Saturday 15 August, 2020

'Weh di #@$$!': Senator bats for Jamaican bad words

Dr Andre Haughton

Dr Andre Haughton

Opposition Senator, Dr Andre Haughton, has indicated that he will be pushing for a review of the Town and Communities Act under which persons accused of using Jamaican “bad words” (profanities) are prosecuted.

Following the review, Haughton said he will likely move a motion in the Senate to give permission for bad words to be used during certain events, including in a dancehall setting.

Haughton, who is the caretaker/candidate for the People’s National Party in the West Central St James constituency, lamented in a Facebook post that Jamaicans were being prosecuted for using so-called bad words when other countries were profiting from the same words.

He cited in his post, Belgium, which has, for a number of years been staging a music festival which is given the name of one of the most popular profanities used by Jamaicans. The 2019 edition of the show will feature some of Jamaica’s top dancehall artistes.

“Foreigners are selling “bad word” beer and hosting festivals, benefitting from our culture while we continue to vilify these harmless words; we originated these words,” Haughton posted.

He argued that the words have no real meaning; rather they are “just accused of being bad words”.

The university lecturer said the words were actually comical to the rest of the world as a majority of non-Jamaicans are unable to comprehend them.

“We should own and embrace them and collect from the patents each time they are uttered by non-Jamaicans,” Haughton stated.

“Let’s free up dancehall,” he added.

Last month, dancehall night at the world famous Reggae Sumfest ended prematurely when the police pulled the plug on the event at the jam packed Catherine Hall venue in part because several performers had used indecent language while they were on stage. Patrons were left livid at the decision of the security forces.

Meanwhile, Haughton expressed concern that over the weekend, the police warned Japan-based sound clash group, Mighty Crown, to desist from using Jamaican bad words as they competed at the Fully Loaded stage show.

Speaking on radio on Wednesday he said “I think they should be allowed to use them in the dancehall if they want to. I don’t think that children are there or Christian people are there…”

He argued that a sound clash amounted to a “war” between the competing sound operators and as such some leeway should be given.

Haughton also argued that entertainers should be facilitated in the same way actors are allowed the use of guns in a movie but where the possession of the said weapon is otherwise illegal.

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