Dominica Broadcasting Corporation (DBS radio) decision to ban Sye’s “Doctor Finger” last week brought into sharp focus the issue of censorship in Dominica, and how calypso fans here in Dominica detest any level of interference by the State in the art-form, justifiable or not.
On the Sun’s front page article last week, station’s programme director, Shermaine Green-Brown stated that will not be the last time that the state-owned station will deem a song inappropriate for broadcast.
Of course, some persons criticised DBS’s decision, and conveniently ignore the fact that the station has a responsibility to protect itself against being sued for libel and that its management would be extremely irresponsible to act contrary to professional legal advice.
The State-owned radio station was also considering banning of two politically charged songs, which accuse the ruling party of corruption: Yakima’s “Looking for your pocket’ and Prosper’s “Ma Dominique’s garbage bin”. But after a bitterly contested general election, Dominicans are just slowly recovering and cannot be blamed for coming to the conclusion that politicians had a hand in the decision to quarantine these songs.
Nevertheless, Dominican authorities must pay close attention to other lyrics which glorify guns, drugs, violence or deviant behaviour. Calypso, as a art form have tremendous influence on the behaviour of youth, in particular, and governments have a responsibility to ensure that the values of society are respected and maintained.
And If such is the case, shouldn’t the government demand that Jamaican artists who are invited to our country to perform at various concerts have to be forced to respect our anti-narcotics laws. As far as we are aware, ganja is still an illegal drag; recently a Jamaican artist who performed at the Harlem Plaza strutted onto stage with a large ganja plant. Or does the law only pertain too certain individuals?
Dominican Artists, please take note.