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Stabroek News

It's crab time again!
published: Sunday | June 8, 2008

Chester Francis-Jackson, Contributor

(From left) Negril's Angella Ferguson, Sandra Martin and Carolyn Wright are having a whale of a time. - Photo by Janet Silvera

On Saturday, May 31, it was all about Savanna-la-Mar and the Paradise Park seaside estate of Busha Clarke, for his annual fund-raising charity fest, dubbed crab-fest by the enthusiasts who flock to the celebrated event that has evolved as the prime social event in the community. It is an activity that is predominantly concentrated on catering to the needs of visitors to this beautiful island. And luvs, what an outing it proved!

My dears, it proved all that, and then some, as guests not only journeyed from all over Jamaica to attend, some jetted in from the United States of America to join in the celebrations. And when the music had stopped, the logs from the fire had given off their last flame, the starlight night was making way for the rays of the sun, there was not a soul who had not experienced a rollicking good time.Now, Eric 'Busha' Clarke is the man about town in the parish of Westmoreland.

Strong beliefs

Hoping to start the real party (from left) Kerry-Ann Johnson, Melissa Barnett and Sarah Ottey dance up a storm.

Known and beloved for his ease of manner, Busha, to his friends and admirers, is also known for his love of life and for the gusto with which he celebrates it. He is also a firm believer that we are all our brother's keepers, and in this respect should offer up some of our time, energy and resources to seeing to the betterment of those of our less fortunate brothers.

For years, a family indulgence of harvesting crabs then preparing them for a feast to be shared with friends in a 'crab feed' was transformed into a charitable cause, and used as a primary fund-raising tool for Rotarian charities of Savanna-la-Mar and neighbouring communities.

Harvesting crabs

Last year he was the life of the party, this year Andrew Burke was as cool as a cucumber with Coleen Panton at Busha's Crab Party on Saturday, May 31.

Eating to their hearts' content, a satisfied Michael Fisher (left) and Michael Baugh were hearty eaters at Busha's Crab Party.

'Crab feeds' have always been popular activity in Jamaica. And here in the capital, there are many roadside vendors to be found peddling crabs during crab season. And then there is the age-old tradition of families journeying over to marsh lands in the Port Henderson neighbourhood of St Catherine or Port Royal to 'ketch crabs' for their own private consumption.

The Clarke family tradition, however, takes this a step further, in that the crabs are not scraped up willy-nilly but are harvested months before they are to be consumed, kept in specially prepared and secured cages, and given a diet of lettuce and other fruits and vegetables designed to cleanse their systems before they are prepared for the feed.

It is this signature act which has set Busha Clarke's crab-feed apart from your ordinary crab feed. That, too, plus the fact that guests are given the opportunity to actually enjoy themselves in a secure environment, knowing that their contribution for doing so is a donation to worthwhile charities.

Fabulous company

"Tell you what Dad, if you put us down, we will just go say hi to the crabs," is what seems to be on the minds of adorable twins William and Alexander, as they proved to be more than a handful for Eric 'Busha' Clarke at his annual crab party.

Dissecting the crab seems to be the intention of Jamaica Social Investment Fund's managing director, Scarlett Gillings, as Andre's Auto Supplies' Andre Hylton assists.

Well, my darlings, with the promise of fabulous company, premium libation and a buffet of crab, hundreds literally turned out, despite what was the suggestion of rain in the skies. It made for a simply marvellous family outing, and nothing but!

Luvs, it was that kind of an outing, a celebration of family, friendship and traditions as guests began arriving at the Paradise Park estate from 5 p.m., and were still doing so way past midnight, none wanting to miss the energy, vibe and, above all, the feast of crab. And dears, when we say 'feast of crab' we do mean feast, as precious angels, this was indeed a feast, and then some!

Dearhearts, we are talking crab curried, jerked, fricassed, broiled, roasted, toasted, Chinese style and, of course, crab run dung. Black crabs, brown crabs, blue crabs, yellow crabs and red crabs! Crabs from the sea, the marshes, and the river; male and female - it was all there for the tasting, as chef Brian HoSue cooked up a feast that was above and beyond compare. And with picnic-styled seating to boot, an Olympic-sized bar, fabulous contempo and retro music, y'all know we are talking a happening party here!

Special guests

Melissa Chang (left) and Dr Gail Ranglin in a jovial mood.

Among those out included: The Hon Oliver Clarke and wife Monica Ladd and their daughter Alex; Dr Richard and Dr Carolyn Gomes; Errol and Ingrid Zaidie; the charming Karen Lanigan; Senator Dennis Meadows; Geoffrey and Judy Zaidie; the fab Deidre Hart Chang and her daughter Zoe; Mrs Mearl Hamaty; Simone Chin and son Zachary; Tom Martin and his fabulous wife Sandra Martin; Patrick Brady and companion Suzette Chin-Loy; Wayne Foster; Jeffery and Sue Ann Panton; Doug and Deborah Gore; Carl Newman and Jan Polack.

We also spotted: Simon and Dawn Brown; the lovely Tabitha Athey; Mr and Mrs Andrew Burke; Khaleel and Nicky Azan; Saleem Mahfood; Andre Hylton and a bevy of beauties; Floyd 'BigMac' McDonald, in from The Bahamas; Ricardo Bowleg; Mark and Gaby Chin; Adrian and Sandrene Weichenberger; Cheryl Matthews; Michelle Marzouca; Brian Sang; Dr Paul Brown; Wayne Sinclair; Dana Baugh; Douglas Arnold; Mr and Mrs Phillip Moore; Barbara Burton; Andre Danpaul; Phillip and Bridgette Gooden.

Also present were: the lovely Sophia Leahong; the fab Leejay Williams; Cherise Kong; Haresh Ramchandani; Rezina Chin; Alicia Sloley; Andre McGann; Neil McKenzie; Anthony and Jean Gooden; and the lovely Tracey-Ann Warburton, in from New York and partying up a storm.

It was a fabulous outing, so some guests have already confirmed their attendance for next year's do!

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