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 Comments on “Family Unit Maybe Under Threat: Barbados Government To Lower Age Of Consent”

  1. Anonymous June 8, 2008 at 7:30 AM #

    David VOB is having a callin on lowering the age of consent this morning.


  2. xenophobe chick June 8, 2008 at 8:30 AM #

    Spain has the lowest age of consent in Europe (set at 13) while Turkey and Malta have the highest, set at 18.


  3. Keltruth Corp. June 8, 2008 at 8:50 AM #

    I read that the age of consent in Guyana is 13, and that in some places of the world it is 9.

    There is another problem of adults giving drugs to children so that they can take advantage of them.


  4. You can't fool Mother Nature June 8, 2008 at 8:57 AM #

    This typically-Bajan ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards the ‘sanctity of the family’ (now that’s a joke) and ‘age of consent’ (starts at puberty) ignores the irresistible forces of Mother Nature.

    Instead of following ‘man made’ rules (mainly religious) we should not only lower the age of consent. We should teach ‘sex education’ early in our schools. Very early.

    As others do already.


    In France, sex education has been part of school curricula since 1973. Schools are expected to provide 30 to 40 hours of sex education, and pass out condoms, to students in grades eight and nine. In January 2000, the French government launched an information campaign on contraception with TV and radio spots and the distribution of five million leaflets on contraception to high school students.


    In Germany, sex education has been part of school curricula since 1970. It normally covers all subjects concerning the growing-up process, the changing of the body, emotions, the biological process of reproduction, sexual activity, partnership, homosexuality, unwanted pregnancies and the complications of abortion, the dangers of sexual violence, child abuse, and sex-transmitted diseases, but sometimes also things like sex positions. Most schools offer courses on the correct usage of contraception. There are also other media of sex education, in first place the youth magazine “Bravo”, which always contains a topic where teenagers pose questions about partnership and sexuality. Though it has to be added that the importance of this particular purpose of the magazine has faded somewhat since the 1990ies, mostly due to teenagers getting the desired information from the Internet.

    The Netherlands

    Subsidized by the Dutch government, the “Lang leve de liefde” (“Long Live Love”) package, developed in the late 1980s, aims to give teenagers the skills to make their own decisions regarding health and sexuality. Nearly all secondary schools provide sex education as part of biology classes and over half of primary schools discuss sexuality and contraception. The curriculum focuses on biological aspects of reproduction as well as on values, attitudes, communication and negotiation skills. The media has encouraged open dialogue and the health-care system guarantees confidentiality and a non-judgmental approach. The Netherlands has one of the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in the world, and the Dutch approach is often seen as a model for other countries.


    In Sweden, sex education has been a mandatory part of school education since 1956. The subject is usually started at grades 4–6, and continues up through the grades, incorporated into different subjects such as biology and history. In Finland, the Population and Family Welfare Federation provides to all 15-year-olds an introductory sexual package that includes an information brochure, a condom and a cartoon love story.


    In Switzerland, the content and amount of sex education is decided at the cantonal level. In Geneva, courses have been given at the secondary level since the 1950s. Interventions in primary schools were started more recently, with the objective of making children conscious of what is and isn’t allowed, and able to say “No”. In secondary schools (age 13-14), condoms are shown to all pupils, and are demonstrated by unfolding over the teacher’s fingers. For this, classes are usually separated into girl-only and boy-only subgroups. Condoms are not distributed, however, except among older adolescents engaged in state-run non-compulsory education (age 16-17).

    United Kingdom

    In England and Wales, sex education is not compulsory in schools as parents can refuse to let their children take part in the lessons. The curriculum focuses on the reproductive system, fetal development, and the physical and emotional changes of adolescence, while information about contraception and safe sex is discretionary. Britain has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe and sex education is a heated issue in government and media reports. In a 2000 study by the University of Brighton, many 14 to 15 year olds reported disappointment with the content of sex education lessons and felt that lack of confidentiality prevents teenagers from asking teachers about contraception.

    In Scotland, the main sex education program is Healthy Respect, which focuses not only on the biological aspects of reproduction but also on relationships and emotions. Education about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases are included in the program as a way of encouraging good sexual health. In response to a refusal by Catholic schools to commit to the program, however, a separate sex education program has been developed for use in those schools. Funded by the Scottish Government, the program Call to Love focuses on encouraging children to delay sex until marriage, and does not cover contraception, and as such is a form of abstinence-only sex education.


