Passa Passa round-up
As previously reported, Grenada's Education Minister, Claris Charles, said Passa Passa had no place in the Spice Isle. Her comments were echoed this week when her colleague, Ann David-Antoine, the Minister of Ecclesiasistic Affairs, revealed the details of their proposals to deal with curtailing the event’s appeal within Grenada.
"None of us, as responsible citizens, can condone that kind of behaviour. We will try to come in contact with a small group of young women who go from party to party and are known as 'Passa Passa Queens'. We will have discussions with them, and offer them activities that would help them to improve their self esteem and provide them with alternative activities. There will also be on-going meetings between the Ministry and the promoters.
"One thing came out quite clearly from our meetings, and that is that we cannot condone this kind of activity. We need to work right away to act on it and try to decrease that activity, and get rid of it all together. We are all reminded that there are laws against indecent exposure and pornography, because it appears that the kinds of DVDs that are being sold in various places are really pornographic movies.
“We will have further discussions with the police to see how, together, were can work on this. The Government of Grenada cannot, and does not, condone this activity. We are taking all the actions we can to encourage young people to be positive, to improve their standing in life and to find things that would uplift them."
Speaking exclusively to BBC Caribbean Magazine from a Passa Passa dance in Tivoli Gardens, Jamaica on Thursday morning, Carlton 'Popcorn' McBridge said he'd been involved in Passa Passa events for more than a decade. He responded to Grenada’s opposition to Passa Passa.
"Its stupideness. Look at what they call Carnival. Look how they dress! Is there any murmur about that? They're almost naked! It’s the same thing – its culture.
"I don't understand why they would have anything to say about our culture. Passa Passa is one of the things that brings the whole island together. Everybody from all parts of the island come to Passa Passa. People can park their cars and leave them unlocked and come back and find them the same way. When Passa Passa finishes, you don't hear that someone has picked someone's pocket. You don't hear that anyone's been robbed or been raped. Those things don't go on at Passa Passa."
BBC Caribbean Magazine raised the issue Passa Passa DVDs. These are comprised of footage filmed at Passa Passas nights. Many are concerned at the unsuitable attire worn by women and young girls featured in the DVDs, and the overtly sexual dances that take place. Mr Mc Bridge said:
"That's not our fault you know. Before we came on the earth, there were people dancing naked. We must look back in our history, it’s the same thing."
Kingsley Stewart is a lecturer at the University of The West Indies in Jamaica. He runs a course called 'Identity & Conduct in the Dancehall Culture' there. He takes his students - whose ages range from 18 to 40 years - to Passa Passa events as part of their studies. He told BBC Caribbean Magazine why:
"My students are here to enjoy themselves. In terms of methodology and theories and approaching this place in a scholarly way, they are obligated to write a major final research paper based on their visit here.
"They have to analyse this place in a holistic and scholarly manner, paying attention to either economics, politics, sex and sexuality, aesthetics, religion and different themes that constitute the Jamaican world view from which dancehall is based on."