A shot of the crowd in attendance at the DLP meeting at Bay Street

Reflections of the Silly Season

Submitted by Heather Cole

Submitted by Heather Cole

My mother loved the silly season, the entire length and breath of Barbados changed at that time, the very air that we breathed seemed different. Elections were in the air. Everyone became very politically conscious and they took sides. You were either a Bee or a Dem, there was no place for an in between. They were “diehards” on both sides. No matter where you went during the silly season, politics was always the discussion.

During the silly season, if there was a meeting nearby, my mother and I would go and listen to what the speakers had to say. We would go to the little spot meetings and the big meetings in Oistins. Political meetings in Barbados are somewhat festive, a lot of people go to be seen and it was no different when I was a little girl. The name meeting is quite accurate, it was the place where people met up with their friends and listened to what the politicians has to say.

I remember some of the speakers who went on to become prominent. Some of them were eloquent, some kept my attention, others did not.  Sometimes the atmosphere became charged by the words which ignited feelings within those in attendance. Way back then, I learnt that speaking on a political platform was not the easiest thing to do. It takes a charismatic person with a big personality. I listened and tried to make sense out of what I heard. It was the starting point that developed my love for politics.

I soon learned that songs were an integral part of the silly season, from out of nowhere, songs became attached to parties or particular individuals. There was a chorus “butt he, Billy butt he!” that the people sang for Billie Miller who was the representative for the City of Bridgetown, then The Mighty Gabby sang the “Stinging Bees” and the Mighty Gryner sang “ Mr. T.”

For me the silly season brought the excitement of the political meetings, then the anticipation of the climax of who was going to win. Somehow the silly season to me reflected Christmas, there was the hustle and bustle of preparing for the big Election Day. When that day came the atmosphere seemed changed. There was a Sunday quiet that developed. Everyone seemed to be anxiously waiting for the unknown.

The first time that I was old enough to remember an Election Day; I realized that it was different. It was a rainy morning, very rainy, no sun in the sky just grey clouds filled with rain. It was gloomy to everyone but the many egrets that rested on the trees by the pond. They seemed to take turns flying around. They were certainly having fun in the rain. Maybe it was the grey sky that set the mood my mother was in. So I thought, because she was standing looking out the back door at the birds in the pond which was behind the house. It was early maybe before 7 a.m. She seemed worried as though something weighed heavily on her mind. I asked her what had happened and she said that she was trying to decide who to vote for. She did not know who to vote for because in her opinion both parties were the same. Maybe it helped her sort out her thoughts, so she spoke to me before she went to vote. Maybe to her the day predicted the bleak reality that broken promises are made to the poor.

To her politicians were people who you saw at election time, once every five years, they promised the world and after they were elected, you never saw them again. She wanted to vote for someone who would be of help to her and her children. She wondered if her vote would make a difference to how we lived then and how it would impact our future. She wanted to understand the unknown. It made me wonder if other people were making their decisions based on confidence or on their fears. I never found out, but my mother went and exercised her right in the way she thought best at that time.

Looking back, I can recall my mother loved the silly season for it filled her with hope. But Election Day was a day to hate because that day brought to life her fears that the plight of the poor would remain unchanged. Now I know that her thoughts, her fears are just as relevant today as they were yesterday because things never really changed.

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49 Comments on “Reflections of the Silly Season”

  1. Anthony Davis January 21, 2016 at 9:26 AM #

    I love it! It shows that nothing has changed since time immemorial!

    Like

  2. Shaft January 21, 2016 at 9:27 AM #

    The main problem with Barbados not moving on, in a nutshell..! The two party system..!!!

    Like

  3. David January 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM #

    The two party system is an outcome.

    We are giving the people a pass?

    Like

  4. caribbeantradelaw January 21, 2016 at 9:51 AM #

    @Heather Cole, well written. @David, the only way our broken system can change is if we the people demand change. Unfortunately, placing party above country is too entrenched in our society and is incentivised by rewards to party faithfuls. Forgive my cynicism, but I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

    Like

  5. Caswell Franklyn January 21, 2016 at 9:52 AM #

    Heather

    I have learnt two things from your article: you are a hopeless romantic; and your mother was far wiser than me, she worked out long before me that there was no deference between BLP and DLP.

