Sat | Dec 2, 2023

MoBay’s deputy mayor bats against ‘fully dunce’

Published:Saturday | May 13, 2023 | 12:26 AMAshley Anguin/Gleaner Writer
Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay Richard Vernon reads to grade one students from Corinaldi Avenue Primary School for Read Across Jamaica Day on Wednesday.
Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay Richard Vernon reads to grade one students from Corinaldi Avenue Primary School for Read Across Jamaica Day on Wednesday.


MONTEGO BAY’S Deputy Mayor Richard Vernon is urging the students at his alma mater, Corinaldi Avenue Primary School in the western city, to reject the ‘fully dunce’ lyrics being spouted by some dancehall artistes and instead strive to be “fully bright”.

“You need to read and understand what you read,” Vernon, who attended the school between 1997 and 2002, told the students as he participated in Tuesday’s ‘Read Across Jamaica Day’ initiative, which played out at schools across the island.

The 33-year-old Vernon, who first read for the students, in what was quite an engaging session, also took time out to reason with them. It was at that juncture that the lyrics of dancehall artiste Valliant’s controversial song, Dunce Cheque, came up.

“Valiant can read, don’t be fooled and think about the back of the class, dunce and don’t have no subject, nuh bada with that. Don’t listen to that and think you don’t need to read to become successful,” said Vernon, in urging the students not to follow the words of the popular song.

In agreeing with the sentiments expressed by Vernon, one student responded by saying, “Sir, if Valiant couldn’t read, he couldn’t write the song.”

Vernon, who is seemingly enjoying his youth, as he is regularly seen playing recreational football with other young people at Jarrett Park, told The Gleaner that not everyone can process and compartmentalise lyrical content, hence his words of warning to the students at his old school.

“Listening to lyrics for entertainment is understandable. However, trying to bring certain content to life is detrimental to our development as a small state. Thus, content producers need to be more responsible,” said Vernon.

Before he ended his session with the students, Vernon got them to commit to striving to become bright by collectively saying, ‘I want my education because that is how I will become successful.”

Recently, medical doctor Garth McDonald, also a dancehall artiste, who performed under the moniker Shaka Pow, launched a ‘fully bright’ school tour designed to push back on the ‘fully dunce’ concept. The initiative seeks to inform, educate and entertain students, focusing on the importance of education.

Deon Anglin, principal at Corinaldi Avenue Primary, said her school felt special being a part of the Read Across Jamaica Day, especially having the deputy mayor reading for the students.

“I felt encouraged and happy to see the deputy mayor who is a past student, coming back to show our students that Corinaldi students are big, large, and in charge all over the place as the champions we are,” said Anglin. “Normally we would have to go out and seek people to come to the school, so we feel special that The Gleaner and other companies choose our school.”