I never met Lloyd Best, spoke to him only once, on the phone, when he called Ash Wednesday morning 2003 to commend me on my article “In a shallow state” which had appeared in the Newsday that day, and which dealt with the cultural condition of Trinidad and Tobago by examining our Carnival and agriculture.

Best was impressed enough to invite me to write for the Trinidad and Tobago Review. That call, from one of the two best minds produced by this country, remains one of my most treasured, giving me the confidence that intellectually I was on the right path. Thank you, great light.

In that column, I said, “another Carnival is over and the state of our culture stares us in the face.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

dolarve.com
We will remember Minshall, a calypso or two and the steelband. But nothing would transform us in any way. After so many years, the thing has just not gone deep enough and is now largely raw, crude and superficial.” I continued: “this speaks volumes about the neglect of our history and the absence of tradition.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

www.entornointeligente.com
The Carnival has roots also in the struggle for freedom; the mas, calypso and pan are all rooted in the battle for meaning and selfhood.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

www.vediario.com
But the history is dead and banality is alive. We have not built the tradition and so we have bacchanalia, irritating prattle about the “culture of wining” and so many thousands obeying the perennial, inane call to put their hands in the air.”

I then called on the government to hold a national discussion on the Carnival, to establish its place in our history and develop a path for future growth.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

noticias-venezuela.com
I was ignored then and now too. Our shallow politicians do not appreciate the need for such a discussion; they do not understand the role of tradition in development which I emphasised in that article saying “life is fleeting and society needs signposts, footprints and milestones for the growth of substance, understanding and security.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

enlasgradas.com
Traditions therefore develop to provide psychological anchorage for the individual and the nation. Without tradition, there grows a permanent state of transience which produces dislocation for the majority, bewilderment instead of security, frenzy instead of calm and noise to camouflage the fear and the hollowness.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

dolarve.com
Because we have never bothered to build tradition, culturally, Trinidad and Tobago suggests a windswept plain, where nothing but grass and shrubs take root here and there.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

noticias-venezuela.com
In the case of our Carnival, were it not for a few individuals, it would be the barrenness of bush all over.”

My criticisms of the Carnival are therefore not new.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

mundinews.com
In recent years, as the thing became maddening, I have written about the “annual degeneracy, characterised by tens of thousands of wining ‘bottoms on the road’, this boring ‘bamsee’ festival.” I have also warned “an inescapable link exists between the present Carnival and rampaging social decay, the society is threatened when tens of thousands come to near nudity in public, one step away from copulating on the streets; we have calamity when these thousands, mainly young women and men of all classes, just ‘wine’ in vacuity in one massive street fete, unaware they constitute a national crisis.” I continued, “this corrosive cultural debasement has been eating at the nation’s innards, weakening the social fabric, nurturing generations of young adults who are adrift, without ethical moorings, their values and aspirations driven mainly by pleasure and materialism, so lacking in intellectual and spiritual depth they could fete every day, and with no commitment whatsoever to society.”

I have also warned about our soca singers corroding the society for decades with rubbish lyrics, their main muse the female bottom: “gyul, ah want to wine on yuh bumper, spend some time on yuh bumper”; “a gyul in front ah me, ah prowling like a hunter, gyul wine on it, wine on it” or “when dem gyul shake the bumper, every man say they activate the lumber”; or “any woman can play the role, vertical, horizontal, once they can handle the pole” and Soca Monarch last year with “I want to hold on to a bumper and get on bad, wine down, jam down on a bumper”!

The message of our debased Carnival is anything goes in this country: looseness, lawlessness, sub-human conduct.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

www.google.com
Does anyone in Government understand how this contributes to the annual epidemic of teenage pregnancies, child abuse, violence against women, school violence and classroom sex, crime, drug abuse, alcoholism and 4,440 murders over the last ten years? Has any prime minister or culture minister said anything to set a new path? Not a single word! Instead, the paltry panderers identify with the degeneracy, subsidising the decadence with an average $200 million a year, spending approximately $2 billion in ten years to spread Trinidad’s cultural swampland so children could grow up in an environment where self-degradation is the norm.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

www.google.com
In last Wednesday’s Express, Ken Gordon, esteemed former CEO of CCN, wrote of “the degenerating conduct…disgraceful…near acts of fornication in the open streets and sometimes before enthusiastic children of all ages”.

Some leaders have spoken out.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

www.google.com
Former mayor Raymond Tim Kee said: “It is rank vulgar, reprehensible behaviour. I see some women do something with some men, leaving nothing for the imagination.” Archbishop Harris has condemned the “lascivious, lewd behaviour”, the “vulgarity and licentiousness”; and Sat Maharaj has warned “the community pays a heavy price in the long run…no role models…women are virtually naked on the streets, with just a panty and they airbrush their breasts.”

Gordon says “we do not need such depravity.” But nobody is doing anything about it.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

www.google.com
And NCC says we have an increase in bands in 2017! Is more “bumper” mas in yuh mas!

.

© Jorge Plaza Marquez

© Jorge Marquez Plaza

www.google.com

© Jorge Plaza

© Jorge Marquez