  5. Keltruth Corp. June 8, 2008 at 9:11 AM #

    My earlier comment was blocked where I commented that the age of consent in Guyana was thirteen. In Spain it is also 13. In some parts of the world it is even 9.

    Should people from these countries be informed about Barbadian law when they enter the country?


  6. Justice June 8, 2008 at 10:36 AM #

    What has the achievement of a certain age got to do with the ability to consent? In Britain and Jamaica the age of medical consent, as well as sexual consent, is also 16.


  7. Yardbroom June 8, 2008 at 11:20 AM #

    The issues here are complex, and they must be disentangled for us to see the way forward for Barbados. What is done in Europe is important, but we must take into account cultural norms…even if they are bad, because that is the reality.

    By way of example, it is not unusual to see young boys and girls kissing in public in Europe… and I do not mean a peck on the cheek. This activity is not done with the same openness in Barbados. However, in general terms our European young people are less likely to go as far under the cover of darkness as young Barbadians.

    Culture is obviously at play, and a reluctance to show open affection in front of adults cannot be construed as lacking interest in the sexual component of that activity.

    If it is legal to have sex at 16 years. It follows that all the support and advice available to adults will be available. This would allow girls and boys who are sexually active to come in from the cold.

    One of the problems in Barbados is the disparity in ages between young girls and older men in casual relationships. These older men often use a financial incentive to entrap young girls…very sad.

    There is validity in the argument that the family unit could be undermined. I do not believe this to be the case, but an effort through education is required for us to get to grips with sexual behaviour in Barbados.

    The prison issue with regard to free distribution of condoms is separate… the only link is sexual activity.

    Buggery is illegal in Barbados, some would wish that was not the case…but so it is. It would seem inconsistent with the laws of the land; if a Government Minister was seen to facilitate an illegal activity… condoms distribution in prisons.

    There is the argument of hetrosexual men engaging in buggery in prisons, and the possibility of spreading HIV/AIDS among the female population on release.

    This is a difficult decision for a Government Minister to make, and we should not dismiss it as if it was not.

    There is an argument that if condoms were freely available in prisons. Prisoners who might not engage in sexual activity because of a fear of aids, would then throw caution to the wind. This would result in prisons becoming dens of iniquity, with the resultant bullying…no one would be safe.

    I am afraid Barbadians have to rethink our attitudes to sexual behaviour.

    Perhaps what has to be done in terms of sex education, must have a direct focus on “boys”. We have too many young men who leave pregnant young girls to fend for themselves.

    We must get that change of behaviour, for we will have a better society because of it.


  8. Bush Tea June 8, 2008 at 11:34 AM #

    I agree with your concern.
    Here we have another example of doing something which reacts to a symptom and in the long run, worsens the basic situation.

    Any arrangement which seeks to make children (and below age 16, the typical person is clearly a CHILD in all the practical senses of the term) independent of their parents is guaranteed to backfire.

    In fact, more sensible strategies would seek to bring parents and children closer together at this vulnerable stage of a teenager’s life, rather than the opposite.
    How about a law that FORCES parents to attend PTA meetings at least monthly? Or one to force these children to become part of a positive youth organisation like the cadets or scouts which have positive “parent mentors”?

    The fact that there are some (many) errand parents who fail their offspring at this stage in their lives needs to be addressed, but not by creating a legal wedge between the family unit.

    I always pity the posters who refer to the situation in some ‘developed’ societies in support of our blind copying of their approach. The results achieved in most of these countries in terms of family and social cohesiveness would suggest that we should do the opposite.

    Did that poster observe the actions of the children of France only last year in the face of some national difficulties?


  9. David June 8, 2008 at 1:55 PM #

    BT et al the reason why we asked our Minister to identify a country model when has a low age of consent which has demonstrated success is what we are looking for. To hear countries like Guyana and Jamaica coming back at us provides comfort only to fools.

    So we want to retrofit legislation to fit the symptom but are we discussing a parallel strategy which might see legislation which addresses parenting?


  10. politically incorrect June 8, 2008 at 2:55 PM #

    I agree with your comments. This move is anti-family.

    What does it matter if the WHOLE world is doing it.

    If they jump off a cliff will you too?

    However, David, Ms. Byer-Suckoo’s physical attributes i.,e. “beautiful” are not at all relevant to her other intellectual attributes, unless we are going to be swayed by people’s outer packaging.


