gall and gumption

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Would You Like Fries With That?

I'm sorry but you all will have to listen to me whine about this from time to time. You can't be everywhere and do everything, of course, but I would like to be in St. Kitts right now for one reason: there is a story there that is just calling out to me. It is not calling out to the best part of my character. But still it is calling. Just as I now have the dogbloggy "Red Sofa Series" and the Mysterious West, so you will have to submit from time to time to the "I Wish I Was Writing News In the Caribbean" series.

I’m getting to this story a bit late, as it is now going on a month old, but the repercussions will be felt for a while.

Here’s yer journalistic lede:

Thousands of digital photographs featuring local men and women in a variety of sexual activities on the tables of the Why Not sandwich shop, are now circulating around the Federation since their discovery by the landlord of the property where the bar was located. The proprietor of Why Not, Lorenzo Green, was murdered along with his wife last December.

Dr. Charles Warner, Shadow Minister of Health and Social Security (i.e., the one who did not win a seat in the last election) wrote a commentary in the opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) newspaper. I cite this commentary, plus, later on, a couple of women who were in them, and even the Prime Minister’s press secretary chimes in, mainly to make it clear that there is no dispute about the existence of these photographs. The commentary sounds really loopy but it is one of the more sensible statements I have read on this:

It is good to know that there are people in the Federation who are interested in more than the display of reproductive organs and other aspects of the human anatomy.  For all those who dwell in the kingdom of misunderstanding, what people do in private is really their own business.  However, when those activities can affect the general and unsuspecting public it is clearly a very different issue.
Establishments that want to be engaged in these activities must not be in anyway mixing juices.  It is one thing to have a pinocolada but the customer must be truly afforded the chance to have it virgin or non-virgin.  The customer must also be sure that the hands mixing his drinks are not performing gynecological mixing or proctologic examinations, glove free [I’ll just mention here that I, myself, stopped ordering sandwiches there when I saw the boy behind the counter picking his nose -- little imagining that the place was even more orificial than that! -k].
If the Ministry of Health ever wanted proof of what people are saying goes on in some bars and establishments in this country, they have all the proof required.  The Ministry of Health must now make sure that areas for dancing and exhibitionism are kept away from those designed for dining.  There are clearly other potential problems apart from rodents.  Patrons must not be getting hemoglobin when they expect Heinz or Grace tomato ketchup.

What I like about the Candidate for West Bassterre’s prose is that it isn’t mealy-mouthed. It is beyond the merely explicit: he keeps dipping that broad brush of his into bodily fluids.

Nevertheless, he has some observations with which no right-thinking person can disagree:

Once again, especially for those of the kingdom of misunderstanding, this is not a call for the Ministry of legal affairs to do anything because everybody knows that the Ministry will not do anything.  It cannot turn a blind eye to its friends and supporters while penalizing others.  Both the proprietor and participants of such establishments should be dealt with legally.  The participants are knowingly engaging in acts that could be detriment to public health.  Genetalia and hamburgers are not to be on the same table.  Protological examinations should not be done on dining tables and when they are done gloved hands are employed.

He alludes to the prevailing belief in the country that women travel about the region -- to St. Kitts and Nevis in this instance, to engage in prostitution. Nevis, it is widely believed, has a lot of Dominican prostitutes (but no Nevisian ones). St. Kitts has Dominican women, believed to be prostitutes, and Guyanese ones as well. There was a brief blip of a scandal in St. Kitts when I was there, involving a hotel next to a gas station -- a hotel where no tourists or anyone, to my knowledge, ever stayed and where the word was several Guyanese prostitutes, specially imported, were staying for the pleasure of people connected to government. The owner wouldn’t talk to me, and a lot of dust was thrown in my face on that one, I never did get to the bottom of it.
When these activities are intermingled especially in the context of HIV and related diseases the consumers health is clearly in jeopardy.  Diseases such as hepatitis and typhoid can all be spread through this callous and negligent behaviour.  Many people know that women from other Caribbean countries came here for certain activities.  Some of these places are known for certain endemics diseases, e.g., malaria.  In the quest to satisfy the groin and the eyes there might be the creation of the opening for problems to be avoided.

Sex on restaurant tables? Girls gone wild? It’s those disease-ridden foreign women (read: Dominicans and Guyanese), bringing their malaria with them. (Malaria, he knows perfectly well, is not a sexually transmitted disease; it is a FTD -- that is, a Foreigner Transmitted Disease.) But of course the women in the pictures were not all foreigners.

Some commentators to the SKN List don’t blame foreign women, but foreign culture:

The Foreign Media is At Fault. The government needs to censor. All this Thuggism In Foreign Culture That They Think Is Soo Cool.. Look at the mentality of these young women and men today. Education is what is needed also...



