A member of the Barbados parliament is accusing some locals of “romanticizing” the ongoing Buju Banton Long Walk to Freedom tour.
During a parliament debate in Barbados on drug abuse, Dr. Sonia Browne suggested that young people needed a change in perception of who are heroes and heroines.
She chose the legend of Reggae, Bob Marley and the living icon, Buju Banton to bring her point across.
“I don’t think we quite understand the seriousness of drug use and abuse. Let me clear it by saying I am a fan of Buju Banton; I admire his music,” Browne said.
“But when we got a society that more or less romanticises a gentleman coming out of prison after spending a decade of incarceration on drug charges; when on his long walk to freedom – I’m not too sure from where – but when we can romanticise that, and greet somebody like this at the airport and give them one of the biggest concerts” she continued.
“Let me say again I love his music, but we need to change the perspective of our young people with respect to our heroes and heroines,” said Browne, who is also Chairman of Committees in the House.
The highly-publicised and anticipated tour, which started in Kingston, Jamaica in March, came to Barbados on April 27, and is continuing with Buju performing in a number of other countries over coming months before climaxing with a cruise in April 2020.
Browne did not stop at Buju Banton but went on to say that Bob Marley should not be held in high regards because of his marijuana use. She says that while marijuana might have affected Bob Marley positively, it has a negative effect on most of who look up to the king of reggae and smoke weed.
“We’ve got to change the focus. Yes, there are the Bob Marleys of the world, and I love him too, but from the perspective of the young people, they use him as a prime example that marijuana does nothing. Not everybody can benefit from the clarity I assume he exhibited from marijuana use. Not many people can belt out the lyrics he did. In fact, the majority can’t,” she said.
“But we need to change the focus and move to different role models. We have a man like Mr Banton, that stepped out of prison and now I am sure he is a virtual millionaire. We need to change the focus of who we look up to for our young people,” insisted Browne.
The trained family physician insisted there needed to be more public education on marijuana and she acknowleded that anyone could go online and learn how to make various drugs which they then abuse.
“I agree substance abuse goes way beyond the usual cigarette smoking and alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. We see substance abuse everyday with respect to over-the-counter drugs,” she said.
“Now you can learn anything on the Internet, if you want to make drugs go [online],” she added.