  11. David June 8, 2008 at 3:05 PM #

    politically correct we can’t help it if we love the women but unlike many of our people today we have will power!

    Plus we know that she reads the blogs because she let on in a CBC TV interview recently that the government wanted to pass corrected legislation to address rising human trafficking in Barbados because she did not want it bloged on the Internet 🙂

    Dear lovely Minister please pass the legislation for the correct reason!


  12. me June 8, 2008 at 4:04 PM #

    Esther Byer Suckoo need to slow down and think carefully before she speaks. So far she has said nothing of value and apparently wants to take over the health Ministry.
    Does she have a personal photogrpaher employed by the Nation???

    Its all well and good to want to be seen as ‘doing something’ but when your words are nonsensical…its better to keep your trap shut!

    No condoms for prisioners because condoms are not effective but the old people should ues condoms to prevent them from catching HIV! Ammm dear Esther you are contradicting yourself!

    And as usual the typical and expected bajan hypocrisy rears its ugly head…

    If a significant number of bajan adults ( men and women) and the same 16 yo girls are of the view that a 16 year old is old enough to have sex and 16 year old girls having sex is a common occurrence then why is the age of consent 18?

    In an ideal world for some of you all women ( not men who y’all feel should start f@@ping as soon as puberty) would not be allowed to consent to sex until they are married but thankfully wunna dont control things!


  13. You can't fool Mother Nature June 8, 2008 at 6:03 PM #

    As usual the topic is drifting.

    politically incorrect – just because you eat macaroni pie 5 times a week doesn’t mean the rest of the world should do the same thing. And how can sex-education in schools be “anti-family?”

    And for the life of me I still don’t see what condoms in prison have to with the age of consent between 2 healthy non-incarcerated adults.


  14. David June 8, 2008 at 6:26 PM #

    You can’t fool Mother Nature~unlike the call in programme in the blogosphere we can explore to our heart is happy. Do try to contain your thoughts on BU. Let your mind be as fertile as it wants to be.

    Can we say to you that there is a belief that for every decision we take we should expect some kind of reaction. Scientists usually anticipate reactions by creating control environments to perform tests. Unfortunately the social scientist like to fool the public that they can do similar. We have our doubts and fears.


  15. Tell me Why June 9, 2008 at 2:57 AM #

    I am seeing double trouble and a serious conflict of views by two ministries. If the Minister of Family is giving consent to 16 year olds without parent’s consent; and the Minister of Education is telling parents that school age will be increased to 18 years. Do tell me, which of the ministries will have the final say?

    I agree with you David that we are trying to follow the larger developed countries by taking the responsibility of raising our children from the parent, thus creating an uncontrolled society that will lead to more HIV problems, abortions and teenage pregnancies. And you know who will carry the blame…..we the PARENTS. This decision will make it more difficult for our teachers. This is not a political problem but a social problem.


  16. Yardbroom June 9, 2008 at 3:28 AM #

    Tell me Why

    I see two different situations.

    The proposed school age being raised to 18 years, enables the acquiring of academic and other qualifications to prepare students for the world of work.

    Lowering the age of consent to 16 years, facilitates the dissemination of information to young people – particularly girls – who have the sexual maturity but not the intelligence to cope with what their bodies allow them to do.

    We must be aware that in some households, parents have great difficulty in controlling the behaviour of their 14-16 year old daughters.

    In our settled family units we sometimes find it difficult to understand that…but so it is.


  17. David June 9, 2008 at 6:33 AM #

    We are all familiar that government will make proposals which look effective on the service but the actioning and management of the thing often falls flat. The public deserves to hear more. How will these under-aged children who are to be tested in absentia of parents be managed.

    The public needs to hear some details! The last thing which the status quo wants to do is to bastardize the idea of the family unit where children can manipulate the system as they do now at the expense of good parents.


  18. Bush Tea June 9, 2008 at 7:15 AM #


    I must tell you that this is one of the few times that your logic escapes the Bush tea.

    1 -How do you arrive at the position that forcing children to stay in school until 18 would enable “the acquiring of academic and other qualifications to prepare students for the world of work.”

    …trust me yardie, all this will do is frustrate those students, their teachers, and the remaining students out of their wits.

    Those students should not even be in ‘school’ at age 12. Once it is clear from the 11 plus results that an academic school environment is not where they will see their full potential as Bajan adults, PROPER training and educational facilities should be in place to support their success…. but our authorities feel that success = academics….so I guess they must pay the price.

