so many St. Lucians in the diaspora I rushed home to watch our yearly
Carnival Queen Show on my computer screen from thousands of miles away.
Although being so far away we try to compensate for our absence by
participating, in any way possible, with all things 'local.' It makes us
feel, even though for a few moments, as though we never left. Thank
goodness for the internet. Last night Murphy was alive and well at the
Queen Show where too many things went wrong. Not because of Murphy, but
rather because of poor planning, a serious lack of standards, and an
atrocious entertainment choreography. For a moment I thought I was
watching The House of Dark Shadows, starring Barnabas Collins and
Maggie. At any moment I was expecting Shane to put a vampire bite on
Onika's neck. I mean seriously did anyone need to tell them there
needed to be more light?
Swimwear for me was really good.
Not perfect but nice. These girls must have been the fittest, sexiest,
longest legged contestants to ever grace a queen show stage in St.
Lucia. The husband and wife dancing duo was absolutely superb. They were
The contestants tried really
hard. They put in the time, practice, and dedication to do their best.
They were however failed by the organizers of the show. It is clear
that the planning was poor, rehearsals were inadequate, as there just
appeared to be a mass of confusion on stage with the format. Everything
should be in a Carnival Queen Show handbook. That way nobody is left up
to their own 'feelings' about how things should be done. There should
be a standard on stage activity. How to hand out prizes. What the
format of the show will be. What is a no-no for announcers and
commentators. Too many times we have hosts and entertainers saying the
most inappropriate things at these shows. There should be contracts for
everyone in the public eye. A proper job description, and a clear
understanding of what is accepted and not.
really started going downhill during the question and answer segment.
Of course supporters of the different contestants will love it when the
opponents mess up with the answers. This happens at all shows of that
type. Poor jab the girls, that must be the most nerve-racking part of
it all; especially if the person ahead of you messes up. But can you
believe the horror when the judge is actually the one messing up during
the show? How can a judge who can't even read now turn around and
judge a contestant on diction and how she answers that same messed up
question? Maman mouton blanc!!
First off, I thought this
judge had just come from a workout at the gym rather than sitting as a
judge at a Queen Show. 'Muskles' all over the place bulging out from
her sleeveless top. And then being unable to read her own question to
the contestant. She made the same mistakes each of the three times that
she reread the question. It was so horrendous that the crow eventually
booed that judge! What!! Can you imagine how that contestant must have
been traumatized having to answer after all that? Poor thing.
prize giving was a disaster in itself. Does there really need to be a
participating award given? Can't that be given later for posterity to
the contestants? My goodness, what is the purpose of a chaperone? No
table behind the contestants to put the prizes resulting in prizes
being placed on the floor!
What really gets me is the
failure to capitalize on the highlight of the Queen Show. The crowning
glory for the queen was lack lustre and a mass of mediocrity and
confusion with last year's queen simply removing the crown and placing
it on the new queen's head. Isn't this supposed to be a queen? Isn't
this why we were supposed to be dressed formally, to be in the presence
of the queen? Where was the throne to seat the queen for that epic
crowning moment? Where is her velvet robe? Where is her sceptre? Then
to be flanked by the other contestants for that photo opportunity
moment, which will go down in history and for posterity.
A french translation of crowning glory has it as "le plus grand triomphe" The queen had no such moment last night.
was a Queen show with a formal dress code. Why are people in there
looking like they are dressed for jour ouvert. Couldn't there be more
appropriate music when the queen is announced? My word man, is the only
thing which gets St. Lucians to react is for them to mash up something,
or wave a dirty rag or half bath towel? Ricky T can sing but he has no
sense of occasion, and it's time we learn to be appropriate. Before he
sang at the end of the QUEEN SHOW Ricky T says "I just want to send a
shout out to my baby mama"
Then the queen was
unceremoniously dragged away from the stage to be interviewed by Shane
and Onika and then they just abandoned her and start talking among
themselves as if she was not even there. Maman maman maman!
night's Carnival Queen Show was a disaster! It was a compendium of
horrors, a cacophany of woes, an embarrassment of epic proportions. A
disgrace. A farce.
few weeks ago news reports told the story of a prominent businessman
who had been arrested for incest with his daughter. Committing this most
despicable of acts daddy-loose-draws remains unnamed because of
provisions in the law which dictate that both the victim and alleged
perpetrator remain anonymous until a verdict is reached in the case.
Don't worry, St. Lucia is a small place and we all know the salop! This
jolted my mind to recall the intention which I have had for a very long
time to write on a serious malaise which is very prevalent in St. Lucian
society. In fact this has gone beyond simply a malaise and has attained
More than twenty years ago in St.
