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Drinking Advocates Stage Blacktip Island-Wide Drunk Driving Race

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Both Blacktip Island’s roads will be cleared of non-essential traffic Saturday for the inaugural Rat-Faced Road Rally drunk driving race around the Caribbean island’s coastal road. (photo courtesy of Rosie Blenny/DAMM)

The Blacktip Island Chapter of the drinking-advocacy group Drunks Against Mad Mothers will sponsor the inaugural Rat-Faced Road Rally impaired driving contest Saturday to raise money for multiple community organizations.

“People get drunk and drive no matter what, so why not let them get it out of their systems in a controlled manner?” DAMM president Jack Cobia said. “This makes sure it’s properly supervised, it serves as a cautionary demonstration and raises money for charity at the same time.

“We’ll block both roads to non-participants,” Cobia said. “The only people out there’ll be the drivers, and they’ll be swaddled in bubble wrap. We’ll also have beaters to make sure the roads are clear of iguanas and other wildlife. And spectators.”

Organizers say money raised will go to the island’s Salvation Army and Alcoholics Anonymous.

“People pledge a dollar amount for each mile a driver completes without wrecking their car,” DAMM treasurer Rosie Blenny said. “Off-road mileage, intentional or otherwise, won’t count.

“The winner’ll be the one who completes the most laps around the island and stays conscious,” Blenny said. “There’s also degree-of-difficulty points assigned to each driver, based on estimated alcohol tolerance. Dermott doesn’t even feel his first three beers, and a half case for Gage Hoase is like a six pack for anyone else.”

Participants are eager to compete.

“Celebrates a long-standing Blacktip Island tradition’s what it does,” James Conlee said. “Daddy did it. Granddaddy did it. Great-Granddaddy did on horseback. Now I’m gonna win it.

“I been practicing drinking and driving for weeks now, polishing my skills,” Conlee said. “A little proficiency driving never hurt anyone, you know. Tore up a fender or two, and maybe a tree, but never hurt anyone.”

Island officials say the event will also serve as a public safety demonstration.

“Folks see one of these yahoos slam into a tree, they’ll think twice about drink-driving,” Department of Public Works chief Stoney MacAdam said. “And the money raised will more than offset any damage they do.

“There’ll also be DPW-administered betting grids for how much alcohol each driver consumes versus how much distance they cover,” MacAdam said. “Proceeds from that are earmarked for driving safety courses and reflective road signage.”

Some, however, worry the event sends the wrong message.

“Making light of drunk driving doesn’t help, no matter what lessons are taught or what sort of funds are raised,” island nurse Marissa Bass said. “It encourages it, really. I have a couple of Cessna owners on standby to airlift idiots off island when they drive into ditches or each other.

“I also have $25 on Dermott, but that’s just common sense,” Bass said. “I’m safety conscious, not stupid.”

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Drunks Against Mad Mothers Launches Blacktip Island Chapter

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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.”

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