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Halloween parade

Published: 
Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween in Port-of-Spain and it’s hard to tell the difference between the modern costume party that grew out of the ancient pagan festival and ordinary life in Trinidad at any time since people began writing down what happened here.  We know, from American film and television, that, all over the USA today, people will go to work dressed up in costumes; but in Trinidad—and we know this from UWI History Professor Emerita Dr Bridget Brereton’s book, A History of Modern Trinidad 1783-1962—in the 18th century the gentlemen of the Cabildo in Port-of-Spain had to pool their wardrobes to come up with a single complete set of formal clothes.

It seems they put we so—or we stay so—from ever since. All of Trinidad, for all our recorded time, every day, has been either a fancy dress party or an ol’ mas, depending on whether you live before or behind the bridge. Every day is Halloween here and it just fell on the day today. So the question you have to ask yourself this All Hallows Eve is: who playing what today? Here, for your amusement, is a reading of the Halloween attire of some of T&T’s leading costumed heroes (and zeroes). Highway Re-route Movement hunger striker Dr Wayne Kublalsingh: If you support the Government, you think Wayne K is wearing a devil costume—complete with a trident spearing doubles, rib-eye and a bbq leg-and-thigh on its tines. (There’s nothing opportunistic in your perception of Wayne K’s costume being dependent on your support of the Government, since the Government itself changes its supposedly principled position on the highway in South depending on whether it is in Opposition saving the country or is in office writing the cheques.) 

Environmentalists dress Dr K up as Papa Bois while his detractors—who show themselves to be the most vicious, most hateful and most stupid people in Trinidad—cast him as a reptile, Adolf Hitler and/or Abu Bakr. Independent observers, who can concentrate on looking, despite the din of the crowd bawling for the release of Barabbas, can see the real costume the emaciated Wayne K is wearing: a crown of firetrucking thorns. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar: Mrs K P-B goes through more costume changes (and more rapidly) than Celine Dion in a three-hour Las Vegas set but her standard dress-up roles include: Mother Teresa; the Wicked Queen; Sleeping Beauty; La Diablesse; everyone’s Granny; a few people’s French maid; a pole dancer—no, wait, that should be “a position jumper”; the Gym Boots Gyul; the smartest person in the room (after Basdeo Panday and Jack Warner have left); international female icon; and doolahin. 
Expect her to keep rapidly switching in and out of these costumes between now and the general election, immediately after which she will dress more or less permanently either as the Messiah or in monkey pants.

Leader of the Opposition Keith Rowley: Normally we can depend on Keith to wear either the tall, dark and good-looking costume he’s had on since adolescence or else the bad-dog collar former Prime Minister Patrick Manning first put on him. Recently, though, he seems to have grown into costumes that used not to fit him so well as they seem to do today, such as, “PNM Political Leader.”  Perhaps most tellingly for Kamla P-B’s future post-general-election gear, though, he seems to be wearing well the garb of “the man who stood up for principle against prime ministerial excess”; as a direct result of Keith’s growing wardrobe, though, his only challenger for leadership of the PNM, Penelope Beckles’ choice seems now to be limited to either sackcloth and ashes or just plain PNM rags.

Leader of the Independent (honestly, Individual) Liberal Party Jack Warner: Having shed a slew of outfits—Robin Hood, Jack the Giant-Slayer, man of the football world, HNIC, the man on the bloc—that all came with FIFA neckties, and several more roles that got tossed in the rubbish bin along with his UNC party card, Jack has been trying on two major costumes for two years now: Diogenes of Sinope (the man who carried a lamp around in daytime in ancient Greece, searching for an honest man); and the little Dutch boy standing all night with his finger in the dyke to save his land. He seems supremely comfortable in both getups, preening before every mirror and radio station; and that is so even if both really fit him like Yoda from Star Wars’ robes.
Minister of Something Stephen Cadiz: The man who cut the cloth and sewed every stitch by hand in the heroic Keith Noel 136 Committee Chair costume is now seen and heard in public in only Cabinet-issue straitjackets.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan: All barristers in their robes have an instant costume resemblance to the old Transylvanian count, but Anand has the 15th-century stiff muff wig to go with it. 
Powder his hair white and not even ex Uma Thurman or current wife Alexandra Edenborough could tell the difference between our AG and Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s own Dracula. The clown who claims to have an “herbal” Ebola cure: (which seems to consist of mango chow without the mango, mixed with hibiscus petals and a stale hops). This joker is clearly playing the a--; the only people more profoundly stupid will be the thousands of Trinis who will put on their lemmings outfits and follow him over the cliff.

BC Pires is a grown-up douen. E-mail your cow’s feet to him at [email protected]; but he would prefer jerk chicken.

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