Lucia I was friends with a rather attractive young lady who had been
seeking employment in Castries. She recounted to me one day about an
interview which she had a few hours earlier. It was at a business place
in the vicinity of Vigie Airport/La Clery/Vide Bouteille. Going through
the usual interview motions and cheerful banter with the boss made her
feel confident that this job was almost hers. Towards the end he
suggested that she return after 5 PM so that he would be less distracted
with the responsibilities of work, and be able to confirm that she was
indeed able to perform her duties if she was indeed hired. Feeling
elated about this rather promising prospect she agreed to return.
was promptly 5 PM when she was called into his office and the door
closed behind her. After a few phone calls he directed his attention to
my aptly bosomed friend and was down to business in next to no time with
suggestive comments about her looks and then asked her to take a ride
with him. He indicated that they could go have some drinks and then take
a drive down to the Vigie quarry (the abandoned quarry near the Vigie
airport hangar). Well my friend was having none of that bulshittery; she
told him where to stuff his drinks and what to do with himself in the
This businessman has been well known, in fact
notorious, for preying on women in search of employment. If there were a
Nobel prize for sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour he would
have received it.
Many of our St. Lucian women have
endured this same type of harassment in seeking employment, and
lamentably some have fallen victim to these sexual advances because of
their financial situations. Having secured jobs under this duress they
are now continually pressured to have sexual relations with the boss or
supervisor in order to retain their employment. Eventually this
situation becomes untenable resulting in frustration and anger about
The reactions, when confronted with
such advances, can be varied and evokes different emotions. Some women
may walk out of the interview, others may be numbed with surprise, and
others will let the offender have a piece of their sharp tongue. And
then of course there are those who may just lay down on the office table
and spread it or go for drinks and that ride to the Vigie quarry. Lets
not be naive here, there are some women who will enjoy the temporary
power of being with the boss because they may receive preferential
treatment and have certain 'perks' on the job. Sometimes the wanton
fraternizing with female staff is well known on the job and usually
degenerates into an all out conflict for the affections of the boss or
Then there are those who decide to just close
their eyes and do it one time, just to get in. Unfortunately the
unscrupulous boss sees this as another conquest to be had at his whims
and fancies. Eventually this woman decides to cut off the sexual
encounters with her boss because she may feel guilty, have a new
boyfriend, or just decide that she no longer wants to continue having
sexual relations. This is when the retaliation begins. Persons who no
longer want to 'pass-it' are victimized, given menial tasks, or fired.
the preview to my Sunday topic last Wednesday I was bombarded, within
minutes, with private comments from persons anxious to share personal
experiences. They mentioned names , businesses. Surprisingly an
overwhelming number of complaints mentioned government departments. It
seems there are some notorious senior civil servants known by all and
sundry. My information is that many complaints have been lodged against a
particular individual...all for naught. Could it be that it's just
another old boys' club and complaints to the higher ups are squashed
because they are all in it together. Would the lack of action equate to
the sexual abuse cover ups which went on for more than one hundred years
in the Catholic church?
Within five minutes of posting here is what someone commented:
your topic...........this is prevalent at my work place where the head
man is concerned......the young women who have just left school and
come to (**government department**) are targeted by the
sicko.....especially those who have financial difficulty......making
all kinds of suggestive remarks, promises, asking for phone numbers and
requests to meet after work.........the young people are afraid to
come forward and he continues and just denies..........sometimes I wish
it was a relative for me to tumble down in his ass this shit
upsets me. The worse part is that reports have been made to people
higher than him and I guess nothing can be done without hard evidence.
The thing is everyone in the department is aware...........and no one is
Here is what someone else commented:
have lost a lot of respect for a number of people that are involved in
the cover up, of not just that, but corruption too. People we all grew up
having the utmost respect for.
This is just
the tip of the iceberg as these stories have been recounted over the
years many times, but what does one do about being faced with a
situation like this? Where is a report made after such pressures and
brought to bear? What penalties do the perpetrators face?
I contacted Flavia Cherry of the Caribbean Feminists Research and Action (CAFRA) about my story and this is what she said:
Saint Lucia sexual harassment is a criminal offence. It is also
recognized as unlawful discrimination. The laws governing sexual
harassment are the Criminal Code and the Equality of Opportunity and
Treatment in Employment and Occupation Act .
Protection under the Criminal Code Chap 3:01
harassment is a criminal offence which carries a penalty of
imprisonment for one year. The relevant section in the Criminal Code
applies to employers, supervisors and prospective employers.
Protection for employees
is a criminal offence for an employer or supervisor to make it
reasonably appear to a person that that person’s prospects or working
conditions depends on the person’s acceptance or tolerance of sexual
advances or persistent sexual suggestions from the employer or
supervisor. The employer or supervisor (as the case may be) would have
committed sexual harassment and may be imprisoned for one year.
Protection for job seekers/ prospective employees
is also a criminal offence for a prospective employer to make it appear
to a job seeker or a prospective employee that the offer of employment
or the terms of the employment depends on the person accepting or
tolerating sexual advances or persistent sexual suggestions from him.
The prospective employer would have committed sexual harassment and may
be imprisoned for one year.