    Like

  6. David January 21, 2016 at 10:16 AM #

    @Alicia

    The people demanding change is an amorphous position. How we find the path to travel to ‘do’.

    Like

  7. caribbeantradelaw January 21, 2016 at 10:24 AM #

    @David, when I say demand change, I mean literally demand it. We did not have debates last election. Why didn’t Barbadians challenge this? Why did we keep silent when members of cabinet met at Casa Grande and refused to update the country on what was discussed when asked by the media? We are giving our political class tacit approval to do things which are not in the greater interest of our democracy.

    Like

  8. caribbeantradelaw January 21, 2016 at 10:25 AM #

    *Sorry, the Crane

    Like

  9. David January 21, 2016 at 10:31 AM #

    @Alicia

    We are groups of Indians and a few Chiefs.

    Some feedback: note BU have been creating back links to your very informative website. This will help the search engines to find you. What you need to do as well is to create about 10 categories most of your postings can be categorized and used them always for all articles posted, create tags to explain the content you are posting I.e. All posts must be in a category and have tags. If you click on Posts on your dashboard you can do some clean up as well. There is the Forum you can search for help:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. caribbeantradelaw January 21, 2016 at 10:33 AM #

    @David, more to your question as to the “how”, perhaps we Barbadians need to take a more active role in engaging our democracy besides just social media. We need to get more involved in what is happening, ask questions and offer ideas. At the same time, part of the problem is the fear of victimisation, which despite what others may say, is a reality one cannot discount.

    Like

  11. David January 21, 2016 at 10:36 AM #

    @Alicia

    Agree with you. Being a keyboard warrior is just one approach but what we can’t avoid is putting boots on the ground. A lot of it has to do with a large middle class that is gripped by the short and curly by fear.

    Like

  12. caribbeantradelaw January 21, 2016 at 10:37 AM #

    @David, many thanks for tips and for the links. I don’t always realise when you link until I actually click on an article so please forgive me if I miss it. Your support and encouragement of my work is truly appreciated. Being a young person, it is hard to get one’s voice heard in Bim unless one is affiliated with a party, which I am not. So thank you!🙂

    Like

  13. David January 21, 2016 at 10:39 AM #

    @Alicia

    Do not become cynical, we have some good people out there, try to find them and grow your network.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Vincent Haynes January 21, 2016 at 10:42 AM #

    The question is how does one motivate a people into action?

    Bim’s majority is locked into the system i.e.repaying the lending institution(s) for house,car,travel,children education,etc,etc.

    Another set are making a good living on the black market.

    Both of these sets enjoy the fetes.

    Both parties are happy with the status quo,so how can it be changed by a third party which will come from these two sets.

    Like

  15. caribbeantradelaw January 21, 2016 at 10:53 AM #

    @David, agreed and thanks!

    @Vincent, that’s the question. Perhaps we need to look at what are the factors causing people to refrain from demanding change and you summed them up quite well. I think there is a growing number of people, including in the younger generation, which are fed up with the status quo. The problem is that many are afraid of being victimised if they speak out. Others want to participate in changing the system but do not want to get into elective politics. And others feel disenchanted that their views and suggestions will dismissed as youthful exuberance or would be categorised as “closet Bees and closeted Dems”.

    Like

  16. Caswell Franklyn January 21, 2016 at 10:56 AM #

    David

    You should realise by now that this Government is scared as puss for boots on the ground. You should recall that whenever there is a call to march this Government rushes to short circuit the process. When the unions were proposing to march in support of NCC workers, none other than the Prime Minister rushed to call a last minute meeting with NUPW which prevented the protest.

    Again when the people of St. Joseph had a march planned because they had not seen water coming through their pipes in three weeks, on the very day of the march the water came on at high pressure. Instead of marching the people stayed home and collected water. The march fizzled.

