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Piece of anniversary cake

Friday, April 24, 2015

On Monday, the eve of the fifth anniversary of the agreement that created the People’s Partnership “coalition” that defeated the People’s National Movement in the 2010 general election, the United National Congress bandwagon rolled into Fyzabad with its minor party partners tied like tin cans to the back bumper: the National Joint Action Committee, the Movement for Social Justice, the Tobago Organisation of the People and Legal Affairs Minister Ramadhar who, by himself alone, constitutes a new political entity soon to be called, the “Congress of the Prakash.”

The Partnership partners were in the best of spirits, as anyone might be on the anniversary of the agreement that brought them into power—and before the election that might scatter their constituent parts across the land without any actual constituencies for most of them. 

Everyone praised the signing of the Fyzabad document that created the “coalition,” even though there was no consensus on its name: different speakers called it the Fyzabad Accord, the Fyzabad Declaration and/or the Fyzabad Agreement.

However invoked, the Fyzabad Accord Declaration Agreement was apparently clearly better for all Trinidadians, especially black ones, than the People’s National Movement. NJAC Deputy Political Leader, Brother Servant Kwasi Mutema, recalled that April 21 was also the 45th anniversary of the State of Emergency declared by the Dr Eric Williams-led PNM to lock up the leaders of the Black Power movement in 1970—even if mentioning States of Emergency might not have been the wisest course for a representative of a government that had declared one in 2011, to arrest all of Trinidad’s criminals, and had managed to apprehend none at all (discounting any possible future arrests of past Cabinet members).

If Brother Servant Kwasi was reckless in unnecessarily raising States of Emergency, TOP leader Ashworth Jack risked outright collapse of his audience’s suspension of disbelief when, to attack PNM spending, he gratuitously brought the Auditor General’s report—and, ergo, LifeSport and the former AG’s payments to lawyers—into play; it was like watching a fat man accuse a malnourished one of greed, even as he swept the buffet table into his own crocus bag.

Labour Minister Errol McLeod proved himself to be the strongest argument since former Education Minister Adesh Nanan dropped “para-diggem” for “paradigm” on an unsuspecting public that politicians should learn how to pronounce a word before they say it: the People’s Partnership, McCleod declared, had transformed workers into “entry-preeners”—inviting the listener to recall the Trinidadian adage that, “When they get een, they does make style.”

The suspiciously-dark haired Youth Minister, Clifton De Couteau, took the stage to introduce Prakash Ramadhar, Political Leader of Whatever’s Left of the Congress of the People, and to throw an extra jab or two in the fight the Africans on the platform were taking to the PNM, lambasting them for actively hating black people and only pretending to like Baptists.

The Legal Affairs Minister showed that he knew the most big words (correctly pronounced) and a thing or two about comparison. Five years ago, he said, the Partnership began its divine mission to rescue the nation from its devilish state. 

The economy was in tatters, crime was rampant and the very ecology was threatened with a smelter. He was a patriot, his first sip of water being Trini water. (He declined to say whether it was pipe-borne, or how many Trinidadians still live under the Partnership without that facility.) To destroy a thing is far easier for those who use power as a weapon and not as a tool and the work was not yet done, but could easily be undone, as his own speech was, coming apart in a flurry of loose metaphors and similes.

The Prime Minister then dutifully took up the Fyzabad Accord Declaration Agreement baton to run the last leg, reminding people that “they” said that “this little girl from Siparia” couldn’t hold the Partnership together, but here they were, despite the personal attacks on her shoes, her family and other “small, minute personal items.”

Before the Accord/Declaration/Agreement, the nation was buckling under a corrupt government. The PNM wanted to cut everything in the public sector, she warned, except their own pay. (Perhaps the Labour Minister worried, at that point, whether he ought to have boasted about twice raising the minimum wage.) 

In a finesse the world bridge champion might envy, she criticised Leader of the Opposition Keith Rowley for not being willing to face criticism—her skillful repackaging of the PNM failing to help her waste Parliamentary time in the motion of no confidence in the Leader of the Opposition.

The closing cheers were drowned by Kool & the Gang’s Celebration as a huge cake, and the First Husband, Dr Gregory Bissessar, better known as Mr P-B, were brought out and the leaders of the Fyzabad Accord Declaration Agreement ascended to the podium to descend upon the cake, parcelling it out as swiftly as an Attorney General dispensing state legal briefs; but only time will tell whether the cake will be a birthday or a celebration one; and whether the icing on it will be Dutch.

The video faded to black as the audio rose, Stevie Wonder singing a joyous, “Happy Birthday to You” to Martin Luther King; who might have done did a bit more for humanity than Kamla Persad-Bissessar—unless you asked anyone in Fyzabad on Monday night.

BC Pires is sketching his a---, like all independents in a place where you pick a side and play, not to win, but to cut the other side’s throat.


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