Protection under the Equality of Opportunity and Treatment in Employment and Occupation Act 2000
penalty for sexual harassment under the Equality of Opportunity and
Treatment in Employment and Occupation Act is a fine of $5,000.00.
Remedies available to a victim of sexual harassment
victim of sexual harassment can receive damages for losses suffered as a
result of the sexual harassment. The court may even order that the
employer or relevant person make amends by employing, re-employing or
re-instating the person who was sexually harassed (as the case may be).
course sexual harassment is not only limited to women. Both men and
women can be subjected to this same treatment and my focus here today in
no way minimizes the seriousness of any kind of sexual harassment
endured by men.
Victims can also call the CAFRA office for further guidance and support (758) 453-1608.
Of course the police can always be called in an emergency.
According to calypsonian Singing Sandra in her song 'Die With My Dignity' (1987)
"It have a lot of women just like me
Who might not be so well off financially
You need a job and you really need it bad
Ah man decide to help you must be glad
But if you value yourself as a woman you will be demanding respect from the vagabond
Stand up to them and let them know the truth
Is work you want you ain't no blinking prostitute...."
In 1975 my family moved from the mountain that is Pavee Road to
Mongiraud, Gros Islet. At that time moving to that area was akin to
moving to the Australian outback or the Amazon. Bus service was
practically a daytime event , and if you were unfortunate enough to be
stuck in town (Castries) after 7 pm, you were on your own. Leaving the
city after 7 pm required you to head over to the corner of Jeremie and
Peynier streets next to the cabaret to 'hike' a ride up north. To those
who don't recall the cabaret I speak about was located where the current craft market resides. The Rodney Bay/Reduit/Bonne
Terre, uh-feh the Gros Islet area was a wilderness at best. Bonne Terre
was sparsely populated with only a few houses hidden from sight in the
kuhpesh. From Volney's Gas Station to the Gros Islet gap all that met
the eye was flatland and cows. That's right, bef tout patous. There were
the two 'A' frame houses opposite the Bonne Terre gap and the three
demo Canadian houses, on the left, just before the Rodney Gap to Baywalk
Mall. It was a time when there was no 'Gros Islet Friday Night' (for
real!). Living any further into Beausejour than the Blue Lagoon Guest
House was considered an act of madness as that area was a mosquito
infested swampland. You could not pay people to move in there. Now it's
some of the most sought after real estate in St. Lucia. With all of its
remote charm Gros Islet was considered by many to be a haven for the
black arts. That's right people, Gros Islet was overrun by majie nweh,
jean gazhet, la diabless, and obeah. Monchy particularly was black magic
central. You dare not be walking on any road in that vicinity late at
night and not be smoking a cigarette. And don't forget to wear your
shirt inside out (wrong side). Coffins blocking the paths of unfortunate
late night travelers was a common story. And boloms! Haaaaaaaaa boy!
You better be wearing your underwear inside out too.
Anyway, so much for the brief history lesson about the north.
Somewhere along the way Janice Dupal moved up north (as we say in St.
Lucia). According to a conversation I had with her yesterday she
intimated that it was always her dream as a girl to become involved in
fashion and entertainment. You see, Janice and I go waaay back and can
rap about random stuff like that. Don't ask, don't tell. Our
conversation sprung up because I wanted to know how she was able to make
the just concluded Miss Gros Islet Beauty Pageant such a success.
be absolutely honest I had not been interested in attending that show.
It was only because of a friend who would not have been present that I
was asked to take photos so they could experience for themself the
excitement of that night. Imagine I didn't even get a free ticket to
work like a buick. I arrived late and missed the swimsuit segment
because I had been covering another extravaganza that day; the UWP
Convention in Marigot. I will forever blame them for that. Of course I
had to sweeten up before I left for the show, so that took up more of
the ever important swimsuit segment.. Damn!
To be quite
honest (didn't want to say Frank because my name is not Frank) I was
pleasantly surprised with the quality of the show. Everything flowed
like clockwork. Many times I asked myself whether I was truly still in
St. Lucia. The performances were world class. The contestants, the
organization, the everything. My gosh! How was this possible? The
dresses were out of this world. The crowd was wonderful. And all that
after I missed the swimsuits! Can you even imagine what my state would
have been had I witnessed, first hand, with a zoom lens, the the the
the....well you know, the swimsuits!
the success of the show to the cooperation of the contestants, the
chaperones, and a strict adherence to a properly scripted performance.
She is the chairperson and pageant coordinator of the Gros Islet
Cultural Development Committee. She also lauds the assistance of her
daughter, Consuelo Dupal, who is also the Chief Chaperone and handles
the public relations.
