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Kamla the new ‘mess-siah’
While reading about party politics in Trinidad and Tobago, I fell asleep. The sleep was so sweet, I was transported to an island south of the Caribbean called Trinbago. It was often referred to as Mickey Mouse country... no lie. The people were happy-go-lucky and as calypso visionary Brother Valentino said: “They don’t care if Good Friday falls on a Monday.” The people called themselves Trini. They loved their pan, mas’, calypso, tassa, chutney and drinking rum. They were happy like a posey, until politicians came. The people of Trinbago were educated, bright; but politically duncy and deceitful. I don’t fault them for that. Then one day a short political figure emerged on the political landscape in the late 1950s. He was Dr Eric Williams. He sensed the mood of the people, and railed against colonialism, replacing it with nationalism. He baffled them with brilliance.
He was like a messiah, and they fell in behind him as if in a Carnival band. He told them: “Massa Day Done!”
Aha! That was the problem, the people were always looking for a mess-siah. They could not make out the difference in both words. How sad. He founded the People’s National Movement (PNM) and rode to political glory in 1956. Independence soon followed in 1962, and Republicanism in 1976. Williams ruled with a constitutional iron fist. Like Frank Sinatra he did things his way. He once said: “If you don’t like it, get to hell out of here!” Just go! Scram! beat it! Get lost! Leave! Allegations of corruption swirled around brother Willie’s head, especially about one of his sidekick, Johnny O’Halloran. Brother Willie appeared impervious, he wished it would blow away. It didn’t. Before, brother Willie had survived the Black Power Revolution of 1970 when a group of misguided soldiers and dashiki-clad idealists rattled his woodwork. They had ideas, but no resources. Williams died.
…Then came Chambers
Then came George Chambers, a simple rootsy man. He was cool like Gookool, but after routing that Organisation for National Reconstruction (ONR) with his clarion call “Not a damn seat for them,” he beat Karl Hudson-Phillip like a bobolee. Karl was black and blue. Licks like lentil peas. But Karl was smart. He knew, apart from Trinis liking a “mess-siah,” they like plenty mamaguy. They ate Karl’s pelau and didn’t vote for him. You think it easy. Chambers came up against a powerhouse in 1986, called “Napo” (Arthur Napoleon Robinson and his National Alliance For Reconstruction (NAR). He was demolished, not only by political blows against corruption, but by a political calypso Chambers Done See. It was a cheap shot from which he never recovered. It underscored the role of the calypso as a weapon of political destruction. Remember chalkdust’s “Ah Fraid Karl”?
Like Karl, Chambers recognised that the people were fickle and politically deceitful. He bowed out.
Then came Patrick Manning, the James Bond wannabee, of many escapades. The less said about Patrick, the better. Patrick is the greatest since sliced hops bread. Then came Basdeo “Bas” Panday—the flipside to Patrick. I like “Bas” too bad, he reminds me of a stuck gramophone record. People say that Bas loves his “tequila” and big shrimps more than cooked food. Let me remind you, I didn’t say so: Is town say so. Then came Kamla (Persad-Bissessar) in 2010. She rained blows on Basdeo Panday in a UNC internal election. Before Bas could “ketch himself,” he was bawling: “Allyuh see the truck that hit meh.” It was domestic violence at its worst. Patrick Manning soon followed with red designer shirt and all. It was licks like peas, you could not tell which red the shirt was. I hear it was blood red. I don’t have court house clothes.
Kamla was the new mess-siah. Political zandolees started to come out their hole. They found refuge in the People’s Partnership (Pee Pee), that is now sailing through the rough waters of corruption. The sad thing about the Pee Pee is that people don’t understand their roles. Everyone is bumping into each other. Everyone is a spokesman. It a free for all. It’s a tragi-comedy. Kamla’s political mistake is that she’s all-inclusive. Now she’s paying for her political infancy, and naivety. However, there’s a similarity between the Titanic and the Pee Pee. You see me, I gone.
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