Our Readers' Opinions
December 3, 2013
We destroy our youth, but blame them for the destruction

Tue Dec 03, 2013

Editor: I was appalled to see on page 33 of THE NEWS newspaper of Friday 29/11/2013, Shafia London, the regional commercial manager, SVG Brewery and a model, both gleefully depicting a poster boldly written: “I NEED A BUD”. The billboard is apparently advertising the alcoholic beverage Budweiser beer. To me that advertisement is despicable. In its prologue, it is claiming the introduction of Budweiser beer into SVG. Budweiser beer is not new to SVG; the West India Development Company, owned by Randolph Russell, sold Budweiser beer here almost forty years ago.{{more}} What is new is the vulgarity of the advertisement. The word ‘bud’ has a biological meaning and figuratively its biological concept is used to describe certain situations and/or conditions; however, in SVG and the wider Caribbean and beyond, we know too well the word bud is used in the most vulgar, demeaning and debased way.

Young ducks swim after the old

The old adage is so true. Young people emulate their elders. As elders and people in public life we have to be always mindful of the image we portray. Generally, the ads we see now appearing on the television and in our newspapers are shameful. Young girls are appearing virtually naked. At entertainment sights and or boat rides and picnics, prizes are being offered for the most lewd form of dress. Even at officialdom, girls who may not necessarily follow the craze, do so at the Carnival beauty show pageants, with the hope of enhancing their chances of obtaining a university education. This type of despicable behaviour is being sponsored by the big business houses, to the tune of thousands of dollars. The styles that you see our young and not so young girls wearing on the streets throughout this country, their mothers and grandmothers would have been too ashamed to wear in their living rooms.

What are the consequences?

Now that the chickens have come home to roost, we blame the deviant behaviour on the youth, not recognizing that by our actions we have taught them. Recently there was a hue and cry about a police officer who gave the middle finger gesture to a protesting crowd of NDP supporters, within the full view of the protesters, fellow officers and members of the general public. The police officer may be thinking that he is in the big league with PM Gonsalves, who a few years ago made the identical gesture to some NDP protesters at the entrance to the House of Parliament building. Dr Gonsalves, when confronted, rather than apologizing to the nation for such unprecedented behaviour, to the contrary boasted about his action in the very Parliament when he said: “I gave him the perfect finger. Me must meck unorthodox man frighten me. When I gave him the signage he run.”

Would it be any surprise to hear any of our secondary school girls telling her male counterpart: I NEED A BUD? Would she be punished for so saying? That expression may well be the greeting for the Christmas season and may also become a road march hit for Carnival 2014. We constantly blame our young men for acts of rape and violence against our women; should we not at the same time ask ourselves if by their own conduct, the women do not invite this type of response?

Years ago big brand named cigarettes and alcoholic beverages were advertised in popular magazines and on the cinema screens by the most popular movie stars on horse backs and in the most exotic settings. Most young people who became sucked into those ads did not end up becoming popular movie stars, but rather the victims of alcohol abuse and lung cancer. Today, in some countries, not only is cigarette smoking banned in public places, but its advertisement is prohibited, long after the damage is done. In a similar way there are some lousy individuals who are advocating the legalizing and/or the decriminalizing of marijuana for their own economic or political gain; the sooner we recognize that and avoid the death-knell, the better it will be for our future generation.

Children come unto us void of experiences. The road we give them to tread on is the road they will accept. Let us not allow too many potholes, for it’s not only ugly, it is dangerous. It may not only damage their rims and tyres, but their ability to take shocks, because their suspension springs would be damaged for life.

Shafia has made her mark. Her life has been an excellent example for young people to follow. Let her keep it that way.

Matthew Thomas