Which now brings me to the big
question, how is it that the National Carnival Queen Show has not been
able to have such a success for so many years? In fact as far as most
St. Lucians are concerned, from time immemorial! Maybe they should take a
page or two, or three, from Janice and the folks at Gros Islet. As far
as I am concerned The National Carnival Queen Show should be dropped
over the Sans Souci Bridge with a brick tied around it's neck just like
so many unwanted pets which met their untimely demise over the years in
St Lucia. It's time to start all anew with a new pet.
so many years of bad vibes with Queen Show are we to take Janice at her
word that the success of the Gros Islet show was simply because of
'cooperation'? Mere mortals had failed so miserably through the years,
are we to now believe that things had somehow turned in the north?
is said that those into black magic and bagaille demoo have a special
look in their eyes. Next time you meet Jan Dupal look into her eyes,
really deep! But make sure your underwear are on wrong side. Just in
in the cumulative history of modeling in St. Lucia has there ever been
such drama, intrigue, mauvais langue, inflated egos, and downright
bullshittery as has been witnessed surrounding the HOT COUTURE
fashion/modeling aspect of St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival 2013. As I
see it this sordid affair is more than just HOT COUTURE. It is more than
Vincent Mc Doom or the St. Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB). It is more than
the models or designers. It is more than Jazz. Under the microscope is
how we conduct business in St. Lucia; how we treat our own people
vis-a-vis how we treat foreigners, and what we accept or are forced to
Sitting down here in my lopsided chair
trying to decide where to begin is a task in itself. There are so many
angles and perspectives it dulls the mind. So many people, so many
interests, so many stories, all important in the final big picture. So
rather than beginning in 2013 I will roll back the clock and kick off
where I feel is a more appropriate commencement in this scheme of
things. The year, 1991.
In 1991 the US indicts two
Libyans in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie,
Scotland; Warsaw Pact dissolved; Boris Yeltsin becomes first freely
elected president of Russian Republic; Professor Anita Hill accuses
Judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment; Soviet Union breaks up after
President Gorbachev's resignation; St. Lucia has it's first ever Jazz
The St. Lucia Jazz Festival was created to boost the
island's tourism industry during the time of year when hotel occupancy
was at it's lowest as a result of the end of the winter season. After
consultations with a foreign and local entities it was decided that a
jazz festival would be an ideal marketing tool in attracting visitors to
the island during this waning period. It was decided that big name
international jazz artistes would be on the lineup in order to have
maximum appeal. It must be noted that from the inception the St. Lucia
Tourist Board (SLTB) was primarily concerned with the filling of airline
seats and hotel rooms. At time there was minimal, if any, focus on
local talent or participation. The bulk of funding evidently went to
foreign artistes and production.
In my opinion this concept was
flawed from it's very inception. The SLTB focused on foreign tourism as
the only salvation for a waning tourism sector during that time of year.
However local tourism seems to have been totally ignored and continues
to be neglected as a source of significant revenue during this low
season. I beg to suggest that traveling from Vieux Fort to Castries for
whatever reason, whether it be Jazz or shopping, or cricket at
Beausejour, these individuals are indeed tourists. If we are to suggest
the introduction of sports, medical, or university (medical schools) as
tourism, then our own traveling to support these services should
therefore be considered as local tourism. In all sincerity they do spend
money on transportation, housing, tickets, meals, and entertainment, in
the same manner as foreign tourists. For example, a person traveling
within New York state, from Albany to New York City is considered a
tourist. There is no differentiation just because they are within the
Over the years there has been an almost resistant
inclusion of local artistes into the jazz festival. There have been
brouhahas through the years with artistes complaining and boycotting the
event with claims of unfair treatment, lack of appreciation for their
skills, and minimal compensation for their performances.
seen the re-branding of St. Lucia Jazz to include the arts. As part of
this endeavour it was decided to incorporate a fashion and modeling
aspect to the festival. The SLTB realized they did not have the
expertise to produce such a show and as a result contacted Vincent Mc
Doom to advise on the production of such a show. Vincent accepted their
request for assistance and came on board as the Artistic Director. This
was confirmed in a telephone interview on Friday with SLTB Director
Louis Lewis. As part of the agreement Vincent Mc Doom's airfare, hotel
accommodations, transportation, and other perks would have been paid by
the SLTB. Vincent Mc Doom offered to render his services free of charge
as a St. Lucian giving back to his country.
Here's the Wikipedia definition of the role and responsibilities of an artistic director.
the announcement of Vincent Mc Doom's appointment Shamark Leon,
Director of Silhouette Fashion House took to the airwaves to voice his
viewing this response from Shamark Leon I anticipated an immediate
response or some form of action from the SLTB in order to mitigate any
fallout or negative repercussions from the statements made. Lamentably
there were none. This was also confirmed by the Director of the SLTB,
Louis Lewis during my telephone interview on Friday. He said there were
thirteen events to coordinate and as such they did not want to be
distracted by these happenings. This only allowed the situation to spin
further out of control. I wonder if we had another bus hijack during
that time whether the SLTB's response would have been the same? Could it
be that this episode only involved locals and therefore was no big
Here is part of my telephone interview with Vincent Mc Doom on Thursday afternoon:
Me: How did you become involved with the HOT COUTURE aspect of St. Lucia Jazz and Arts 2013?
