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Recollections of Vicky

...a product of the landscape
Published: 
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Vicky Boodram, fourth from left. Photo taken at a National Science Fair held in 1986. Vicky was one of the representatives of the Infant Class. At back, from left, teachers Patricia Bissessar and Marilyn Harripersad.

I ponder the rocky road that Vicky has travelled in her lifetime and while many have deemed her as one of the most notorious fraudsters and have delivered judgement even before her court trials have begun, because of my acquaintance with her I reserve my judgement. Vicky came as an only child into the common-law relationship of Ramjass Boodram and Indra Lall about 35 years ago. Her father and mother doted on her night and day. Ramjass was a primary school teacher in the Presbyterian school (we taught at the same school) and also played the tabla in the BWIA Indian Orchestra. He was a fanatic for East Indian music and culture and quickly associated himself with the top politicians of the day including the Mohammed family. He dreamed of Vicky becoming an East Indian megastar. As early as age five, he had her performing, miming, and singing on stage. However it was tainted with a demanding schedule that was playing havoc with the petite, frail child.

Ramjass had once described the abject poverty and 'flour bag' underwear he had to wear to school and the slippers manufactured from motor car tubes, the ridicule and humiliation he suffered from his classmates. It was this fear of poverty that was to haunt him and his family for three decades. He described himself as the original 'El Cheapo'. Vicky's schedule did not permit socialising or childhood pastimes. It was about how much money could be secured for a performance. He created a fantasy and delusion in her mind from birth that 'she was better than all her teachers.' The brief encounters I had with Vicky as a child told me of her devotion to her father but the terrible sadness of her life. She skipped through high school but again the obsession of money, a home mortgage, small salary, Vicky became not a child or daughter but an object of financial exploitation.

An object of financial exploitation

She used to go to Carrera and Maximum Prisons women where she used to dance and sing for inmates. She had a stint as a judge on the children of Mastana and several slots as a radio announcer and TV presenter. However, Vicky's first dangerous sojourn into a world of deception came with a slew of certificates—O' levels, A' levels and university certificates. She was good, in fact, very good... The dollars kept rolling in but these big name companies never denounced her publicly. No disclaimers were ever put in the media and she became more and more adept at deception. Vicky even secured a job as an economic writer in a daily newspaper.

I listened in shock when one day she announced that she was now a professor lecturer at a Gate supported tertiary institute. Vicky even had an immersion into the political area and touted as a possible candidate for a political party. Her TV personality gave her a sense of credibility when she launched a series of advertisements for American cruise lines and allegedly a slew of forged documents. Is this a notorious criminal who fooled major organisations or did Vicky Boodram exist in a manufactured fantasy, a fantasy fuelled not by greed but ambition without structure and foundation? A child trapped by her upbringing to seek shortcuts to her success? Vicky is the cherry on the cake called Trinidad and Tobago. A person who has tested the institutional integrity of almost every sacred cow. She has left behind her many questions about our society.

How many of our dollars are whittled away in forgeries and deceptions, false contracts, fake oil, fake gravel and cement, false invoicing, deals and wheeling. How many thousands employed in high ranking jobs before and now have forged academic qualifications? How much false advertising and frauds in Licensing Office, ID cards and passports are taking place? Vicky needs not tar and feathers but psychological and medical help to escape the surrealist landscape in which she exists as will many in the upcoming months. Does environment shape us or do we shape the environment? Let us be compassionate about the story that is unfolding.

A little girl with a lot of potential—First Year teacher

Patricia Bissessar, Boodram's First Year teacher said "she seemed a well adjusted, very polite, well mannered well disciplined little girl with a lot of potential. She participated in all cultural activities. Her primary education was at Erin Road Presbyterian School. She was in one class higher than Angelo (Bissessarsingh) who attended the same school.

"Her father being a musician with Harry Mahabir Orchestra on the Mastana Bahar show encouraged young Vicky to perform at a very tender age singing calypsoes he wrote."

About Vicky:

•She was just seven years old when she attempted to sing her first calypso on stage at the Erin Road Presbyterian School—“Tassa Tempo”.

•She later became popular on stage and radio

•As a child, she was a judge in the "Children of Mastana” television series

•She also judged the Indian Cultural Pageant in 1995 and ’96

•She went from being calypsonian to professional radio announcer

•At 16, she became the youngest radio announcer, reading the news and also writing for her own radio programme

•Vicky also taught business classes and lectured at private colleges for students who are pursuing an associate degree in marketing and business

•She was six years old when she entered the National Calypso Queen competition and became a finalist

•Her songs “Sweet Soca Baby” and “Mother’s Love” , "Mamacita" and "Tassa Tempo" were popular, particularly in her home town

•She did a jingle for the roll-out of VAT under the NAR, singing the "ABC of the VAT"

 

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