Carnival band give condoms to revellers ... Reverend Al Miller says it is promoting irresponsible sexual behaviour

April 26, 2019
Al Miller
Revellers participate in Road March 2018.
Revellers participate in Road March 2018.
Revellers participate in Road March 2018.

One of the bands participating in carnival this year is distributing condoms to revellers. The band, Xaymaca International, has been handing out the prophylactics to masqueraders who have signed up for the road march. The words “See you in 2020” are written on the condoms. The band, in a social media post, said it was about “safety first”.

And it appears that there is strong support for the move. Marlon Campbell, a reveller and event promoter, said it is a “practical thing” to distribute condoms to the people playing mas.

“Adults have sex, you give them condoms. At the end of the day, it is better you have it and don’t need it than to need it and don’t have it,” he said.

While Campbell as well as social media users are lauding Xaymaca for promoting safe sex by distributing the condoms, the move has been criticised by onlookers like Reverend Al Miller, who describes it as the “promotion of irresponsible sexual behaviour”.

Speaking to The Weekend STAR, the popular clergyman said condom distribution sends a message that the festival is an excuse for fornicating.

“We’ve been given all kinds of reasons for the purpose of carnival but if that is where we are going (distributing condoms), then clearly it is suggesting that carnival carries a strong sensuous nature, which is not in the best interest of the development of our people and the message we are sending to our youth,” he said.

“We cannot, as a society, on one hand be concerned about the low moral standards being experienced and therefore the negative effects upon the social ills that we are experiencing as a society, and then on the other hand we are sowing the seeds that create the very problem that we are concerned about. There has to be a clear understanding of where we want to go as a society and our preparation in getting there, or else we’ll be doing what is sweet to the taste today but bitter in the belly tomorrow,” Miller said.

Reverend Miller also blasted the distributors for not upholding the traditional values of sex and the body as a sacred temple.

“Those who distribute the condoms themselves clearly don’t place value on the persons and the power and sacredness and place of sex,” he said.

“If I just meet a stranger and we go have sex, sex is a sacred act, it is the symbol of a covenant between two people and so it has serious implications for one’s own psychological, emotional and spiritual life. It ought not to be be a case where you just meet somebody and have sex with them, you can’t just give it weh to anybody or anything for a feel good for 10 seconds, no you lick yuh head. We need to teach the value and power of sex so that we pass it down to the next generation.”

But author and sexologist Shelly-Ann Weeks presented a different perspective, declaring her support for Xaymaca’s decision and those likewise as she believes prevention is better than cure.

“Without a doubt I think it is necessary, the fact that there are adults partaking in carnival and some of them might get sexual, this is a way they can prevent the long-term consequence of irresponsible behaviour,” she said.

“On one hand, we know that people are having sexual encounters when most of them are inebriated and some of them might get pregnant and have STDs. On the other hand, we fight abortions and that is something they will probably take a look at after dem sober up and realise dem pregnant with some dude’s baby and dem don’t even remember him name. This is a better way to deal with it than having to worry about dealing with something as serious as an abortion in three months.”

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