruit trees were planted in Florida in the early 19th century, although they did not become a viable commercial crop until later that century. Florida is still a major producer of grapefruits, as is California, Arizona and Texas. Other countries that produce grapefruits commercially include Israel, South Africa and Brazil.

When one reads the above it is a mystery why we have not used this fact to promote Barbados and/or create products for local use and export based on this wonderful fruit.  For example -

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Lewis Hamilton Shifts to Top Gear

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton – Formula 1

One positive coming out of the Top Gear Festival to be hosted in Barbados next weekend is the participation of 2008 Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton is following the script nicely after winning a fourth straight race in Spain today to move to the top of the drivers points tally one week before the Top Gear festival.  The Barbados Tourism Authority despite the huge embarrassment committed (Call for Jeremy Clarkson to be FIRED) by host Jeremy Clarkson who uttered a racist remark, Barbados maybe able to leverage the event to boost its standing in the minds of potential travellers given the enormous negative and positive publicity generated to date.

There is little doubt in the BU household the majority of spectators visiting Bushy Park next weekend do so for one reason, the coming of LEWIS HAMILTON. It is ironic that Lewis comes from a mixed background, a Black Grenadian father and White mother and is the only Black driver on the Formula 1 circuit. Let us hope the irony of it all is not lost on Clarkson and others of his ilk.

Barbados welcomes you Lewis Hamilton!

Black Barbadians Refute Bogus Mildewed Theory

Submitted by William Skinner
Everson R. Elcock a successful Black family business going strong after 50 years

”Everson R. Elcock a successful Black family business going strong after 50 years”

“In his presentation, the Prime Minister made mention of a book about the company (Everson R. Elcock and Company), which he said “refutes the bogus mildewed theory that black people are incapable of establishing businesses that grow and prosper beyond the control and by extension, the lifetime of the founder” –  Barbados Advocate Wednesday, April 20. 2011

Prime Minister Freundel Stewart was participating in the 50th anniversary celebrations of Everson R Elcock and Company. In my estimation it was one of the most interesting statements made by the Prime Minister. I, on this occasion agree with him.

This “bogus mildewed theory” believe it or not, is found in the arsenal of blacks, who are convinced that we do not support each other. N.E. Wilson, James Tudor, Ricks Supermarkets, Jordans Supermarkets, A1 and Carlton Supermarkets, Nicholls Bakery, Pearson Pharmacy, C.S. Pharmacy, Branckers, Nation Newspapers, Enids , Pink Star, Collins, Barbados Lumber Company, Youngs Sweets Parlor, the current folks at Oistins, and dozens of former and present black businesses, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have always and continue to support each other.

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Crop Over Festival Part of a Cultural Dynamic

Cranston Browne - CEO,NCF

Cranston Browne – CEO,NCF

We live in a society where the study of humanities is trivialized when stacked against the sciences. Why would human beings – in this case Barbadians – fail to appreciate the importance of understanding how we interact and integrate with our environment through the many avenues we use to express ourselves? We have so many ways to relate to our environment through art, music, literature, music and other forms of expression.

In any society stakeholders in the private and public sectors  combine to nurture and educate individuals how to ‘connect’ with their environment; in the process defining ones existence. In the Barbados context the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) is charged with the responsible. A view of the About the NCF website confirms that the NCF  is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament in 1983. Its mandate is to oversee the cultural landscape of Barbados AND To fuel the development of culture through training, research and the creation of opportunities in cultural industries.

An economy that continues to struggle has forced the government to slash budgets and this has affected  planning for the 2014 Crop Over Festival. All reasonable Barbadians understand the implications of cash flow and revenue challenges but in a politically polarized environment it is no surprise decisions taken by government will be testily debated.

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Natural Habitats on the Decline

Submitted by Charles Knighton
Do we as humans understand our relationship with the environment?

Do we as humans understand our relationship with the environment?

Almost a quarter of Europe’s bumblebees are at risk of extinction due to loss of habitats, climate change, the intensification of agriculture and changes in agricultural land.” Study: A quarter of Europe’s bumblebees face extinction, 3 April Barbados Advocate

Insects are under siege not just in Europe but worldwide, including Barbados.

On the first of November last year, when Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day from points north. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned. This year, for the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t arrive that day. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers even when compared to the record-low numbers of 2012. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse.

From 1992 through 1994, my wife and I spent our days exploring Barbados in a quest to determine the butterflies indigenous to Barbados, as well as their critically important larval host plants. Having determined such, we arranged our  plantings to facilitate a thriving butterfly sanctuary, which incidentally attracted other insect pollinators such as honeybees and bumblebees. Alas, while the plants still beckon, these ecologically critical insects have become virtually nonexistent.

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