Wednesday, April 17, 2024

AL GILKES: Can’t find brother Paul


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TODAY I AM using what in Parliament is referred to as a point of order to respond to remarks made in the Lower Chamber last week by the MP for St Michael West Central, Hon James Paul, about the recent beach party event of the Barbados Reggae Festival.

In so doing, two songs, one religious and the other a calypso, come to mind, namely Adam In the Garden Hiding and RPB’s Can’t Find Me Brother.

The chorus of the first asks, “Adam where are thou?” in reference to his attempt to hide in the Garden of Eden after Eve made him eat the forbidden fruit. In the second, you would have to be an alien not to know about what RPB was singing.

So why do these two unrelated songs in relation to Mr Paul? Firstly, for him to make the remarks he made about the event, he would have to be in hiding because nobody knows where he could have been found in the venue.

I have asked members of 80-plus officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force on duty that evening if any had seen James Paul there and the answer was a unanimous. “No”.

Members of the 70-odd general private security: “No”; the VIP security unit: “No”; those who manned the body scanners: “No”; who would have given him a manual body search: “No”; who manned the on-site box office: “No”.

Those who would have electronically scanned his ticket to ensure it was genuine: “No”; who would have taken and/or torn his ticket: “No”; who would have served him food and drink in VIP: “No”; who, alternatively, would have done so in the general area: “No”; photographers who hunt for personalities to publish or post: “No”; the MCs who shout out such people from the stage: “No”; other similar personalities who attended: “No”.

So if nobody can confirm that brother Paul could be found at the beach party, unless he was somewhere hiding, how could he make statements like these in Parliament “. . . We cannot on national stages be promoting pornography . . . .” and “People who are coming to sing in this country have to be told that we have laws [that] have to be respected.”

You also made your invisibility even more profound by stating: “When I look at the Barbadian artistes I am very proud . . . . They came clean and they sang what I would call uplifting songs, righteous songs.

“Dear Mr Paul, the agreement made the 14th day of April, 2015 between the Commissioner of Police and FAS Entertainment, mandated the promoter as follows: “To draw to the attention of all performers the laws of Barbados concerning acceptable public conduct, the use of indecent or abusive language or incitement”, and “not to use the Reggae on the Beach or permit the same to be used for any illegal or indecent purpose or for any purpose of a nature likely to incite or encourage such behaviour.”

Mr James Paul, didn’t you see(?) that of the three Jamaican and some 24 Barbadian artistes and deejays that evening, the only ones whom the very vigilant police found it necessary to caution and warn, in keeping with the above mandate to the promoter, were two members of the Barbadian contingent?

You now leave me tempted to offer a reward to anybody, including yourself, who can provide proof that you actually witnessed what you spoke about, because it really hurt when you condemned the show with the word “pornography”. I could be wrong, but I don’t even think you meant to say “profanity”.

Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email


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