Watching President Obama and that clown in what we must call the presidential debate on Wednesday night, even though Mitt Romney has nothing to debate with, it struck me that Trinidad, the land of the mimic the USA men, a place that didn’t feel complete until it got a McDonald’s to crown its Burger King and copied the wearing of hats and gowns for “high school grad” from Hollywood movies, the only things preventing us from becoming completely American are a Wal-Mart and a presidential debate. Part of our prime ministerial debate problem might be that we don’t have clever enough politicians. Last Wednesday night’s proceedings in Denver prove you don’t need two smart politicians to stage a debate, but, for firetruck’s sake, you’ve got to have at least one; and Trinidad and Tobago is yet to produce an example. The late Dr Eric Williams (whose doctorate was in history, but who used the title like a whip in a plantation) wouldn’t have become the Father of the Mamaguy, sorry, Nation, if he weren’t the Third-Smartest Man in the World, but which of our political leaders since would qualify as intellectual?
George Chambers was famously dunce (even if history shows he was probably our best PM); ANR Robinson wasn’t smart enough to hold the NAR together after winning the greatest landslide victory in our history; Basdeo Panday traded trade unionism for golf with the parasitic oligarchy and got out of jail and went to the World Cup, but that’s more in the nature of a smart-man than a clever one; Patrick Manning, a university-trained geologist, as a Born Again Christian, believed the Earth he knew to be 4.5 billion years old was really created 6,000 years ago by a man in the sky with a long white beard; admittedly, Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Keith Rowley certainly know which side their paratha/bake is buttered on. Still, we want to be just like America, so we must have a debate. We are, remember, a place that only needed one episode of Sesame Street to stop pronouncing the last letter of the alphabet, which is still “zed” in Barbados, as “zee.”
So I’m going to have a prime ministerial debate myself, now, right here on this page. But, since it’s a Trini prime ministerial debate, it will be between, not the current PM and her putative rival, but between the real contenders for power: the three most visible of the UNC heavyweights. For completeness, I’ll throw in the leaders of a couple of what we must call the political parties in what only the UNC still calls the People’s Partnership, to try to pretend it’s not a UNC-dictatorship. So imagine me, the moderator, sitting in Rosary Boys’ RC lunch room, in front of Kamla Persad-Bissessar (UNC), Jack Warner (UNC), Anand Ramlogan (UNC), Prakash Ramadhar (COP), Ashworth Jack (TOP), a man in a dashiki and a rimless African hat (NJAC) and Keith Rowley (PNM). Unlike Jim Lehrer from PBS, I will ask only one question, the only one Trinbagonians need answered truthfully by the robber barons in Parliament.
The United States of Trinidad and Tobago Prime Ministerial Debate
Question 1: Hear nuh: what really happen with section 34?
Kamla: My beautiful people of beautiful Trinidad and Tobago, I fire the fella who give we that body-beats. Too besides, what he was doing taking a whole ministry to a hotel in Tobago? You mean they couldn’ta retreat to Curepe and discuss their discussion over Sauce doubles? No, Mr BC, we did the right thing. No one else would ever fire anybody. I fire Mary King before she coulda sit down in her ministerial chair. I fire my former lecturer from the Ministry of Health and fire her from the next work I give her. My beautiful people, whom I love you so much, I am like a mother to all of you, except in a nicer gym boots, and more pretty, too besides, we are facing extreme challenges. I fire Herbie, I will fire Mary, after one time is two, and everybody in Trinidad know I always ready to fire one. I declare the rest of October a public holiday and fete. Get in your section and get on bad. God bless our nation and turn up the volume, Mr DJ!
Jack: What happened, of course, with section 34, of course, was that a bunch of PNM thugs captured Volney and took him, in a PH car, but a legal one, thanks be to God and to the former Minister of Works, to Tobago by ferry. We did nothing wrong. Is just all the nasty journalists, of course, who trying to destroy this country. Don’t study the murderers, study the reporters. They are the cause of all our grievances. Andrew Jennings’ mother!
Anand: Look at me: you think I could ever do anything dishonest? I am the most honestest person ever take the AG work. Me ent even taking on them Guardian editorial and them, except to sue them. When I was going to school barefoot in a slippers I make myself from a old tyre, I never knew I was going to be AG, but now that I am AG, it is too important an achievement for me to resign, to let down all poor Hindu, and for why, just because one man didn’t could do he own work? I have one clear principle: me ent going. I have to lead by example, you see.
Prakash: In response, Madame Prime Minister, I would put forward only this: my UNC membership application form.
Ashworth: It have any more bene balls?
Man in dashiki: We need $28 million more for the proper observation of Emancipation Day fetes.
Keith: Look, sign this petition fast and drop it by President’s House for me.
BC Pires is waiting for a maxi-taxi conductor debate