    Then you say that “Lowering the age of consent to 16 years, facilitates the dissemination of information to young people”


    Information can not be disseminated to under sixteens without lowering consent?!?

    All this does is to provide for the legal exclusion of parents. (So other ‘concerned adults’ could presumably arrange to provide teens with this ‘information’ without the parent’s knowledge or consent)

    Children and parents should be encouraged to work together – not legally divorced.

    SOMETHING needs to be done; but are we not intelligent enough to come up with a creative approach that could really work for us in Barbados – rather than copy failed policies from other places?


  19. The scout June 9, 2008 at 7:54 AM #

    I agree with you, I’m not hearing Dr Estwick on matters concerning health. The problem about the inadequate use of condoms, should be explained by the Min. of Health Not Suckoo’s ministry. Also the medical advantges and disadvantages of lowering the age of consent, should be the responsibilty of the Min of Health. Yes, she is a medical doctor but it is NOt her ministry and she should not appear to upstage the present minister.


  20. The scout June 9, 2008 at 8:17 AM #

    On the actual idea of lowering the age of consent,I’m worried. In a country where we seem to have lowered our moral standards, isn’t lowering consent age, a receipe for disaster? It seems that we are giving in to the whims and fancies of our young people. Why not then lower the age of voting and constituency representation? or this may be at the detriment of some politicians. Already with this human rights thing I’m hearing about some parents have lost control of their family; we’re about to hand the house over to the children. Thank God I don’t have any young ones. The whole bedrock of barbadian culture is being eroded by these so called educated gurus who seem bent on confusing a system that has built this country. We are becoming very american in our new attitude but just look at the rudeness of an american child to an average bajan child at the same age. Is this what we want?
    Parents speak out, on call-in programs, at PTA’s anywhere possible


  21. xenophobe chick June 9, 2008 at 10:48 AM #


    Awaken all you Bajan middle-aged.

    Your 12 & 13-year-olds know more about sex than you do.

    At least they’ve seen more of it.

    Ever heard of Google?


  22. Tell me Why June 9, 2008 at 11:20 AM #

    The proposed school age being raised to 18 years, enables the acquiring of academic and other qualifications to prepare students for the world of
    You are 20% right, since 20% of children will be the real academics who are willing to further their education. The others are those pressured by parents to continue schooling up to 18 years. Look at the downside, how about the the over 16 year olds who are forced to remain and have no intention to be controlled by the system. What you will get, rebellious behaviour.


  23. Tell me Why June 9, 2008 at 11:27 AM #

    We must be aware that in some households, parents have great difficulty in controlling the behaviour of their 14-16 year old daughters.
    Contradictions in your statement. If parents are finding problems controlling 14 – 16 year olds, with the legalising the age to 16 will remove control from the parents. What we will see is the 10 – 11 year olds getting involved in sex and the system accommodating them. We have to maintain a system, not change or system because other countries are doing it.


  24. propaganda press June 9, 2008 at 12:34 PM #

    the age of consent in Guyana WAS 13. it was raised to 16 and may be raised again to 18. that was the original intent…can’t quite figure out why 16 won out…but I’ve never heard of a country lowering the age of consent. strange things are happening


  25. Real Ting June 9, 2008 at 12:45 PM #

    I think the caption is misleading david. As far as i know the age for sexual consent in Barbados is already 16. What they are proposing is to lower the age at which an individual can seek & receive medical care and attention without a parent’s permission from 18 to 16.
    two totally different scenarios.


  26. Chris Halsall June 9, 2008 at 2:46 PM #

    Real Ting…

    A critical distinction…

    Thank you for bring this to our attention. Completely re-frames the debate.


  27. The scout June 9, 2008 at 3:19 PM #

    In a real Barbados, there are households where young school children earn more money than their working parents.Let’s face it!!!!!. when those who are trying to keep some stability their moral family is faced by a gov’t that is undermining that: are we not courting disaster?
    If this gov’t really want to do something, stop those underage children from going partying all night and drink hard and smoking. It’s normal for many of these children to be getting home when the sun is rising. If the parents can’t do anything about it, this administration should. When a young child gets pregnant and the case is brought to court, the parent should not be able to prevent the process. Too much of this is happening in this country, even among the so called big guns. Double standards are confusing the young people. Big ALL the accused to court.


