The Finance Committee debated the appropriateness of behaviour at two major national festivals last week.
The debate took place on a motion made by Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush resulting from a You Tube video that surfaced recently showing young people simulating sexual intercourse at a street dance.
Mr. Bush’s motion mentioned Batabano and Pirates Week by name because both receive funding from government.
‘I mentioned them because of the number of young people attending and being involved in those events,’ he said.
Both festivals have main elements that take place on the streets of George Town.
‘If you think [what happens at those events] is all clean, you need to open your eyes,’ Mr. Bush said.
He said Pirates Week was not as bad as Batabano.
‘Liquor is involved, and besides that, people are parading around half naked, showing body parts and young men are going up behind young women and women are going up behind young men.’
In speaking about men and women ‘going up behind’, Mr. Bush was referring to a type of dancing often called whining, in which one person rubs their pelvis area behind another person.
‘It cannot be wholesome for young, elastic minds.’
Mr. Bush said he was approached by a young Christian girl recently who said she had participated in the most recent Batabano because she likes to dance.
‘But then a man was up behind her and she had to say ‘I’m not here for this’,’ Mr. Bush said. ‘It happens and you can’t say it doesn’t.’
Opposition MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly also expressed her dislike for Batabano and Pirates Week.
‘I make no apologies,’ she said. ‘What can be so cultural about people carousing and getting drunk in the street?’
Back bench MLA Alfonso Wright defended the national festivals during his debate.
‘Batabano and Pirates Week are national events and cultural events we should be promoting,’ he said. ‘They are an important part of our culture.’
Mr. Wright pointed out the incident on You Tube was not related to either Pirates Week or Batabano.