Vincent: I was contacted by the SLTB to advise and coordinate the show in the capacity of artistic director.
Me: Was there a contract defining your role and responsibilities?
Vincent: No there was not. I accepted the offer and volunteered to do it for free as a way of giving something back to St. Lucia.
Me: What really caused the problems which surfaced during the lead up to the show?
I was disenchanted by the pittance which was offered to the models. It
really upset me that these young people who we claimed to be helping
were being offered such a pittance for their hard work. Imagine being
offered $60-$75 to participate in a show of this magnitude. I would not
have it happening under my guidance. It was exploitation in my books and
I did not like it. The impression I got was as if they should feel
honoured that they even got the opportunity to be a part of the show and
should cherish that. Mae and I suggested that the SLTB pay the models
$700 each for their participation. The SLTB said this was not in their
budget and could not afford to pay that amount, and as a result we
settled for each model to be paid $500.
Me: What happened with the stage?
Well, as the artistic director it is my responsibility to oversee the
whole production process. My vision of the theme and format of the
presentation falls clearly within the framework of the artistic
director. I was surprised and taken aback when I was presented on the
day before the event with a stage that I had no input whatsoever.
In light of what has happened would you be willing to return next year
and participate in another production and would you be willing to work
with the SLTB?
Vincent: Norbert, I am dedicated to helping models in St. Lucia. I have no problem in working with the SLTB or anyone else.
PART 2 coming below this line!
must be given to the St. Lucia Tourist Board though. Their
accomplishment with Jazz in St. Lucia has been monumental in its
success. Notwithstanding the myopic view with which Jazz was formulated
they have worked relentlessly in sustaining it's international
prominence. They have filled hotel rooms. They have provided employment
in all the ancillary services during this period of otherwise low
Here is part of my telephone interview with SLTB Director Louis Lewis on Friday morning:
There has been much contention over the capacity in which Vincent Mc
Doom was brought in by the SLTB to participate in HOT COUTURE. What was
his official capacity?
Louis: We recognized that we did not
have the expertise in the SLTB to handle the production of this show.
As a result we reached out to Vincent Mc Doom in Paris and expressed our
interest in having him assist. He accepted and volunteered to render
his services for free. He was taken aboard as the Artistic Director.
Vincent's role was to select and train the models as we wanted an
entirely St Lucian cast, as well his artistic input in the production .
Me: What happened on the day before the show?
26 hours before the show was due to open Vincent was at the Audi
Showroom. He was not pleased with the runway which had been constructed
by Adrian Augier. He had other ideas for what the runway should be and
made requests for the change. Particularly that it be mirrored, among
other changes. I informed him that at this late hour there was really
not much which could have been done. There were heated words between us
but that was that.
Me: Yesterday I conducted a
telephone interview with Vincent Mc Doom. He said that despite all that
had transpired he is still willing to work with the SLTB or anyone else
next year in hosting another HOT COUTURE event. Would you be willing to
work with him in the interest of St. Lucia.
Louis: Well, I
can tell you that I have no problem with Vincent personally. I believe
that he is sincere about his intentions to assist his country. However,
that is my personal position. The decision of the SLTB is not left
entirely up to me.
Me: Is there anything more you would like to say on behalf of the SLTB?
Louis: All I can tell you at this time is that a press conference has been scheduled for Wednesday, 22nd. May, 2013 at 10 AM.
can cooler heads prevail in the interest of our own progress and
betterment? Can we put aside our overinflated egos and work together?
Squabbles such as this occur all the time in the entertainment and
modelling industry. St. Lucia's experience of this is minor in the big
scheme of things. The question remains as to whether the persons
involved are mature enough to let go of their bruised egos. The silence
from the SLTB has been deafening.
In the midst of
this uproar certain individual actions have come to light. Utterances
in private and among friends are just as important or consequential as
those made in the public domain. Private comments are even more
revealing as they expose inner feelings and attitudes which would
otherwise not be exposed in public. It has been brought to my attention
that a senior member of the SLTB changed their BB status message on
Wednesday to the following, "I'm so over HOT COUTURE!! MOVE ON people!!!!"
Am I now to assume that this person has any interest in dealing with
the issues at hand pertaining to this matter? Is this individual truly
concerned about the interests of ALL St. Lucians affected? Should we
expect any serious consideration of the issues and complaints
surrounding HOT COUTURE by this individual? If anything, this BB status
suggests a dismissive tone. One of contempt and disdain. The next
question to ask is whether this attitude is pervasive within the SLTB?
is the best disinfectant, a well-known quote from U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Louis Brandeis, and refers to the benefits of openness and
transparency. Many of the personal messages and comments I have received
overwhelmingly suggest that a large number of St. Lucians believe that
the SLTB is an entity unto itself and does not have to answer to anyone.
