Bassy - Love Vine
August 14, 2009
Skills! skills! Everyway

Ah feel hopeful when ah see de burst ah Summer Activities involving our youths, and ah want to commend dem individuals, groups and organizations who have been conducting youth camps and coaching clinics in de various disciplines: social, religious, cultural (arts and craft) and sporting. So refreshing dis year to see every camp site is occupied, every hard-court and playing field is in use, good foh ah change.{{more}}

In retrospect, we weren’t so fortunate as youths, we didn’t have any organized clinics, we just played ‘ad lib’ and ‘impromptu’ from dawn to dust, and dat included tings like bat’n’ball, football, pitching marbles, spinning top, flying kite, shoot birds wid sling-shot, walking from Kingstown to Villa beach to play ah game ah beach cricket before ah swim. We had no breaks foh prepared snacks like de kids get today, in fact we never broke foh lunch, instead we eat fruits, lots ah mangoes, no one climbed ah tree, that’s how we uses to sharpen we throwing skills by stoning de mangoes or golden apples on de limb. We eat java plum till we tongue turn black! Suck hog plum, Damsel and tambran till yuh teeth edge. Dounce plum and guava were de only fruits we treated wid caution, too much ah seeds, nuff man get cork (constipated) foh days, only ah large dose ah Epsom salts could ah free up de traffick; lots ah coconut water, de meat from one dry coconut would ah feed ah dozen of us. Ah almost forget, roasting ah breadfruit and stuffing ah penny salt butter in de centre while it was still hot. Ah suppose just like how ah cherish my yesterday; today’s youths will tomorrow reminisce on their yesterday wid nostalgia.

But dey’s ah saying too much fun mek Jack an ass. And while it is good to have all ah de Summer Activities, most ah d’s youths will soon grow up and have to feed demselves tomorrow. Ah believe dat ah great deal could be done during de long summer in preparing young people foh de hard times ahead. Ah recognize de presence ah de Eddy-care-shun Rev-all-yuh-shun but dat needs meat on its bone.

Ah would love to see ah National Summer Skill Training Program foh youths twelve and over. We will teach dem Disciplines like Carpentry, Masonry, Plumbing and Electrical wiring, Painting, Cabinet and Cupboards making. They will be taught to read plans and use tools, de actual program will involve building ah complete house and this program will be extended in at least thirty districts throughout SVG. It will be ah five year course, at de end candidates will be tested and awarded ah Diploma.

And way de money will come from, well, we will beg as we always do. Only dat dis time whenever we beg foh ah fish we will tell dem we begging foh ah fishing rod, wid ah line and hook too. Ah really feel excited about dis program. It all came to me when ah tried getting some workmen to repair my house, how much of ah shortage ah skilled men dey is in SVG. Ah had to reach Bagga foh ah painter, Cane End foh someone to tile de bath. And these are no young men, not ah good sign foh de future.


It is like ah Pair-ah-ducks that one week de newspaper headline was: “Poverty Down”! and de very following week de Searchlight front page: “Swamped! Dozens converge on Social Welfare Department”! De picture accompanying de story paints an interesting tale. Ah group ah young, strong and healthy looking mothers, rushing and cussing de officials foh school supplies. Is ah desperate situation, to have to be fighting foh Hand out! Poor Relief! But dis is de reality in de country, contrary to what de politicians would want us to believe about de Economy, how we doing well in SVG. Ah’m sure dat dem women would much prefer to be employed, earning money to provide foh dey children, rather dan to be subjected to such indignity. Mr PM, Find wuk foh de women dem to do.


Lie-Za was telling me how she read in de papers too, way our resident Judge was fuming over ah Caller on one ah de Talk Shows, de caller implied in ah statement dat Judges are being influenced. Den she ask me if de Judge never hear de story bout de case way de Lawyer was drilling de witness. “Is it true dat yuh have already decided to take ah $5,000 bribe to sell-out dis case?” De lawyer kept insisting an answer from de witness. But de Witness would not budge, no answer, till de Judge ask him why he would not answer de question. Wid ah face as serious as ah bull, de witness told de Judge: “ Me lard, ah nah bin know is me he talking to, ah tart was yuh”! Ah swear dat one day, Lie-Za will get charge foh contempt, and wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.