NewsFeed has long been a fan of West Indian chutney. However, we have noticed that every time we listen to the latest hits we have a strange urge to drink. (And to dance, but that’s another story.)
However, Guyana’s health minister has admitted that there’s something in the popular chutney music that does bother him. Minister Lesley Ramsammy says that the glorification of alcohol in top hits like “Rum ‘Til I Die” and “Ah Drinka” is not helping the government’s anti-alcoholism efforts. Guyana drinks roughly a gallon and half of alcohol a year per capita, and officials in the country are blaming rampant alcoholism for economic woes, illness and domestic violence. (One in five women in Guyana has been a victim.)
Alcohol consumption is rising steadily among the country’s teenagers. Evan Persaud, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Broadcasting has said that the committee is considering warning Guyanese TV stations against airing chutney music videos that promote drinking. Ramsammy for his part has thrown out the idea of banning rum songs, saying such a ban would infringe on the right to free expression. He did, however, ask artists to consider setting a better example.