    They are afraid of the people particularly if mass-based organisations like NUPW and BWU taking to the streets. That is why Government makes sure that the union leaders are well taken care of. Toni Moore got a duty free Mercedes and Roslyn Smith got a duty free BMW, while they are piling the taxes on everyone else.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  17. Vincent Haynes January 21, 2016 at 11:12 AM #

    caribbeantradelaw January 21, 2016 at 10:53 AM #

    It can only be the youth that will effect a change………..commeth the hour,commeth the person…..and it will not be one that the older generation will like but that will be their fault.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Well Well & Consequences January 21, 2016 at 11:18 AM #

    I tend to agree with David, the people have to share in the blame for what the politicians have become, they enable the politicians, they hero worship them, instead of treating them as employees, they give them this special treatment they do not deserve…they were allowed to turn into monsters because the people sat quietly and did not take a stand, it did not have to escalate to this point if the people had fought back against the various retaliations that too many others suffered trying to stand up for their rights, while the people stood by watching and did nothing..

    You are 270K people and can make your voices heard very clearly when you say enough is enough, no politicians have to show you how to do so, you have independent thought. Continue to sit idly by and this will continue for decades.

    You are responsible for your own future, not the politicians, they are looking out for their own future that is why you do not see them until next elections.

    Like

  19. SuckaBubby January 21, 2016 at 11:20 AM #

    Nice article.Your mother was right.The only time I ever saw old people being treated with any real dignity was election day when taxis were sent for them to go vote.I think political meetings can continue in the vein of entertainment but certainly there must be another vent for serious discussion among the candidates.Alot of them are lawyers, they already debate for a living. I advocate people take their power seriously and send a message to the status quo.Vote independent, vote alternative or just stay home.If the urge cannot be resisted to be in a polling booth, spoil the vote.

    Like

  20. Well Well & Consequences January 21, 2016 at 11:26 AM #

    One case in point where voices should be heard loudly. Hard headed Sinckler still cannot get it through his skull that the people have a right to know how much of their money is being spent on independence celebrations, it’s their money not his, it’s not his secret to keep, it is not a state secret.

    Like

  21. Well Well & Consequences January 21, 2016 at 12:03 PM #

    The older generation with the knowledge are now responsible for guiding the young people who are born with the knowledge that the present system in Barbados is not working in their favor and has rendered them and any future successes to which they are entitled stagnant.

    The older people now have to protect the younger people from any retaliation they may experience or facebwhen they start fighting to transition to a system that welcomes their input and away from the current hostile environment that is not conducive to progress for the young or for future generations. The older generation are now responsible for walking all the talk.

    David….you are wonderful for seeing Alicia’s potential and acting accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Georgie Porgie January 21, 2016 at 12:15 PM #

    re Being a young person, it is hard to get one’s voice heard in Bim unless one is affiliated with a party,
    THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE
    IN 1985 A YOUNG DR DISENCHANTED BY A FIGHT BETWEEN GUVMENT AND THE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OVER TH SETTING UP OF THE PROPOSED NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE, WROTE HIS PROPOSAL FOR THE SAME TO THE PRIME MINISTER

    FORTUNATELY, BY GOD’S GRACE, THIS MAN DIED AND THE DR GOT THE CHANCE TO EXPLAIN IT TO A MEMBER OF CABINET DURING A VISIT TO THE ER AT ST JOSEPH
    THE CURRENT NIS OF BARBADOS WAS BORN AND HAS BEN MOST EFFECTIVE. IN FACT IT MAKES MUCH MORE SENSE THAN OBAMACARE
    IT HAS BEEN SO EFFECTIVE THAT IT HAS BEEN COPIED IN ST LUCIA WITH ITS 2008 ADDENDA ah lie?

    Like

  23. Sunshine Sunny Shine January 21, 2016 at 12:20 PM #

    Is that the silly season reflects negatively on politicians as wolves in sheep clothing or the how gullibleness of bajans to continuous fall for the same old nonsense. Because WIllial Duguid smelling a BLP victory is set on reclaiming his spot in the BLP nasty hills and fields. I guess, either, his money is low or he miss the lime light and spot light.

    Like

  24. Well Well & Consequences January 21, 2016 at 12:32 PM #

    SSS…things real hard in Canada, the dollar won’t stop falling and Canada is putting their own people first, the price of foodvis goingvthrough the roof, unless you are sitting pretty like Moneybrain….ya fart…lol. The country is filled with more qualified doctors or whatever he is..it ain’t easy being in Canada, their party is over for another few years, the people in Barbados are easy pickings.

