EDITOR, The Tribune.
Some time ago I drafted a letter to the editor to commend Bahamian musician and producer Fred Ferguson for withdrawing his support from carnival, but in the business of life, I did not finalise and send it. Recently, I saw Mr Ferguson at a funeral and was reminded of my unfinished task, hence this letter to you.
Mr Ferguson said that after listening to the music produced for last year’s carnival, he decided he could not support it. I commend him for his courageous and principled decision, and I’m elated by it. But more than being elated by his decision, I’m encouraged by Mr Ferguson’s reason for withdrawing his support from carnival. He said carnival does not support anything that we are as Bahamians.
However, despite Mr Ferguson’s brutally honest statement that carnival does not support anything Bahamian (a view that is widespread among Bahamians), the official carnival website is trying to sell a different story by describing carnival as “a destination event for Bahamians and visitors to immerse themselves in the music and culture of The Bahamas”. That statement, coupled with the reality of what carnival is, can be an iconic case study in false advertising and misrepresentation.
Is it truly Bahamian for groups of women with barely covered breasts to erotically wine, gyrate, and bang their g-stringed bottoms and their scantily covered genitals on the bodies of characterless men, virtually having sex in the streets? Is it truly Bahamian to demonstrate no regard for the young and no respect for the old in outrageous pornographic behaviour in public?
No, carnival is not Bahamian. It is a foreign festival that celebrates public indecency and debauchery, and the organizers and participants don’t even attempt to represent anything Bahamian. I have heard some of the carnival songs written by Bahamian artists, and I grieve at the vulgar lyrics and depraved ideas that are common in the songs, almost all of which are sung with a poorly imitated Trinidadian accent. How can that possibly be Bahamian?
There is no denying that carnival and what it promotes and produces are like jet fuel to speed us along the road of national disgrace and moral and social degradation. That road is marked by increased public sexual indecency, crime and lawlessness, more broken families, more children born outside of marriage, more violence against women, increased sexual abuse, a failing educational system, lower productivity, and increased laziness, etc., as more and more people embrace the “live and wine” and “worst behaviour” culture of carnival. And all this takes place in a context of cultural confusion, where many of our people are increasingly ashamed to be Bahamian and demonstrate it by writing and singing vulgar songs influenced by another culture. Is this the kind of Bahamas we want to build? Right thinking Bahamians would say no.
While I commend the FNM government for its decision not to fund carnival, I urge them not to privatize it. Privatising carnival is not a real solution because the issue is bigger than protecting public finances; there is also a need to protect public morality and public decency, especially for the sake of our children. Carnival needs to be cancelled altogether, especially the pornographic road parade. Again, in the words of Fred Ferguson, carnival does not support anything we are as Bahamians. And the words of Fred Ferguson represent the view of an overwhelming majority of Bahamians, so I pray that the FNM government, unlike the PLP government, would listen. Towards this end, I and others are praying.
PASTOR CEDRIC MOSS
July 4, 2017.