Many people remain silent even though they agree with the grievances
expressed. There seems to be a subtle apprehension that individuals who
speak out will be targeted and discriminated against. Where is this fear
coming? Is this a figment of their imagination or has there been
evidence of such retribution. Even in my lead up postings during this
past week I have had persons who have forcefully suggested that I "drop"
the story. That "this thing needs to be put to rest." I wonder how we
can progress and learn from past mistakes if we avoid critically
discussing issues such as this. Whether we like it or not this dirty
laundry can be cleaned up.
If the U.S. can be allies
with Japan after 2402 Americans were killed at Pearl Harbor by these
same Japanese; if Japan can turn around and also be allies with the U.S.
after atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing approx.
244,000 people; if the current tourism minister Lorne Theophilus can
jump ship from the UWP and become a candidate and minister in the SLP;
if George Odlum could team up with John Compton on the William Peter
Boulevard in what was described as an "Unholy Alliance"; if Vaughn Lewis
can jump from the UWP to SLP and be received with open arms; surely
Vincent Mc Doom and the SLTB can work hand in hand again in the interest
of St. Lucia. Anyone suggesting otherwise is naive and and unrealistic.
be clear. Vincent Mc Doom is damn good at what he does! His
accomplishment speaks for itself. A poor St. Lucian boy who made his way
out of St. Lucia with little fanfare. Someone who has seen exploitation
in the modeling and fashion industry firsthand, Vincent's success was
no mistake or stroke of luck. To achieve his level of celebrity and
prominence in an industry of sharks and barracudas says much about the
individual. He is not a perfect man. Neither is he the most politically
correct nor diplomatic in how he presents his arguments. However we need
to sometimes distance ourselves from the emotional aspects of a
person's argument and focus on the content which is valid. In
criticizing Vincent's complaints too many people have zeroed in on his
personality rather than address the real issues at hand. There seems to
be a concerted effort to completely ignore the message and shoot the
messenger. Regardless of how anyone feels about the issues which Vincent
Mc Doom has now brought to the fore, these same complaints have been
exposed over the years by many individuals associated with Jazz and
other aspects of St. Lucian life. Unfortunately none of them have had
the independence and testicular fortitude to expose it without feeling
intimidated or threatened.
Should we be convinced that
the complaints from so many models, designers, and others are all a
figment of their imaginations concocted by Vincent Mc Doom as part of
some outlandish scheme to discredit the St Lucia Tourist Board?
Regardless of how we may feel about Vincent we cannot be misled into
believing that this is simply an over reaction on his part by dubbing
him a drama queen. This is an overly simplistic explaining away of a
situation which requires serious consideration and evaluation.
May the good Lord bless our island Guard her sons from woe and harm! May our people live united, Strong in soul and strong in arm! Justice, Truth and Charity, Our ideal forever be!
I love rainy days, and yesterday was a devilishly rainy day. During the
early hours of the morning many cœur faible (weak heart) St. Lucians
were rudely awakened from their sleep by peals of thunder, while the
lightning had others crying for their mommy; Lucians are such cowards.
The city of Castries looked like a dump and a sewer as it usually does
after any moderate rainfall; garbage was everywhere! Plastic bottles, chicken bones, dead rats, discarded jelly coconuts, plastic bottles,
plastic bottles.....oh, did I forget to mention plastic bottles? Jeremie
Street looked like the river Ganges with all it's filth. That
monstrosity in the Gardens designed to avert flooding in the city was
useless once again. At one point I saw what looked like an old Sebago
shoe with a rat inside, steering, as it floated by. I could swear that
rat looked me in the eye and shouted, "Land Ho!"
Many fans who had already purchased tickets for the sold out cricket
match between the St. Lucia Zouks and the Jamaica Tallawahs were praying
to the high heavens for a reprieve, "Oh God please make the rain stop so I
won't lose my EC$25." Blasted hypocrites, you still haven't said those
twelve Hail Mary's since the last time you went to confession. Anyway!
What is a St. Lucia Zouk? Somehow someone failed to inform me of this
new exotic creature which has suddenly sprung upon the St. Lucia
landscape. Could it have been a concoction of the great pharmacists
Kassav? After all, they were the ones who said 'Zouk la c'est sel
medikaman nous ni.' Is this 'zouk' thing, this creature, this
whatever-it-is, dangerous? Is it an endangered species? Sighhhh. I
After all the drama of obtaining a rare-as-gold ticket from a friend
of a friend I made my way to the Beausejour Cricket Grounds. Cars were
all over the place. Did I just go through the time tunnel and end up at a
Yankees game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx? Last minute stragglers
were loafting (I know there's no such word) outside the main entrance
trying to sneak their way inside or find someone who had a ticket to
sell. I entered belle breeze. I had my ticket and nothing was stopping
me. Belelesh! Now to find a seat in the stands. To hell with it, even
though my ticket was for Laborie Stands I was heading to the Canaries
Stands. After all, Canaries is the village of my ancestors, and damnit, I
was going to be seen in the shabeen stands! Represent Nobbie,
You must be wondering what the hell is Nobbie going on about today, aren't you? Well wait no more.
saw Ricky-T win both the Groovy and Power Soca titles for St. Lucia
Carnival. Hell, the man even won Road March as well. Quite a feat by any
standard. But by golly, our artistes always seem to fall short just
when you expect them to bring it over the top. Last night was no
exception. I keep wondering when the music industry in St. Lucia will
take things to the next level as far as image of artistes is concerned.
