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There’s a time and a place for everything

May 31, 2013

Dear Sir,

I hope you will allow me the opportunity to vent.

Last Sunday, the Bermuda Day Holiday Weekend, I was on my way to the East End, when I encountered an atypical traffic jam along Harrington Sound Road. After some frustrating wait navigating those blind corners at a snail pace, I eventually discovered the cause of this traffic jam.

Gombeys. At the junction between Harrington Sound, Trinity Church Road and Wilkinson Avenue, where there is a Church and a small green space across the road, there was a troop of Gombeys. While it’s not unusual to encounter a troop of Gombeys during our festivals, this troop was unusual in being more or less stationary, dancing in place, across both lanes of this key point, and so blocking traffic in both directions.

I love the Gombeys, their tradition, their carnivalesque spectacle, their beat and colourful costume. They are an important part of our heritage, even if they are increasingly disconnected from their origins and more and more a caricature for the benefit of the tourists consumption.

But how do we balance being authentic to our culture, the carnival tradition of the Gombeys, with that of our modern reality? The lack of traffic control, the lack of consideration for the needs of others (say those on the way to the airport, a parent with a sick child, a medical or fire emergency, those running late for loved ones), was this necessary?

As a constantly evolving society, how do we balance being authentic with that of modernity, balancing historical traditions (the rights of Gombeys) with modern realities (the rights of road-users)?

At the very least, can we agree that busy junctions are not ideal dancing grounds, and that there needs to be traffic controls for such situations?



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Published June 04, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 03, 2013 at 5:20 pm)

There’s a time and a place for everything

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