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This place jokey, yes!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Satire can be defined as “the use of humour, irony, exaggeration or ridicule to expose and criticise people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues”.

Returning to T&T one was surprised to find no evidence of satire on the boob tube or the written press.

Satire was everywhere in Venezuela and the USA, not here. It took me lots of walking around Port-of-Spain to understand why.

The entire country is one big satire. If you wanted a cynical laugh all you had to do was walk out of the hospital and down Charlotte Street.

One laughed from the hospital gates to Independence Square and it was not because of the “mad” people coming down from St Ann’s busily muttering to themselves.

The jokes and exaggeration were so intense that one felt that there were more “mad” people outside St Ann’s than inside, a feeling that has grown over the years.

How else can one explain the incompetence of the Tobago ferry commess, led by a politician from Tobago who, one would think, would be especially interested in regularising that bridge rather than building a road to Toco. That “Highway to Toco” is right up there with the “tunnel through the Northern Range” to Maracas idea. Or the three-day Presidential pappyshow, complete with meaningless ceremony and traffic jam. The death of any President is meaningless to citizens.

What about the long running CLICO saga? A classic case of “privatising profits and socialising losses”. Invest riskily, run with the profits for a couple years and when the company goes under, insist that taxpayers have a duty to pay you back.

Occasionally, the newspapers come good as on Thursday January 4 when the Guardian made for a hilarious read. The front page headline was “No Food for Jury!” Inside the court room the advice from the judge was, “Walk with your lunch.”

Caterers were no longer accepting Government vouchers for lunch because “you know how long the government takes to pay.” Enterprising doubles vendors leaped at the opportunity.

Page six greeted us with the stale news that there was “Chaos in Tobago as Ferry Service Down”. The 8.30 am sailing cancelled because of “electrical“ problems with the steering. People had started boarding from 3 am. Well…too bad, life is a bitch.

“Government gets report on Petrotrin’s future”. Decision not made on what form the restructuring will take but the PM was expected to give details at his next TV address. Well…too bad, we waiting!

On page 7 the TTPS was claiming success in its fight against road fatalities. Fourteen per cent reduction and so on. “Strict enforcement” and “speed guns” contributed to the decrease. Whaaaa?

(As the big mouth amazingly back on radio in the afternoon was won’t to say). The only place I have ever seen a traffic police patrol is in front of the gasoline station on the Beetham.

Another hospital being built. This time in Port-of-Spain where the Central Block is expected to fall down any minute. Does one get hospitalised there at one’s own risk? Does one need insurance? Are nurses and doctors getting hazard pay?

What about demolition duty pay? I am available for consultation, Mr Duke.

Finally there was the news that a “Former PNM minister” had passed on. As my friend the orthodontist likes to ask, “where to?” Interestingly she “passed away” in Costa Rica. Costa Rica? I thought Panama was the place all good Trinis go after making their name in TT politics? At least we were spared the honorary funeral.

Exhausting business, this reading of the newspapers. Fortunately it ended with an excellent column by Mariano Browne, the only rational voice in the PNM now that Penny and Amery have been sent into exile, on the incompetence of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs whose foreign policy seems to be summed up in the phrase, “when yuh doh know what to do, abstain.” Joke! Joke!


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