  28. Chris Halsall June 9, 2008 at 4:05 PM #

    The scout wrote “If the parents can’t do anything about it, this administration should.”

    You seem to have some confusion about the strength and ability of our (or any) government…

    Short of totalitarian governance, *no one* has any direct power over *anyone*. Unless you’d like to see Barbados become Singapore, China, or North Korea (or Nigeria), I would ask that perhaps you might reconsider your position.

    It is a fundamental truth that people will do what they want to do. Morality cannot be imposed by a Government — at least, without giving up many, *many* liberties which many have fought for, and many more (rightly) consider their God given rights.

    Thus, Governments are limited to working within the parameters which they face. It is sad to say, but this includes young people making bad decisions.

    Please tell me “The scout”, which is better: a young person finding themselves in trouble, and being able to independently leverage on Government services for information and knowledge?

    Or having these same young people finding themselves in trouble, but so afraid of their parents’ reaction with no other resources that they delay seeking help until it is too late (whatever that may mean)?

    Morality can only come from *us*. We each, individually, can try to influence those around us, using any means at our disposal.

    But at the the end of the day, each individual will make their own decisions. And, at best, our (or any) Government can only facilitate harm reduction; little more…



  29. Yardbroom June 9, 2008 at 5:00 PM #

    Tell me Why
    The object – through education, support and help- is not to get parents to control their daughters, but the daughters to control themselves. It is the daughters who are having sex, or will have sex. The parents have already travelled that road.

    Bush Tea
    I hear what you say and I have a lot of sympathy with your position.

    Some students would leave school aged 13 or 14 years if they were allowed to. Often the teachers find them so difficult to manage they would be well rid of them. The effort it takes to manage a class with students whose intent is disruption, can be mentally draining. However, the students must be kept in school not only for their own good but for society as a whole.

    The world is changing and changing fast. A pair of hands on leaving education is often not enough.

    In the developed world the emphasis is on, getting as high a proportion of young people as possible to take University degrees. Some question this practice – to be fair – but most of the major deveolped countries are taking this route.

    I see no reason why Barbados should not encourage, those who wish to be better educated…a degree is not for everyone, but all to their full potential.

    With regard to 16 year old girls.

    No one is against the family unit, I am a family man myself.

    I have some regard for those who take an opposite position. However, young people should be educated to have sex with responsibility.

    To give the impression, or suggest, that we have no control over our sexual behaviour, is the wrong route to take.

    To really progress and change the mind set in Barbados, we must make hard decisions …often outside our comfort zone.


  30. J June 9, 2008 at 6:51 PM #

    I have a problem with the age of sexual consent being 16. I also have a problem with the age of medical consent being 18. My problem that both sex and medical care are very, very expensive. And most 16, 17 and almost 18 year olds have no money. So a 16 or 17 year old consents to an expensive medical procedure. Do the doctor’s in this country understand that they cannot sue a minor to revover thier fees if she refuses or is unable to pay her debt, because she is less than 18 and cannot be held legally responsible for any debt which she appears to have contracted.

    At present a 16 year can consent to sexual intercourse. And guess what happens when the 16 or 17 year old become pregnant? If she decides to give birth all too often the the child father deserts, if he provides support it is all too often, sporadic, short-term and inadequate. So then the 16 or 17 year old still has to turn to her parents for support for herself (since she is often not working) and for her child. I think that we have forgotten that no 16 or 17 year old in Barbados can sign a lease to rent even the most modest shelter or to buy even the most basic pieces of furniture so that even if the adolesent has the money to pay her own rent no landlord can sign a lease with her. And if a person is legally incapable of providing even rented shelter for themselves and their offspring my feeling is that we should let the law remain as is, or even raise the age of sexual consent to 18. Or alternatively we should change the age of majority to 16, so that at least a young mother can rent a place for herself and child and go to Courts or Standard’s to sign a hire purchase agreement to buy a crib for the baby and a stove and bed and some pots and dishes for herself.

    If we truly want the age of majority to be 16 then we should go all the way and not fool our teenagers with half baked measures. I would hate to be a 16 or 17 year old who has been put out by my parents and deserted by my boyfriend and have no place to go and no place to put my baby, or no place to recover from my abortion.

    As I said for women sex has always been very expensive. An abortion costs $800 and to raise each child cost in excess of $100,000. Women can never run away and say “it ain’t mine”

    You men have that luxury and all to often you exercise it.

