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Friday, June 22, 2007

Baje accused of size discrimination

The following article appeared on;

Jun 21, 2007
A complaint about discrimination and the unavailability of large-sized costumes for “thick revellers” in the popular Baje International Kadooment band, Lost Tribe has been circulating in Barbados.

According to a report in the Daily Nation a few full-sized women who wanted to jump with the band, said Baje only made five "special orders" for each of its eight sections. "Comprehensively, that means that for the eight sections each will only have five 'big' people. What statistical survey was carried out to come up with a cut-off number of five?" one would-be reveller asked in an email signed "Discriminated". Adding that Crop-Over was "apparently not" for everyone, one person also asked whether Baje's agenda and strategies for this year were effectively communicated to the public.

However, bandleader Richard Haynes said that there was no new agenda and that the special orders – which included items like thongs, whole-piece bathing suits, hot shorts and tops in double and triple XL sizes – were ordered based on amounts bought by revellers in the last three years.

"But Murphy's Law caused us to have more double and triple XL customers than anticipated. We also brought in more double XL tops. So by no means have we discriminated against anybody. Absolutely not.”

According to Haynes, those complaining probably sought their costumes too late, since more than half of the 1 600 costumes were sold on June 9th, the day after the launch.

Noting the trend of an early rush for costumes in recent years, he said the band had sent out correspondence to its customers in anticipation of this year's rush.

Stating that up to Tuesday, only 40 female costumes remained – all medium-sized – Haynes said a further 42 had been offered for sale within the last week. This came about because its Trinidadian section catering to 200 saw 158 being ordered in Trinidad on June 9th.

"When we realised how quickly they were going in Trinidad, we decided to stop sales there and keep the remaining 42 for the Barbados market," he explained, noting these would have included full-sized costumes.

Haynes also expressed regret about not being able to cater to larger numbers, but added that after last year's experiment with 2 000 revellers, Baje was forced to revert to the 1 600 limit.

Similar complaints were levelled against local band Tribe in 2006.

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What about the good old days when costumes were made when a masquerader registered and to their specific measurements? Seems like Baje has adopted the practice of pre-ordering costumes in only specific sizes. To me it is quite an ingenious way of catering only to the type of masquerader one wants in their band. Of course the same thing happened in Trinidad for Carnival this year, that is the "larger" ladies were also told that certain sections in a certain band were sold out and were "placed" in other sections where their size was available; after the Nylon Pool and Tales of Benguela whipping of TRIBE I thought other bands would have been taken to task for "size discrimination" as well, but the media was not as savvy this year. The media attention and outcry by our Bajan sisters is very admirable and I say if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck please Baje, don't try and tell me it isn't a duck!

So Fresh!

July 4th, breakfast fete at The Island, Brooklyn N.Y. ...check flyer for details.

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