After the dismal losses and final loss last night by the endangered
Zouks, in true Lucian style there had to be an after-party. Damnit, St.
Lucia lost but to hell with anyone who even thought that they would be
denied a last lap jump up. To hell if Carnival had already closed it's
doors until next year.
Running through the lineup of
performers I expected that Ricky-T would perform. In anticipation I
asked a friend, more than once, whether he was slated. I mean how could
it even be possible that the vanquished were allowed to grace the stage
at such an international event without the presence of the grand master
himself, Ricky-T, with his now famous Sebago shoes ready to give
soulye'. The temperature at Beausejour was a balmy 79 degrees with no
rain from the heavens. It was a beautiful night. Sir Lancelot had just
performed. The crowd was waiting. The MC was hinting about Sebago shoes.
The crowd took the bait and were in a drunken, carnival-revived,
frenzy. The MC, a guy who sounded like he ate too many hot potatoes as a
child walked to the stairs near the back of the stage, and handed the
mic to someone out of view. I was holding my breath like a star struck
groupie. Damnit, the grand master was about to appear! From his
performance and presentation a few weeks earlier I expected to be blown
away. Rickt-T...Ricky-T....Ricky-T....I love you! Well not quite! That
was the girl next to me. The crowd was heaving; guys smoking marijuana
without a care in the world assaulted my nasal passages; little boys
walking around with their mouths screwed up trying to look bad pushed
through the crowd; little girls who should be in the company of their
parents were running wild. One zegeleg girl was seated on the shoulders
of a male friend getting a meg girl's view of the stage. The crowd was
ready in orgasmic anticipation. Then Ricky-T came up the stairs and
presented himself on stage.
I was aghast. Could it be that I was under the influence of those
marijuana fumes I had just recently inhaled? I know I had a malt,
but it could not have been that. What was causing that for me uh? Was
Ricky-T in a friggin bubble jacket? Wasn't I in St. Lucia after
departing from the grand old US a few weeks earlier? I mean even if he
had been in Brooklyn last night, by some strange time shifting process,
he would not be wearing a bubble jacket. What the hell are you doing
Ricky-T? I wanted to be dazzled. Some nice trendy suit; a sequined
pants; some kinda dazzling outfit by a St. Lucian designer like J'aeylu; something to rival your appearance and
performance for Carnival just a few weeks earlier. Instead you appear
with a kiss-me-ass bubble jacket! In St. Lucia? Booooo!! Were you
feeling cold my boy?
Stop pandering to the lowest common denominator. Step your game up
man and get into the business of real entertainment. And get some props.
You have admirers, groupies, followers. Get some Sebagos and toss them
into the crowd after you autograph them. It won't matter if they were
made out of cardboard. Glamourize your act and wow your fans. Get a
Twitter account, get on Facebook, take it to the next level for Christ's
sake. This malheureuse (malaway) mentality has got to go. Why do you
think Machel Montana is so big now? He's not only targeting the crowd in
Tunapuna or Laventille. Machel is now jamming clubs in Asia, Europe,
and around the world. For too long we have been lax in our approach to
entertainment and forgotten that it's a money making endeavour. At an
event with reporters from all over the world, TV cameras galore,
celebrities and other big name entertainers (incognito, and cognito),
you failed to be anything other than another on-the-block sensation. You
failed to step up your game last night. You should have rocked
Beausejour like you were putting a baby to sleep.
Instead you looked like any other little bum or gangster wannabe. You had no wow factor last night.
Flight date August 17, 2013
FL 350 (35,000 feet)
Speed: 550 mph
Time: 4:15 PM
United Airlines flight 1463 had barreled down the runway after a hell
on earth experience prior to departure. Everything had been in chaos at
Hewanorra airport. As the pilot pushed the throttles full forward the
engines responded quickly and I sunk into my seat due to thrust induced
by Jet A1 fuel. St. Lucia quickly disappeared into the distance as we
hurtled towards the heavens. Seated in 25A I had a window view of the
terminal rushing by the left of the aircraft. Still on the ground were
American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, JetBlue, and over on the extreme
end of the parking apron was the Taiwanese president’s Boeing 747 with a
great big flower on its tail. President Ma certainly caused a stir
during his visit (but on to that another time).
pouch in the seat in front of me has the usual assortment of in-flight
reading material: Boeing B737-800/900 safety booklet, the United
Airlines Hemisphere magazine headlining ‘Three Perfect Days –Alaska.'