    I think that it is irresponsible of us adults to deceive our youngsters by giving them sexual and medical consent with one hand while with the other hand we smugly WITHOLD legal majority and the vote.

    This is patently both unfair and unreasonable. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

    And for those who even suggest an age of consent of 9. Are you also willing to permit 9 year olds to vote, to run for elected office, to sign legal contracts, to administer their own financial affairs, to administer their dead parent’s estates? And if not why not?

    Why are we so eager to withhold legal and financial and political power from 9 to 17 year olds while at the same time being so willing to burden them with the responsibility of child bearing and child rearing and with having to make sometimes complex medical decisions?

    We the adults of this country shoud be ashamed of ourselves. This is not about the best interest of these children. This is about making it easy for big men to have sex with foolish young girls and them letting these men impose the responsibility for correcting the mistake on the shoulders of confused adolescents.


    The thing is most of our children will not understand that we are fooling them. That we are looking out for we.


  31. Chris Halsall June 9, 2008 at 8:21 PM #

    Dear J.

    I personally find it somewhat difficult to determine your message from your language.

    However, based on what I’ve interpreted, I would simply respond that what is (already) going on will continue going on, no matter what you or anyone else says or wants.

    The proposal “on the table” is simply to empower the youth (men and women both) to receive access to medical attention without a parents’ consent. The youth are already doing what they want — why would giving them access to legitimate medical care be a bad thing?

    If you don’t like what the youth are doing, then try convincing them not to do it (using any means an your disposal). But withholding medical attention is not the way to do this — it will simply mean young people in need will not have access to the care and counsel they need.

    I personally resonate with our concern about men abandoning women who become pregnant. This is (truly) a tragedy.

    But three important points:

    1. Sex is not just about getting pregnant — STDs are a *big concern* which *everyone* should be concerned about. (Personally, AIDS scares the hell out of me!!!)

    2. Genetics are now to the point where paternity can be established *absolutely*.

    3. We are *all*, *individually*, responsible for our own actions. The world owes us nothing; it was here first…


  32. The scout June 9, 2008 at 8:42 PM #

    Chris Hadsall
    I got my first key for my parent’s home when I became a man. They are children under 15 yrs. who have keys for their home and comes in anytime at night/morning. I guess they call this “children’s rights”, well not at me. When you holding your own $, you can hold my key to my house.” special conditions apply”. If I got to send you to school and support you, my input into these consents that I hear gov’t talking about, my wife or I MUST be involved. If gov’t is going to tell any of my children what they can do without my consent, let that dept find somewhere for them to live but NOT AT ME. Da is wha


  33. The scout June 9, 2008 at 8:53 PM #

    Here’s this
    Child:Morning mummy/daddy. I want some money about $800.00
    Mummy: fa wha?
    Child: I got an appointment wid de doctor
    Mummy: fa wha?
    Child: Ya know da fella dat got da BMW dat dus come to me? Well he bred me and I gine get an abortion today.
    Mummy: you gine do wha?
    Child: wha you can stop me or I gine tell Dr Suckoo, and you in trouble.
    Mummy: Lord, come fa ya world.
    Daddy: Get up ma house NOW; go and live at she den


  34. The scout June 9, 2008 at 9:00 PM #

    The problem with we black people, we must hit bout and it’s alright to wear a condom but the indians sticking to one partner and breeding every year. Generations from now the place is going to be a total indian country. The spirits of our ancestors will look down with tears in their eyes in dispare at how we destroy their legacy. Think about it. Then we call this progress


  35. Chris Halsall June 9, 2008 at 9:27 PM #

    Dear “The Scout” et al.

    My apologies. I had written a response to your 2008.06.09.2042 posting, but then I read your 2008.06.09.2100 posting. And then I deleted my language…

    I have a personal policy not to engage individuals with xenophobic positions. I’m sorry I’ve wasted your time.

    Best regards to all.


  36. Gabriel the Horn Blower June 9, 2008 at 9:58 PM #

    Part II of “At the Scout’s”

    child uses cellphone
    Child: “Yusuf, can you come for me?
    child listens…
    Child: “Daddy just threw me out.”
    child listens some more
    Child: “OK I’ll meet you at the bottom of the gap.”
    Child: Daddy you can kiss my pregnant a##! I gone. My sweet coolie man coming to pick me up anytime now!

    crescendo sound of music…voice of narrator comes on ..”Tune in next time to “At the Scouts” when Taniqua tells Yusuf..

