The men’s advocacy group has taken a Cabinet Minister to task for referring to fellow men as sperm donors as he spoke on the floor of the House of Assembly last Tuesday.
In his speech during debate on legislation to abolish the mandatory death sentence, Minister in the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Charles Griffith said too many Barbadian youngsters were ending up in the law courts charged with murder and other criminal offences, because their fathers “donate sperm” but refuse to “man up” afterward.
But the comment has infuriated the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA) which described it as a loose and loaded statement which cries out for scientific evidence.
“If someone had approached the Honourable Minister Griffith and had said to him, ‘politicians tell lies, are thieves and cannot be trusted’, he most likely would take issue with the statement, knowing that he as a politician would be blanketed and categorized as being such,” MESA Chairman Grantley Osbourne said, adding that to refer to men as sperm donors was to blanket all men.
To use the term sperm donor was synonymous with “village ram” which in times past was associated with some men in the community, Osbourne said.
“Today, that village life culture scarcely exists and so to employ the term today with men in general is misleading. One must also take into consideration that women in times past, were mainly housewives and since there were few avenues for entertainment, they allegedly found entertainment in the bed. Women today are hard at work to assist in being breadwinners for which they must be commended,” he said.
Being more educated and knowledgeable, women today tend to plan their families in a more responsible and objective manner, Osbourne added.
If men as sperm donors were so widespread in Barbados, the country ought not to be in a financial crisis because sperm donors were usually well paid and therefore would have boosted the economy, the MESA chairman argued.
He reminded Minister Griffith that Barbados is a matrifocal society, having inherited a slave culture where the presence of a father was a concern.
“However, our mothers in the past most admirably raised male children who have made significant contributions to the society. One must therefore ask the question if some mothers of today have a different perspective and are lacking in certain values, which have contributed to the undesirable behavioural attitude of our youth,” he stated.
And he told the Cabinet member that years ago, young males were sent to Dodds Prison as a means of correction when they became unmanageable.
“Thus, to make reference to young males presently at the prison at Dodds, is to falsely suggest that the problems centres around our young males only developed recently. I must confess that this is an undesirable and regrettable situation to which various factors could be attributed. Added to this, it was unjust to apportion blame to fathers for the number of males who have been accused of murder, overlooking the role mothers had to play.”
The MESA head said that since the odds seemed to be against the men, he is imploring and beseeching them to give lie to the negative perception pervading the society by accepting their duties and responsibilities.