    The politicians will soon be coming out in their numbers with their fake smiles and mouth filled with lies to fool the ignorant….it’s a cake walk.

    Like

  25. Donna January 21, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

    This captures it exactly! Sounds like the beginning of a book to me. Take it further even if in a fictional way.

    Like

  26. Donna January 21, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

    We the people CAN decide the ending!

    Like

  27. Hants January 21, 2016 at 2:38 PM #

    Duguid probably don’t like winter. He certainly could do well as a dentist in Canada.

    However Barbados real sweet fuh dentists and politicians and the BLP has a good chance of winning the next election once they start lovin up one nether an adopt the matra ” all ah we is bees”.

    Like

  28. Bernard Codrington. January 21, 2016 at 4:45 PM #

    Who or what are we demanding change from? The change has to come from each and every one of us. We must stop, what we are doing and do something different. How many of you have joined the existing political parties and tried to influence policy? How many of you have tried to educate your friends and neighbours politically.? Have all of you gone out and voted and encouraged your friends and family to do so.? If you say no to any of these questions You are the problem not the system.

    Like

  29. David January 21, 2016 at 4:47 PM #

    @Bernard Codrington

    Partly true but change has to be led.

    Like

  30. Hants January 21, 2016 at 5:52 PM #

    Any meaningful change requires Leadership and Structure.

    Radical change requires exceptional leadership.

    Barbados is devoid of radical leaders.

    Like

  31. SuckaBubby January 21, 2016 at 5:56 PM #

    Maria Agard is proof one just cannot waltz in and change the system from the inside.

    Like

  32. Georgie Porgie January 21, 2016 at 6:11 PM #

    hants
    you dont tink that gp radical or xceptional? lol

    Like

  33. Georgie Porgie January 21, 2016 at 6:13 PM #

    hants
    leh we go home and fix the island
    we are the old boys radical party

    Like

  34. Hants January 21, 2016 at 6:21 PM #

    @GP they don’t want no old “returning nationals” to fix anything. They just de remittances to keep flowing. lol

    Too besides you have done enough for Barbados already.

    Like

  35. Georgie Porgie January 21, 2016 at 6:24 PM #

    man i meking you de minister of fishries and sweet music
    dat should help plus you fixing the water woes de same time wid ideas from john and lowdown hoad
    we will be mini dictators

    Like

  36. Well Well & Consequences January 21, 2016 at 6:34 PM #

    Total dependency on tourism will continue to bite these governments in the ass over and over.

    U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS advises U.S. citizens that the Ministry of Health of Barbados has confirmed the presence of the mosquito-borne Zika Virus on the island. As we reported in our January 15 security message, there is a CDC Advisory regarding the Zika Virus. For the full text of the advisory, please visit the CDC website. The U.S. Embassy has advised its pregnant U.S. citizen staff members or dependents to depart Barbados. To obtain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas or visit the CDC website.

    Like

  37. Prodigal Son January 21, 2016 at 9:26 PM #

    David,

    With all of the wool being pulled over our eyes with the waste of money 50th anniversary celebrations, are we forgetting about the Cahill fraudulent project? Any news lately on where the project stands?

    One would think that with all of the water problems being experienced in northern parishes that this project should be scrapped due to the shortage of water. Maybe this is too much to hope for!

    Like

  38. David January 21, 2016 at 9:52 PM #

    @Prodigal Son

    Our minister of silence has said nothing about Cahill. What we know is that waste management remains a big issue for Barbados. They can’t hide and build Cahill so expect to hear something soon. The Governor did not name Cahill has a project to start in 2016 although to have done so would be premature. Let hope David Eliis ask the governor of the central bank on Monday.

    Like

  39. ac January 22, 2016 at 5:52 AM #

    While the BLP foot soldiers keep beating up on the economy, the masses continue to be optimistic rather than live in a preview world of pessimistic views drawn from placards of doom and gloom. yesterday celebrations was yet another revealing aspects of a resilient Barbados people who are determined mot to wallow in a spirit of pity but react with a spirit of valor and patriotism out of the love of country

    Like

  40. Artaxerxes January 22, 2016 at 8:07 AM #

    It is definitely the SILLY SEASON. Some people are SILLY enough to suggest that if anyone is critical of some DLP policies, that individual is accused of being UNPATRIOCTIC. What a whole load of rubbish, especially since there are no fundamental or philosophical differences between the BLP and DLP.

