There were many stories this week that battled for primacy of place in the Pantomime; but for many reasons the Prime Minister's appearance at Machel Monday on February 13th earned top position. The incident took place at the start of the week and threw most of the nation into a total tailspin, not because her presence at fetes are unexpected; indeed, like any Trini worth her salt, the PM seems to have racked up more feting time than office hours since her return from the India Extravaganza. It seems too that on her way back from India she made a stop in London to buy a pair of pricey Louis Vuittons that she showed off to the crowd at Machel Monday. The PM's detractors were loudly critical of her appearance on the stage as well as her dress code. Those in favour of the PM and desperate for this govenment to remain relevant and in power immediately dismissed the furor over Kamla's inappropriate dress code as a "non-story", what's the fuss about? Do we question Rowley's underwear? The level of moral relatavism that was employed to shift from the real issue at hand was a clear sign that the supporters of this government have grown desperate. To not see those boots as vulgar and inappropriate and a symbol of what this government, certainly its Prime Minister, has come to represent to significant portions of the population, is to put one's head in the sand. Kamla mounted a stage in an ad hoc manner representing not her private self, but the country as PM, and sought to honour a soca artiste with an award that is yet to be named, and whose reason is yet to be explained, dressed in exactly the sort of ostentatious bling that we decry in the nation's youth when we talk of their value systems. What made our PM this last Monday a role model to the nation in any real sense? What made her a leader or stateswoman in that stunt on stage? Come Carnival Monday and Tuesday she intends to jump with Trini Revellers in a section whose theme is based on Africa....more pappy show for the masses. Take that in all yuh gaaaar!
The other reason this story received top billing was what the image above also symbolised for the fete goers and soca lovers. This appeared to be Kamla Rani's public endorsement of Double M for major prizes at Soca Monarch and within seconds of entering the stage the talk went around the Hasely Crawford Stadium that Montano had to indeed still be in the government's pocket. The Machel Hate and the Iwer Support became renewed and MMHD would spend the rest of this week battling not just his own demons about winning the competition but the spirit of the Vengeance of Moko that so many of the Carnival population would feel was his just due to publicly aligning himself with the government. Many asked, "who is the pimp in that relationship: Machel or Kamla?"
Then came Fantastic Friday and though Montano delivered two technically proficient performances (his voice was hoarse though and he resorted to bellowing, but then so did most of the competition), it was clear that he didn't have as much audience support as he used to command in his pre-competition days. Montano would go on to cop not one, but both titles, as most people suspected; and now in the minds of most, Montano, for all his obvious talent and mastery of the musical form has sunk to the position of Government Stooge in the eyes of many. HE is in bed with government it seems, and willing to sell his social capital in exchange for real liquidity. So the PP Govt is reliant on his fan base to remain popular, populist and relevant. But the tides are turning for both HD and the Govt...
Of course one of the delicious little ironies that the Pantomime has noticed is that many people seem to want to ignore that Iwer George, who now has popular support as the wronged and robbed soca artiste who is entitled to the crowns, was and is openly PNM and benefitted greatly from PNM largesse. While then PM Manning never came on stage to wine and bling out and publicly endorse George, everyone within the industry knew that Iwer was heavily endorsed and supported by the PNM...indeed there is much to sustain rumours that George has been involved in diesel bunkering since the PNM's tenure. So the ire of George's fans may well be a case of political do so aint like so!
The OWTU brought the government to its knees this week, and who don't want to see that or concede to it hadda be smoking what destroyed Whitney Houston. Ancil Roget and his cohorts using a combination of gas and mas, turned the government on its head as he exploited the People's Panchayat's greatest fear: the shut down of the country on their watch! A national strike is akin to the 1990 coup for this government because it is a stigma and ghost they will NEVER be able to escape. Roget set the pack nicely. Waiting the week of Carnival they announced the strike, knowing full well that if the strike began Carnival Saturday and ran for 90 days there'd be no Carnival to distract the natives from the pressures of gas shortages, long lines to fill up and even more frustration in a place that is already a pressure cooker given the ineptitude of the govt.The government tried to grand charge with small pieces of trump like threatening to import gas and deploying the army. Game went to the union though, who got 9%. Now I wonder how the PSA 5% cap supporters feeling today?
Fifagate has gotten to be too much for the Pantomime to fathom at this stage. Who aint suing little Jack Warner is who aint remember he owe them $$$ or who aint land in the country yet for the Carnival that is Jack! On February 12th wired8686.com's Lasana Liburd dropped a bombshell that revealed Warner was involved in an Haitian aid scandal scheme. Warner just can't seem to cut a break or start smelling clean. In typical Warneriffic style he threatened to sue Liburd for defamation and continued to avoid answering any real questions. The UNC party has also taken to pretending that there is no stench coming from Jack despite a clamouring public and numerous opinion polls. When Liburd contacted members of the UNC executive, either his calls got cut off or they indicated that there was no need to investigate the many problems plaguing Warner. Weird much?
In a move that struck of pure convenience the AG decided that he wanted nothing to do with the ACIB, despite knowing that this was a body that has been under the direct rule of the AG's office since the tenure of Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj as AG. An& has singlehandedly convinced me that not only is government aware of precisely what went down during that raid on Newsday and Andre Bagoo's home, but that they were probably the ones who instructed the operations and are now seeking to play a clever game of cover your ass. It is Clarence Rambharat's article earlier this week, along with fmr AG's Maharaj's comments on CNC 3 that put the nail in the coffin for me. Mr Ramlogan even wrote about it during his time as a columist for local newspapers. And, just as eager to avoid the storm that the govt being linked to an attack on the media is likely to cause, the PM has readily agreed that she will remove the ACIB from under Ramlogan and place it under Gibbs, a man who has proven to us time and again that his major duty as CoP is to be the govt's Fall Guy! What has me curios is this...why all the elaborate lies An&, when so many people would have been able to call you out on your claims of ignorance about the ACIB? Are you that convinced that the population is that gullible? Thank goodness we have Justice Rambharat's article to help refresh your memory. But it's worrisome that in light of the Newsday Raid you throw the spotlight on the Police Commissioner when in truth and in fact it's really you, dear Mr AG, that has to explain why the ACIB conducted that raid...isn't it?
The National Fall Guy Glibbs got his performance review this week and the PSC under Ramesh Deosaran gave the Hot Shot Top Cop a pass! Then backpedalled, a dance so common under our current regime, and said it provisional. One member of the team even declined to sign off on the review. So now, we don't know whether Glibbs has passed or not, what we do know is that Glibb's continues to have a free hand under this government to make mistake after mistake and cock up after cock up in the name of National Security!
The Gladys Gafoor Affair has gotten even more complicated. No one knows if I-am-a-Gladys was informed by the President of her suspension, who gave the order in the Minisrty of Foreign Affairs and Communications to tamper with the President's press release or if the President is still an independent office, because he clearly seems to be taking orders from someone...but why? What gives Max?
And in between all of this, it's still murders, robberies and general crime on a regular. Calypsonians want more monies, Louis wants a bottle ban, road accidents aplenty and prophets throwing wine all on Kamala!
De Vice Cyah Done!
Have a Happy and Safe Carnival to All. See you Ash Wednesday!