The picture which graced the cover must have been taken from a
helicopter, and was that of a snow covered landscape with running elk.
Don’t they call them caribou up Canada? The United Sky Mall shopping
magazine was also in the mix. Thanks, but no thanks, I’ll get my deals
from eBay or Amazon.
It is at times like this, on
the return flight, when one is usually inundated with thoughts of a
vacation just concluded. I was no exception. At 35,000 feet with nothing
else to do the previous five weeks flashed through my mind like a fast
forwarding VHS tape gone wild. Visions of being a passenger on the
inaugural United flight to St. Lucia; the Monday and Tuesday carnival
jump up through the streets of Castries and all those pictures I took;
meeting so many friends once again; La Rose; an SJC graduating class 25th
anniversary reunion; Miss Gros Islet; my underwater mission as Agent
009 Nobbie Bond; and mangoes. All those damn blasted mangoes. I mean
Mangoes were a part of every day. I
picked them early each day from the trees which spotted the landscape
where I stayed. Pon, Graham, Tin Kwem…..ahhhhhhhhhhh. These mangoes
kept me sane, I believe. I was spared the affliction which is commonly
known as VAT-induced-vap. It is a condition which afflicts many St.
Lucians who become more and more enraged as they pay VAT on items they
purchase throughout the day. Usually by 4 pm they’re ready to eat you
(an expression used by St. Lucians to mean that a person has become wild
enough to eat you in a rage). I was at least spared contracting that
affliction as any glass of juice did not give the feeling of swallowing
VAT at every gulp. This year’s harvest was bountiful, sweet, and VAT
free. I continue to be amazed at how many foreign fruit drinks are on
our supermarket shelves.
Notwithstanding all these
memorable recollections on my more than mile high flight my mind also
twists around some of the unsavoury visions of my stay. The stray dogs
of Vieux Fort are a sight to behold, especially near the roundabout /bus
stand area (at times it seemed like dogs outnumbered people). The
jumbies/crackheads of Castries who come out at night, enmasse, like so
many ghouls in ‘Living Dead’ or ‘Night of the Undead’ movies.
Have you ever ventured out after dark, and passed near Kentucky Fried
Chicken adjacent to the Cathedral on Micoud Street? One’s first
instinct is to run for the hills as the jumbies approach you, on exit,
like a scene from Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video. Pavee’ and The
Morne are conveniently close. The garbage of Castries is a disgrace.
Not that garbage is anything other than that anyway.
A trip to the
Castries Market area after dark is a sight to behold. Having been named
one of the most intriguing outdoor markets of the world the filth and
refuse discarded in plain view with wild abandon is nothing short of
colossal. And the skeletons of Castries! By night the city becomes a
veritable bone yard; a cemetery. Strewn across the streets of the city
are the carcasses of makeshift constructions used during the day for
sidewalk vending. They follow no rhyme or reason in their
construction.Mismatched pieces of wood, pieces of tarpaulin, galvanize,
plastic, wrought iron, all put together by some sidewalk engineer with
rope, nails, welding, or gravity. These monstrosities occupy at least
fifty percent of the sidewalk space forcing pedestrians to walk in the
street; a dangerous undertaking. Anytime after lunch will catch many of
the mostly women vendors who occupy these out of code traps fast asleep;
you thought siestas were only a thing of Spain. With mouths
involuntarily hanging open, heads lolling to a side, and bavay dripping
out the corner of their mouths (sometimes creating a very wet spot on
their blouse), many of these vendors are caught in full public view.And
just as they suddenly arrived in the mornings, they are gone by night.
It’s like one minute they are there, and the next they’ve vanished
leaving behind the carcasses of their edifices to stand hopelessly
waiting for another day when their nakedness will be covered once again.
this? A little turbulence, a wide graceful climbing turn, and a
bathroom break. Looking back to the rear of the cabin I see a line for
the bathroom, and my two elderly visitor seat mates are asleep.They have
me boxed in. Damnit! Don’t think about it Nobbie you really don’t have
to pee; mind over matter. Well in this case it turned out to be too much
matter. To hell with it I’m waking them up.
I made it past my slumbering friends and on my return had a
conversation with Bob who was now awake. We spoke about politics,
Mexicans, trade, the US auto industry, and crooked politicians. Bob
lives in New Jersey and was returning home after a wonderful trip to
St. Lucia. He says Bermuda will be his next vacation spot next year.
Ever heard of the Bermuda Triangle Bob? At least Bob helped pass the
remaining forty five minutes of flight time.
As we began our descent into New York airspace I captured some sunset shots. The landing was a bit hard, but we made it. And so, one chapter ends and another begins in the life of Secret Agent 009 Nobbie Bond.