    This is evidenced by the fact that when members have a “falling out” with their political party, they readily join and easily identify with their “political enemy’s” philosophy or agenda.

    For example, Hammie Lah was able to easily “hop scotch” between both political parties, so too was Richard Byer, Rommel Marshall and Mohammed Nassar. Then there are those individuals who “switch” and prefer to remain, Clyde Mascoll, Kerrie Symmonds, Ralph Thorne and Rudy Grant are a few examples.

    Like

  41. Well Well & Consequences January 22, 2016 at 8:16 AM #

    Art…just a little more time and the yardfowls inclusive of their idiot masters will be phased out….they will be effectively contained and only able to corrupt, deceive and poison each other with deception.

    Like

  42. Artaxerxes January 22, 2016 at 9:14 AM #

    So…… AmBev has replaced the Banks beer slogan “My Barbados, My banks” with “Banks, life nice.” Perhaps Barbados will systematically be removed as being synonymous with Banks beer.

    Bushie, the critics usually disagree with your comments. However, they should be mature enough to admit that more often than not, you are correct.

    Seems as though the silly season is not confined to politics.

    Like

  43. ac January 22, 2016 at 2:01 PM #

    Meanwhile ac keeps smiling for after six long years the predictions of barbados being swalled up by a deep hole of economic darkness has not happened. Reason enough to celebrate

    Like

  44. Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. January 22, 2016 at 2:45 PM #

    Facts:

    Our political system is not attracting the kind of talent or integrity we need to run a country. The best and brightest among us are not prepared to bray from podiums for a chance to sacrifice time and income for the good of the rest of us. They might, however, take a position or post at the head of a department or ministry is offered.
    The two parties have always been the same; that is exactly what has maintained our island’s political stability for so long while our neighbours suffered post-election upheaval. That stability has served us well for decades and has now guaranteed our decline.
    A third party may well be the solution but not if made up from the same professional liars as currently exist within the political system. Mango tree can’t grow plums.
    Effecting serious and effective long-term change will require constitutional change. Not much chance of that happening if 2/3 of the existing players are expected to vote for their own demise.

    So a 3rd party is our best hope, especially if they run on the ‘I’m no politician, here are my achievements and goals’ principal.

    Bajans are so fed up it just might work.

    Like

  45. David January 22, 2016 at 4:11 PM #

    It is unlikely a third party will get off the ground will only newbies/rookies. Agree with the point that the political class has not been attracting quality talent.

    Like

  46. Heather January 22, 2016 at 7:00 PM #

    @ David, my thoughts exactly. A new party with all new people who do not understand how a governments functions may have good intentions but will end up like this lot except if divine intervention occurs. If there is one thing that I have learnt from this Presidency in the US is that there is a huge difference between winning an election and running a government. The mandate of the people is to demand changes prior to the next election.

    @ Caswell you are correct.

    Like

  47. Colonel Buggy January 25, 2016 at 12:14 AM #

    The Primed Minister has paid a recent visit to the Garrison , to have a look at the controversy surrounding the rejection by the Town and Country Planning Department to the Turf Club’s desire to erect flood lights on the historic Garrison to accommodate Night Racing.
    I do hope that the PM did not arrive at the Garrison by helicopter, otherwise he should have noticed things of much more concern than the Turf Club’s removable flood lights.
    Like the increasing garbage dump behind the old CXC building . The crumbling old Single Officers Mess,at the back of the Graydon Sealy School. The crumbling old building which the taxi drivers used to operate from , on the western side of the race track. The garbage and old bits and pieces on the road leading to the Guard House. The mobile pup houses among the historic cannons in front of the historic Guard House.
    Just 300 and a few days before our 50th Independence celebrations.

    Like

  48. Colonel Buggy January 25, 2016 at 11:20 PM #

    The Garrison , 110 years ago and today, our 50th year of independence

    Like

  49. Vincent Haynes January 26, 2016 at 12:48 PM #

    The NCC hearing qualifies for this blog……interesting to see grown men behaving in that manner and then wondering how the youth get so.

    Like

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