Let’s toast to that!
I’ve been living full time in the Caribbean some years now [my place of birth actually]…though I obviously travel outside of the region as often as possible.
Cultural and regional differences are very noteworthy as one who travels would have noticed.
Moreover, the Caribbean is an ultra-conservative region [by far the most in the western hemisphere] as I spoke about in the past.
What actually drives this ultra conservatism in the Caribbean region?
The Religious Right (Christians) virtually lobbies and regulates the laws of the land.
Christiandom is being shoved down the populace’s throat at an all-time high as of late!
If you thought Sharia Law was something to talk about; you really have no fucking clue!
In these parts: whatever the Christian clergy says- GO!
If they want to institute a ban on a certain types of music; it will happen!
Case in point just to show how much power the clergy (Anglican) wields: few months ago here on the island of Antigua, the government was (almost) forced to revise a law which would outlawed the same of alcohol in nightclubs and bars after 1 AM.
In other words, these Christian groups wanted to institute a ban on sale of alcohol after 1 AM in nightclubs.
Why…and why after 1 AM?
I don’t fucking know! Neither do I see the rational!
The government was 1 step away from re-instituting this archaic ban until the populace (including tavern and bar owners) started to cry foul.
Now, don’t get me wrong!
The laws in the Caribbean are by far more lax and lenient than those of the United States, Canada and Western Europe!
This is where the GRAND contradiction comes in!
For instance, drinking in public is totally lawful and has always been that way (no need for concealment of alcohol beverages neither)!
Sale of alcohol near schools (by mobile vendors) is also permissible.
However, there are some crazy fucking alcohol restrictions [in my book], such as: no sale of alcohol on ‘Easters’, ‘Good Fridays’ and ‘Christmas’! 😯
No establishment is permitted to sell alcohol on those days!
Sharia Law anyone? 🙂
Hence, there exist stringently ridiculous laws, and some that would make an American want to book a flight in a heartbeat! 😉 😉
In my ignorance, I was only aware of this law some months ago [on a Good Friday], when I tried to purchase 2 Heineken from a bar and grill joint and I was told by the owner that they cannot sell me beers on Good Friday.
Tried bribing him under the table away from other patrons, but he just wouldn’t bite…DAMMIT!
He made a convincing case nevertheless, that he doesn’t want to get his establishment shut down on the account of 2 beers.
Fair enough! 😦
Ok, as for DUI infractions and tickets; pretty much unheard of in this region!
You would think that with the clergy lobbying for many laws to be put into effect, that such things [DUI’s] would’ve been pushed.
Not only does law enforcement NOT utilize breathalyzer and sobriety tests, but you generally aren’t harassed and questioned about open containers of booze laying on the dashboard if happened to be pulled over!
Pretty much everyone “drink and be merry” everywhere without the fear of being harassed by law enforcement.
I’ve yet to witness or hear about someone being pulled over for public intoxication [even the pissy-drunk loud guy staggering in the road]…because there isn’t such a law.
Drinking in public is so widely common and accepted here (and in the wider Caribbean), that there are even weekly-beer fiestas and road-side events in commemoration of booze, sponsored by local and international beer companies! 😯 😯
There are even big-rig trucks which drive around the city and towns of Antigua, handing out free beers as promotion for their company.
However, there have been calls to limit how much alcohol these beer fetes [public-beer festivals] should be allowed to give out and sell here in Antigua.
Shockingly enough also, is that the legal age of alcohol consumption is 16!! 😯
Holy shit! This is paradise in the Caribbean!
Well, this was news to me, but commonly known to everyone else.
I will also write a future post about the legal age of sexual consent being 15 to 16 in much of the Caribbean (99% of the islands).
However, with the legal-drinking age being 16, some in Antigua and Barbuda [where Kenny resides and was born], feel that kids under the legal age (16) have been skirting the law and consuming booze.
As you can see in the above photo from a public-beer festival, kids are visibly seen and aren’t exactly prohibited from being around alcohol in public.
Just that vendors are prohibited from selling alcohol to those under 16…as would’ve expected.
Ironically, in an ultra-Christian-centered society as the Caribbean, where the Bible along with the clergy rules, you would think that a booze culture would be unimaginable.
However, this plays into the contradiction of it all…I guess.
As long as the clergy gets its way via concessions and tax exemptions and so forth; anything practically goes…which I have no qualms with…though I’m opposed to the church in general.
Personally, I’m no booze-guy (contrary to popular belief).
I can barely down 1 can of beer before my eyeballs start to do somersaults uncontrollably.
What I do love about the Caribbean region though, is the limited hypocrisy placed around the laws.
Some idiot who chooses to drink while drunk and careens into other motorists resulting in fatalities, shouldn’t spell a total legal clampdown and restriction upon the citizens who are responsible drinkers.
Just because 1 dude cannot control his liquor, the rest of us shouldn’t be punished.
This is where U.S. lawmakers and policy-makers, seem to drop the balls and are oblivious to this gross mismanagement of policies towards their citizenry.
My fun shouldn’t be spoiled in the name of ‘civil obedience’ in trying to keep society in check.
My freedoms shouldn’t be stripped away on the account of law-offenders and a few miscreants.
Also, another piece of fact that seems to puzzle people.
In the Caribbean, fatalities by drunk driving, per capita, has never been high in comparison to other regions…per capita.
This leads me to conclude that just because booze and drugs are widely available, doesn’t particularly mean that they’ll be abused and (mis)used to the point of fatality.
The freedom of alcohol consumption in Antigua and Barbuda (and the wider Caribbean), has never incited, neither encouraged me, to binge-drinking.
Laws and legislation do not encourage people in 1 direction or another…nor do they encourage or discourage infraction of the law.
Hence, a non-smoker will remain a non-smoker, even if drugs were to be decriminalized globally tomorrow.
He or she won’t contemplate lighting up just because it’s legal now.
Therefore, a ban on alcohol consumption in public (as it is in the United States), is pretty much bullshit, and doesn’t serve to bring order to society as the pundits may believe.
In the meantime, the boozing continues as a new fete [huge party] has been added to the slew of already existing public-booze bonanzas throughout the island of Antigua.
There are LOL (Lots Of Liquor), the Beer Fest and others!