    Child: in between tears “Yusuf I sorry but the baby wasn’t yours…it was Shaquille’s but he didn’t have any money for the abortion! ”

    Music plays, credits come up.

    (I couldn’t resist some fun…things a bit slow tonight…OK I’m a sick person…sue me)


  37. J June 9, 2008 at 11:50 PM #

    Dear Kelthuth:

    Yes indeed all foreigners should be told the age of consent before they come to Barbados. BTA should put it on thier brochures ans websites.When is Spain do as the Spanish do. When in Barbados you must obey Barbados’ law even if is is different from what you are used to

    In may sates of the U.S. the age of sexual consent and of marriage has been raised to 18. I know that a lot of Bajan men would find themselves in trouble in the U.S., especially as the law varies fr state to state


  38. J June 9, 2008 at 11:54 PM #

    ear Scout;

    Nobody ain’t mekking nobody “hit bout”

    Everybody is free to live sweet and loving with their chosen life partner.


  39. J June 10, 2008 at 12:13 AM #

    Dear Chris Halsall:

    Sorry to have confused you by being long winded. I’ll try to be brief.

    I do not wish to stand in the way of anybody who needs medical care.

    However we must be careful that we do not burden our children with adult RESPONSIBILITIES even while withholding adult RIGHTS from them. I believe that rights and responsibilites are 2 sides on one coin, that they are inseparable.

    If 16 year olds can consent to medical care then then should also be able to consent to their own marriages, to sign their own contracts, and to seek and hold elected office. These are serious adult RIGHTS which we the old people insists on holding for ourselves.

    Why can’t 16 year olds vote? Why can’t 16 years olds marry without parental consent? Why can’t 16 years olds run for elected office? Why can’t 16 year olds sit in Cabinet? Why can’t 16 year olds to appointed to the judiciary? Why can’t 16 year olds be governor general? Why can’t a 16 year olds enter medical training? Why can’t a 16 year old enter nursing training? Why can’t 16 year olds “trust” a crib from Courts?

    Why? Why? Why?

    If we lower the age of medical consent then let us enfranchise our 16 and 17 year olds in ALL of the above ways.

    I personally have no problem with a 16 year old judge or 16 year old prime minister, nor a 16 year old doctor.

    And I am sure tht everybody on this blog agrees with me.


  40. Bush Tea June 10, 2008 at 4:35 AM #

    What a devastating line of argument J….

    We all await CH’s response….


  41. David June 10, 2008 at 6:05 AM #

    In fairness to the proponents of lowering the age of consent, they are careful to indicate that the process of delivering healthcare to the 16 year old will be managed by an army of social workers et al. They have also been at pains to point out that the proposed legislation is targeted at those children who exist without parents. Perhaps we can address this matter directly?


  42. The scout June 10, 2008 at 7:15 AM #

    “everybody is free to live sweet and loving with their chosen life partner.”
    Yes. I agree with that but only when you are not dependent on your parents for support. Why should the law tell me I have to support a 16 yr old who can go breed and get an abortion without consulting me.


  43. Chris Halsall June 10, 2008 at 8:32 AM #


    Thank you for clarifying your position.

    I personally would not have any objections to any of what you propose. (Although I don’t understand your comment about “crib from Courts”.)

    Seriously. With regards to the being elected / appointed / entering medical school et al, they obviously would have to be appropriately qualified — but that’s self regulating.

    Give them the vote? Sure — why not. I know some 16 year olds who are smarter than some 40 year olds.

    Let them get married — again, sure, why not. Although, in all seriousness, I don’t think anyone should get married until they’re 30…

    But coming back to the matter at hand — this proposed policy is about harm reduction. Those sexually active youngsters in a strong “family unit” should have no difficulty in telling their parents what’s going on, because of the trust created within the home.

    Those sexually active youngsters who *aren’t* in a “happy home”, however, will have resources available to them. It seems like a no-brainer to me.


  44. Bush Tea June 10, 2008 at 12:55 PM #

    ” ….Chris H ducks into a left from J…. he throws a weak jab that just misses… – the ref. CH is clearly disorientated and suffering the effects of that stinging combination from ‘J’ in the last two rounds… the referee David is giving the standing count…

    Ladies and Gentlemen…

    ….. the winner by a knockout – and still champion – in the parent’s corner…..