The women in the photos were Kittitian women, some of whom were later interviewed on the radio and in at least one local paper. This is a report from a SKN lister of one interview with two women who were in the photos. What strikes me is not that they have so much foreign culture as that they have so little! They really don’t understand much about what they were experiencing or doing, and yet they clearly think themselves quite the sophisticates. The sad thing is that the people on this list, the yakking classes. will believe that it is overexposure to foreign culture and not underexposure to any culture that causes the problem. I’m glad these women aren’t ashamed, but I’d like them to have had a clue about what they were doing. Engagements have been broken off, and at least one woman has been fired from a respectable job as a result of the photos. Not one man will lose his job over this, I am sure.

The horrible thing is that this is the two-facedness of Caribbean culture, one of the things that really hurts the societies there: the denial of the reality of what people actually do. This denial is all to the advantage of the men. A man can talk about his "virgin country" where in the afternoons businessmen troll past the high school to pick up girls, where I met a women who ducked a court appearance with the man who molested her 12-year-old daughter because he gave her a year's free rent and the police inspector covering the case said it was something that occurred commonly, where one of my reporters at the paper where I worked started modeling lingerie at a bar on Friday nights and then was lap dancing a few weeks later - dumber than a turnip that one was. And where all of this sort of thing was regarded by the girls involved as their best chance for getting ahead. This was the traditional way. The "modeling" was a new thing. My reporter skipped work to go on "modeling" gigs, I don't ever remember her skipping a modeling gig to go to court, because I went to court when she wasn't there. (I really wanted to get rid of her, not because of the modeling, but because she was so goddam stupid -- but for reasons beyond my control I couldn't.)

....heard two of the girls tonight on Sugar City Roc with Val Thomas, and they weren't ashamed.  One goes by the name of "Superstar", and another just answered to being called #2.  Superstar, said that she was influenced by an American television show.  She said that she awakes in the night just to watch a show called, "Girls gone Wild".  She also said that in America women does these things all the time and they are still celebrities.

She said that she was on Fort  street, when some girl came up to her and asked if she wanted to have some fun, because it was her party.  She said she went, and she knew exactly what she was doing, but others were there doing much worse than her.  When the host asked her if she wanted to take calls, her response was, "Bring on the Paparazzi".  Want to bet she will do it again and probably done this sort of thing before?

While #2 said that she knows that her body looks good and she wanted to see what it looked like, she took the pictures but never went back to get them. A who she trying to fool? [Kittitian syntax - k] She also said that she knows that her body is the temple of the Lord, so I guess he approved.   It sounded like she was the one who worked at National Bank and got fired.  She said that her mother was embarrassed, but know what?  she seems as if she will do it again.

Here's the kicker, the host Val Thomas, said he knows of it happening in many places in the Federation.  I have this suspicion that the BET Soundstage on Fort Street, is doing similar things, probably have dancers etc.  Three floors of entertainment?

One woman claimed in an interview with one of the local papers that she had been given the date rape drug and doesn’t remember anything.

The BET Soundstage is a new club that opened up on Fort Street since I was there. The bar/sandwich shop where these photos were taken is the Why Not Bar, across the street,l now closed since its owner, Lorenzo Green, and his wife were murdered at their home in St. Kitts last December.

Fort Street is Basseterre's very short main drag, just about four short short small-island city blocks. In other words, it is less than half a mile long. Cayon Street, which crosses Basseterre from East to West, is the top end of it, and the bottom end of it is the Bay Road, just below the splendid building that houses the Historical Society, and fronting the sea. The Circus is a circle with one of those old Victorian-colonial clocks in the center of it. On jouvert morning all the bands will come to the Circus at daybreak and then take several tours around town, always passing back through the Circus. The “nice” part of Fort Street, the part for the cruise ship tourists and the well-to-do, is the lower part. The upper half, away from the water, is more local. Still nicer than most of Basseterre but definitely more local. Green’s Why Not bar and sandwich shop was right at this boundary between the upper and lower halves of Fort Street.

Green had opened this bar before Frigate Bay became fashionable, and for a long time (before I went to St. Kitts) it was the night spot. But by the time I was there it was no longer the place to start an evening, though you might end an evening there if you just didn't want to go to bed -- it was one of the last places to close. You would start an evening in Frigate Bay or at Stonewalls, which totally outclassed Why Not? It had become a rather dreary place, somehow it is associated in my mind with something on TV that nobody was watching except one drunk at the bar who was arguing with Green about it. At the back of the bar, I remember, Green kept a laptop computer that was always on. It seemed really incongruous there, and, I learned, it had a shady history all of its own.

