As the Guyanese government and the country’s opposition feud over state funds used to finance a recent concert on the island, the leader of the opposition party, Aubrey Norton, has reportedly described dancehall artistes Spice and Skillibeng, who performed at the event, as the worst of dancehall.
According to reports from DancehallMag, Norton’s statements were made following the recently concluded Guyana Cricket Carnival, where Spice and Skillibeng were among a roster of entertainers such as Beres Hammond, Machel Montano, and Patrice Roberts that performed at government-sponsored concerts. Skillibeng performed his international hits Whap Whap, Crocodile Teeth as well as one of his earlier singles, Brik Pan Brik. Spice, joined by her dancers, performed, as per usual, an energetic set during which she performed her joint track with Vybz Kartel, Ramping Shop, and her newest hit, Tape Measure, and called on male guests on stage.
Addressing the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM) on Saturday, Norton reportedly told the audience that the ruling government was feeding the youth a diet of lawlessness and would eventually destroy their moral fabric.
“They are creating conditions for the men to be abusive to women. Because a lot of it (the music) is derogatory about women. When that is done, they are removing your critical thinking capabilities,” Norton stated.
Reports state that Norton has accused the Irfaan Ali-led administration of corruption, enriching their friends through the sponsored concerts.
Norton went on to double down on his previous statements at his weekly press conference on Wednesday, stating that his party will not stop their opposition to entertainment and entertainers who they believe “promote disrespect of women, lawlessness, and violence.” The politician later suggested that veteran artistes Buju Banton and Beenie Man would have been a better choice.
“We have heard good music from Buju Banton. We have heard good music from Bob Marley. Beenie Man has some good music and so it’s not a question of music per se. If we are selective in the artists, then we will promote a culture that instils certain values in young people. But if you bring the worst of the Dancehall music, if you bring those that are degrading and not focused on developing young people with dignity, then we have to oppose it,” Norton said.
The Guyanese Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy, has since spoken out against Norton, describing his comments as hypocritical as the opposition leader allegedly used similar music in his 2020 presidential election campaign.
“Even while Norton himself is hypocritically condemning entertainment, he could be seen being entertained regularly, gyrating to the same kinds of music, at his favourite ‘bam-bam spot’ on Orange Walk,” McCoy stated.
Earlier this year, it was announced that dancehall artiste Skeng was banned from performing publicly in Guyana after a show headlined by the entertainer abruptly ended following a series of celebratory gunshots during his performance of his single Protocol.
Watch Spice and Skillibeng’s performances below.