Blacktip Island’s drinkers have banded together to form a chapter of Drunks Against Mad Mothers in response to a grassroots campaign to curb drinking on the island. (photo courtesy of Dermott Bottoms)
The international alcohol-rights group Drunks Against Mad Mothers (DAMM) announced Thursday it had established its newest chapter on Blacktip Island to protect the drinking habits of the Caribbean island’s residents.
“Lots of folks criticizing, trying to close bars early and stop liquor sales,” said DAMM chapter president Dermott Bottoms. “But we got a right to drink as much as we want, so long as no one gets hurt too badly.
“This’s a drinking island, you know,” Bottoms said. “You don’t hold with drinking, go somewhere else. We were gonna strike, then ‘Tonio found out about DAMM.”
Other DAMM members agreed.
“We’re not the bad guys. And we were here first,” DAMM vice president James Conlee said. “This’s us protecting ourselves against the tyranny of the masses. And the Baptists. International drunks got our backs now. We’re an organization.”
The chapter was founded after a campaign to curb the island’s often-excessive drinking culture.
“People on Blacktip get hammered,” divemaster Alison Diesel said. “It’s pretty much the Island sport, and mostly it gets a pass. But there was a string of single-vehicle accidents in front of resorts, tourists freaked out and it got ugly on TripAdvisor.
“It would’ve blown over, but then Dermott and Antonio both dropped trou at the Prime Minister’s welcoming cocktail soiree,” Diesel said. “Next thing you know, there’s a push to get everyone on the wagon.”
Island leaders say they sought a compromise with local drinkers.
“We weren’t proposing an all-out alcohol ban,” said the Reverend Pierre Grunt, Blacktip Island Temperance Society president. “The aim was to rachet consumption back to reasonable, non-embarrassing levels and enforce public drunkenness laws. We were making progress, too, before they came up with this DAMM nonsense.
“Case in point, this past Sunday morning Dermott and James both came to church,” Grunt said. “That was huge. Of course, I wish they’d been sober. And that Dermot hadn’t fallen asleep. And snored. I won’t discuss James’ flatulence.”
Island law enforcement, meanwhile, has stayed above the fray.
“I can’t arrest every public drunk,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Fridays and Saturdays, I’d have to arrest most of the island. And I only have the one cell.
“Drunk drivers will still be arrested,” Marquette said. “But there’s only one of me, and lots of them. My advice, as ever, is not to drive if you’ve consumed alcohol. But when you do, please avoid trees, pedestrians and the booby pond.”
DAMM members say they hope to change the public perception of them as irresponsible alcoholics.
“It’s not right, folks calling us alcoholics,” Bottoms said. “We’re not alcoholics. Alcoholics go to meetings. We’re drunks. We go to parties.”