kulcha! Conscious Times: July 28th – August 5th, 2013

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Leroy “Tubby” Richardson, the oldest surviving St. George’s player

Are you hungover? In jail? $12,000 in debt to an erratic table owner? Congrats dun, that means you survived Cup Match, and deserve a pat on the back from a boasty Grenny. Another year, another four days of unbridled insanity rooted in Bermuda’s unique cultural heritage, and you loved every minute of it. Sure, Somerset retaining the Cup might have spiraled you into a deep depression, but emancipation, sportsmanship, togetherness, friendly competition and adherence to rich tradition tends to bring out the best in all of us at the end of the day (plus it was a draw so they dineen win it properly…HMMPH!). Anyways, this week’s Conscious Times covers everything from the never-ending Government/Unions saga to square Ministers and really unfortunate gaffes in the House Of Assembly…just ‘cause you spent the last 4 days drunk floating on some pewl noodle, doesn’t mean de world stopped turning. Here we go:

In an incredible publicity boost for Bermuda’s arts scene, TROIKA has just competed at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) in North Carolina, an event founded by poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou in 1989 which attracts close to 70,000 biennial attendees. According to results posted on TROIKA’s Facebook page, the entire youth team represented the island spectacularly, with performer Kameron Burgess taking home third place in the NBTF Youth Talent Showcase. Bigups to everyone involved with TROIKA, which was barely a household name five years ago, but has now taken the island by storm and encouraged more Bermudians to be involved in the arts.

Pinch me, I’m fleppin’ dreaming: it looks like Government and the Public Sector are actually capable of negotiating an agreement without it descending into bombastic chaos, thanks to a recent decision by all six Unions to accept a 4.6% pay cut across the board. While 4.6% is admittedly symbolic and will only account for roughly $25 million in annual savings out of $2.9 billion in unfunded liability for the three Government pension funds, this move signifies hope for future negotiations by proving that not every single conversation between the OBA and the Unions has to turn into a boast-less pissing match. Voices that are often hyperbolic took a refreshingly measured approach to the decision, with Shadow Home Affairs Minister Walter Roban stressing the importance of the proposed Tripartite committee and BIU President Chris Furbert stating: “It was about the support of the country as to the reason why we made that decision. It wasn’t because it was PLP or OBA or whatever it is”. Translation: let’s take our victories where we can and declare this a win for bipartisanship.

For those of you who live under some mug rock, an abundance of pink has popped up in strategic locations around the island as part of the BDOT’s ‘More Pink’ campaign, which aims to “champion Bermudians and empower them to be more”. While initially shrouded in mystery as a promotional tactic, we think the idea behind it novel and interesting: focusing a share of our tourism resources on boosting local morale is a unique approach to ensuring that our tourists are welcomed by happy, positive people. With high-profile promotional giveaways and vocal support from the likes of Collie Buddz, Beres Hammond and scores of local businesses, this campaign is in prime position to turn our frowns upside down en masse, which is cool like a fewl in a swimming pewl.

Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley seems determined to win Squarest Man In The World, following up his recent proposal to impose blanket bar bans with a newly-approved policy that would subject Cabinet members, MPs and Senators to random, mandatory drug tests. Seemingly uncertain of his own idea, Dunkley said that Government still hadn’t decided whether to either table the policy via the House Of Assembly or straight up force it on them: two wildly different approaches that would likely mean the difference between its success or demise (we really don’t see the motion passing if put to vote). Here’s what’s suspect: the concept of a urinalysis to determine whether someone is a regular drug user is laughably inaccurate: most illegal drugs, cannabis being an exception, are not detectable in urine after a few days, meaning that if a Cabinet Minister did cocaine on a Saturday, then was randomly tested the following Thursday, he/she might get away with it. If Dunkley was sincere about this idea, we’d think he’d vouch for hair follicle testing instead, which can accurately detect most illegal drugs in one’s system for up to 90 days after an instance of use. What’s our point here? To an alternative thinker (or a conspiracy theorist), it might seem that the Minister is only interested in targeting those who use cannabis, coincidentally one of the few substances detectable in urine for up to one month, and one of Bermuda’s most widely-used illegal drugs. As advocates of legalization, we really hope this isn’t the case, and that Dunkley knows what he’s doing with this seemingly haphazard gesture: it’s one thing to want to take steps that ensure that our politicians our “leading by example”, but another to do it in a half-hearted way that won’t produce accurate results. C’mon, dun.

So….Sylvan Richards…um, yah. In an embarrassing House Of Assembly gaffe, the Hamilton South MP and Minister of Environment & Planning attributed his time at Howard University as the reason he knows about the “black black blackity-black stuff”, sounding more like a drunk Bill Cosby than a Government representative. While we’re willing to entertain that he might have said it out of frustration and didn’t mean offense, it was a dumb remark that gave his opponents easy ammunition to isolate it out of the context of his speech and perpetuate our ludicrous partisan cycle. As much entertainment value as there is in replaying awkward sound bites from the House floor, MPs would do well to watch what they say in Parliament from now on…YouTube/Facebook culture is a bitch.

In the non-story of the week, Opposition MP and Shadow Finance Minister David Burt caught scrutiny for (*gasp*) producing and selling Swizzle without a license. Yes, we understand that it’s technically against the law, that an MP should know better and all that, but c’mon…it’s CUP MATCH SWIZZLE. Considering virtually every working environment in Bermuda has a “Swizzle Guy” who bootlegs the stuff and sells it to his/her coworkers without scrutiny, Burt deserves a pass here in light of the traditions surrounding the holiday. Sure, people would argue that selling it on an eCommerce website was taking it to the next level, but again…it’s just Swizzle, not live ammunition. Plus, now the OBAers can keep this in their back pocket as a hypocrisy counter-attack if, say, Michael Dunkley gets caught selling bootleg milk to the North Korean Government.

No matter what team you support or what kind of dopeyness you got up to these last few days, you have to admit that this was a pretty boasty Cup Match. Somerset superstar Janeiro Tucker broke Charlie Marshall’s record to become the competition’s all-time highest run-scorer, we were graced with the presence of reggae/soca superstars, the Non-Mariner’s Race was a wacky hit as usual and most importantly, it brought the entirety of Bermuda together for 4 boasty days of solidarity. So bless up from ya chess up, respeck up from ya neck up, peace up from ya knees up and bros up from ya toes up…we’ll see you next week, dun.

– C.D.

Image Credit:  The Bermuda Sun

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