From one corner of our public comes the urgent and repeated warnings about the descent of our culture into the Dancehall genre. From another corner there seems to be an unusual fascination for this kind of activity.
Our communities in St. Kitts and Nevis are at this point in our history faced with the choice between these two social values. It is a choice which can result in the preservation of what is best in our values or the erosion of those values and their replacement with questionable values imported from abroad.
The history of the Dancehall is the history of the failure of our political leaders to fulfill the grand promises of post colonialism and political independence.
In their quest to supplant the white colonial leaders, our local leaders promised that they would convert our general poverty to general prosperity. They promised that they would wipe out illiteracy and crime, that they would give everybody decent housing in which to raise their families and decent incomes on which to provide for them.
They encouraged the poor to take notice of the lifestyle of the rich and to hope that in the new political dispensation they would live that kind of life.
Unfortunately, those promises have not been fulfilled for the majority of Caribbean citizens. Education has indeed improved but only for a few and instead of raising everybody to a higher level it has created wide distinctions between those who could benefit from an elitist education and the majority for whom the education system has been irrelevant.
Thus there are now two societies in the Caribbean, the traditional society which consists of educated people – doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and the like, including successful merchants and tradesmen – and the Dancehall society which consists of the school and social dropouts.
This Dancehall society develops its culture not in the highly individualistic environment of the traditionally successful, but in the collective faceless arena of the dancehall where drugs and music paralyze the senses and free everyone from inhibitions.
That section of society glorifies vulgarity, violence and promiscuity and is of course diametrically against all traditional values.
Some people mistake this social deviancy for culture and because of its growing popularity politicians find it a useful device to rally the underclass to their campaigns.
Our traditional society should be alert to the danger to law order and our sanity of the sinister encroachment of Dancehall culture.