  45. Pat June 10, 2008 at 3:18 PM #

    Canada raised it age of sexual consent this year to 16 from 14.

    Yes, it used to be 14 and the little girl across the street could not wait to turn 14. She told me she would date at 14 even though her mother asked her to wait until she was 20. Her sister said that she went to bed with every boy in her grade 8 class. She was banned from the school grounds during lunch for harassing the boys. She used to chase the boys down the street. Knock on their doors late at night, etc. etc. She knew her legal rights and exercised them. No one could tell her boo.

    Eventually, the parents put her in care with the Children’s Aid Society. Big mistake. The CAS recognized the 14 year sexual consent law and she was free to live on the wild side. She has now settled down and is working fulltime. I think however that with all those partners she will be at risk for cervical cancer.

    In Japan the sexual consent age is 14, but the American soldiers still get into trouble with under age girls – girls younger than 14. They also rape girls and try to say that they consented.

    Personally, I would like to see it up to 18.


  46. J June 10, 2008 at 5:58 PM #

    Not to get off track. But we do understand that the only “qualifications” needed to be a Cabinet Minister is that you be living Barbadian adult. That’s it!!!!!!!


  47. J June 10, 2008 at 6:06 PM #

    Dear Chris Halsall “to trust” in Bajan terminology means to take on credit; to take goods from a store with a written contract promising to pay later. For example, to make a down payment of $50 on a baby’s cradle (and to take the cradle home) with a written legally enforceable promise to pay the other $450 within the next twelve months or so. In other words “hire purchase”. It bothers me that 16 and 17 year olds cannot legally pledge credit even if they are parents.

    And so many people were making seem impossible to raise the age of consent and yet the Canadians have gone ahead and done it. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. We will see.


  48. The scout June 10, 2008 at 6:24 PM #

    Ya know; Thank God all my children are adults and if and when they get children, they would have to deal with that problem. I hope the upbringing they had would benefit them in their judgement. this is my FINAL comment on this subject.


  49. Justice June 10, 2008 at 6:51 PM #

    J, you are arguing nonsense and you know it. Age has nothing to do with the capacity to consent and the need to consult parents has nothing to do with 16 year olds not becoming CJ nor being able to run for elected office.


  50. Chris Halsall June 10, 2008 at 7:41 PM #

    Bush Tea…

    Thank you for this…

    While I don’t agree with your overall message, your language did cause me to laugh.

    And if we can’t laugh at ourselves, we’re doomed…

    Again, thanks. And best regards to all…


  51. Chris Halsall June 10, 2008 at 7:59 PM #


    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.


  52. 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


  53. J June 12, 2008 at 4:22 PM #

    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.


  54. J June 12, 2008 at 5:13 PM #

    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.


  55. Chris Halsall June 12, 2008 at 6:01 PM #


    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.


  56. Georgie Porgie June 12, 2008 at 6:20 PM #

    You can purchase

    BARBADIAN DIALECT by Frank Collymore


  57. Chris Halsall June 12, 2008 at 6:35 PM #

    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…)


  58. Chris Halsall June 12, 2008 at 7:22 PM #


    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.


  59. J June 13, 2008 at 12:17 AM #

    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


  60. Chris Halsall June 13, 2008 at 9:40 AM #

    Dear J.

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

    Best regards.


  61. J June 13, 2008 at 1:14 PM #


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


  62. ROBOT June 16, 2008 at 4:00 PM #

    Esthe Byer Suckoo was on television

    twice in the news

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


  63. Concerned June 16, 2008 at 9:06 PM #

    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?


  64. Concerned June 16, 2008 at 9:11 PM #

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


  65. ROBOT June 17, 2008 at 10:09 AM #

    saw suckoo on my tv again

    i will be counting the times she is on


  66. A True Believer June 17, 2008 at 10:57 AM #

    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.


  67. S June 17, 2008 at 2:55 PM #

    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.


  68. JC June 17, 2008 at 3:27 PM #

    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.


  69. ROBOT June 18, 2008 at 10:20 AM #

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


  70. ROBOT June 26, 2008 at 12:37 PM #

    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


  71. Anonymous June 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM #

    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.



  1. Barbados » Research on human trafficking in Barbados - June 12, 2008

    […] Family Unit Maybe Under Threat In BarbadosImage Source: Nation Newspaper The 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 … […]


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