The bar was connected by a little passage to the sandwich shop, which was only open during the day.

In December Green and his wife were murdered, there was a spate of murders and shootings in St. Kitts, and people were very shocked. Because he was a real somebody there, a person whom everybody knew, a grown man and not one of these little gangster boys. Someone shot him to death and stabbed and shot his wife. He died on the spot, his wife died in emergency.

OK so now travel through time to mid April. It broke about April 14. The landlord was cleaning out the property and came across all these DVDs, which then began to circulate around the island. Kind of like "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg."

One lister saw evil in the fact that several ministers of government went to Green’s funeral, long before the photos surfaced:

Wendy, there's a reggae song that  contains the following lyrics: "The evil that men do live after them". He also took pictures of fully clad unsuspecting patrons(men)with women lap dancing on them. Come to think of it, that fella was never too far away from that video camera of his.

Wendy, you should have seen all the Labour Ministers at the burial-Condor, Douglas, Astaphan and a couple of the others.
St.Kitts and Nevis)really 'gone een' under New Labour ghul*. Right across from the "Bar of Horrors" is the BET Club, another den of depravity opened under this  New Labour Administration. 

Most Kittitians expected these depravities would flourish under a PAM Government, but New Labour has turned out to be far worse than PAM. The fish always start to stink from the head. Everything Bradshaw fought for is going down the drain real fast. The Great One is rolling in his grave.

*”ghul” is Kittitian patois for “girl”

One Nevisian who lives in Washington and is a great fan of the current (U.S.) administration has not yet found his legs as a shill for All Things Right Wing and Loony, so he keeps himself busy with Nevisian affairs. He reported to the list “for the record” that no ministers of government or “high-ups” were in any of the images, leaving it to be inferred that he had had a good look through the photos. He is quite sure they would never engage in any of this sort of thing because ministers of government go by the title of HONORABLE and that is “not a title they just hand in to anybody who walks in off the street.”

I am sure there is no one from the government in those pictures, even though one member of this government has been immortalized in a calypso for the night when he was caught jumping out the window of a house where his wife definitely did not reside. The calypso accuses half the men in the country of paying women for sex. But only very dim people, in this country, would ever let themselves be caught in photographs such as these. Dim people, I should say, and women in need of a little extra cash, women who do not understand their lack of political power. What will be clear is that whatever cruelties and humiliations result from the discovery and circulation of these images, the women will have the worst of it. And the worst of that is that it will not occur to most of the women to question the state of affairs -- the political tribalism and sexism, for instance -- that ensures this result. Not a word about that aspect of this in the whole 150-plus messages on this thread.

What is not clear is when these photos were supposed to have been taken. I haven’t seen any of them. The Prime Minister’s press secretary, out in the country one day, visited two households of family or friends and found everybody gathered round the computer looking at the pictures.

One local paper, Sun St. Kitts, also reported that some of the women are bringing a lawsuit, but it's not clear to me who they could possibly sue, as the person who shot and owned the images is dead and it's not like he got a bunch of money without giving them a cut.

Not all the comments were silly: one woman wrote in quite sensibly that the participants, if they were all adults, were free to do what they liked by mutual consent. For this she got called all sorts of names, and a long, tedious flame war ensued in which she managed to hold her own so well that her main attacker just yesterday left the list claiming to be “too addicted” to it and in need of a break.

My favorite comment on all this leaves us where we began.

this thing is so low, if one can say anything about it. You could pick up a yeast infection by just having a sandwich at "why not."

Well, why not?

With all these people garpin out their backsides all over the tables patrons used to grub at that establishment, it only leaves one to wonder, now that the pictures are proof positive, if anybody ever found foreign objects like hair in their food. What reason the Proprietors might have given to the complainant, if at all this there was such an occurance?

Boy, ah 'fraid dem... Just when you thought things couldn't get any lower than snake sh**t, this one takes the cake.

Wha dis now, the new no name brand, "yeast encrusted" Dental floss to explain the hair in you food? They probably served up some "land crabs" over there too, for all I would add to this. Any narsieness for de money, eh?

"Why not," watch wey you put you snout..

I have never heard the word “garpin’” before. I don’t know what it means. But I like it.

I have not corrected anybody's spelling except my own. My own mostly.


At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Honey, Pass me some of dat yeast encrusted dental floss. I seem to have a hair in my burger and hemoglobin in my fries. I do hope that proctologist hurries up with the ice tea. Eww, there's something on the lemon. I hope he was wearing his gloves. We don't get service like this stateside. Mmmph-- couldn't you be a little gentler? Oh yes, I'd love a little more fresh ground pepper.


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