Nightclubbing, late-night shows and schoolchildren…
A worrying union of impressionable youth and the dancehall phenomenon

Kaieteur News
April 29, 2007

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The growing phenomenon of school-aged children in clubs and at dancehall sessions has become a most disgusting part of Guyana 's society.

This is the opinion of a local minister of religion who expressed his repulsion that students from as young as six can be seen gyrating nefariously – many times with the urging of adults - to vulgar and lewd lyrics blaring from loud stereo systems.

He said the entertainment world has sought to entice the whimsical urges of youths by introducing to them an atmosphere of nightclubbing and late-night shows.

Since clubs were established in Guyana there has been little, if any enforcement on the legal age limit of entrants to such forms of entertainment.

Minister of Education Shaik Baksh said recently that this lewd arrangement in the dancehall sector often involves children performing on dance floors and even stripping for cash.

He commented that societal deterioration is now passing for cultural development and this has been noted even in national events.

The vulgar scenes at Mashramani and other celebratory festivals where children are applauded for their raunchy moves are considered training grounds for what seems to be a disturbing peripheral culture.

One observer noted that Guyana has also been adopting Jamaican dance styles which are often sexually explicit and devoid of ethical standards. The ‘passa-passa' craze which swept Guyana had raised many concerned eyebrows.

The form of attire associated with this trend involves mixing a sober, professional look with a ragged, casual appearance, inclusive of blends of contrasting colours in both dress and hair fashion.

This contagious phenomenon originated in Jamaica where skimpily dressed women would compete in a combination of dances on street corners.

It was adopted here about two years ago and became a constant feature even at busy intersections.

The debate over youths and dancehall further escalated after a 17-year-old girl died while participating in one of the dances called the “Dutty-Wine”.

The “Dutty-Wine” involves rotating the head and buttocks simultaneously and according to one doctor can lead to severe muscle spasms.

The minister of religion said that even though there is no legislation regarding the admission of children to nightclubs, promoters should verify age with identification cards.

He noted that many parents lack the vision in realizing that this new culture has contributed significantly to society's moral decline and ethical delinquency.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security Priya Manickchand said that the ministry is of the view that schoolchildren have no place in nightclubs.

Commenting on preventative methods, the Minister stressed that parents need to be responsible in knowing where their children are.

She added that they should also be integrally involved in choosing recreational activities for them.

“We could find other very healthy places for our children to socialize,” Minister Manickchand said.

The issue of school children in nightclubs became a highlight just after an ‘Akon” performance in Trinidad , one week ago.

During a concert at “Club Zen”, R/B hip hop singer ‘Akon' was accused of “dry-humping” 14-year-old Deena Alleyne.

The act which imitated sexual intercourse has since opened a national debate about who should bear blame for the incident.

It sparked widespread controversy since Alleyne was not only under-age, but the daughter of a Pastor, Dave Alleyne.

Trinidad Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds on Monday last called for legal action against Akon.

“Akon means ‘convict' and I feel he should be a convict in Trinidad …having possibly committed a criminal offence of lewd dancing in public,” Minister Hinds said.

He described Alleyne as “young, wild and stupid” but berated those present for not coming to her aid.

“Not withstanding her stupidity she deserved the protection of adults and I saw adults in that function cheering on that convict,” he said.

The Club owner Johnny Soong also came under fire from the minister who said that he should have ensured the legal age limit was enforced.

However, Soong said that the club has an age limit of 18 and over.

Patrons have to be 18 to purchase tickets when we sell for our events and we are very vigilant in terms of making sure that people of age come into Zen,” Soong said.

He suggested that someone may have purchased the ticket for Alleyne since the tickets were available before the event.

Soong stated that it was impractical to check for ID cards since it was highly unlikely that people would walk around with the document.

Kaieteur News understands that club owners in Guyana may soon come under close, rigid scrutiny to prevent any such incident.