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Levity trumps seriousness

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It was called to rouse sentiment against Ramlogan and Jack, Reshmi and Section 34, poor governance and accumulating injustices but no matter the gravity of motivation, the “quintessential Trinidadianness” of yesterday's march through downtown Port-of-Spain provided levity.


The jokes started early. Minutes after hundreds set off from Woodford Square, the speaker on the mobile megaphone shouted: "No to Section 64!" People chuckled. By the time he said it a second time, an otherwise formidable-looking policeman in full SWAT gear doubled over in laughter, saying: "Oh God! De march done! Like he working for the PP!"


The megaphone speaker wasn’t having a good day. He said “incompetence” innumerable times, except he pronounced it “incompeetence,” and made many references to the “at-tour-ney” general. Across Gordon Street, he identified himself: “This is the voice of the Joint Trade Union Movement. This Government barbery!” By that he meant barbarous but a colleague protectively caressed his dreadlocks anyway.


Throughout the afternoon the megaphone speaker encouraged onlookers: “Don’t stand on the sidewalks!” No one on the pavements listened. His moment of truth came outside Summertime Cafe and Chinese Restaurant at the corner of Henry and Duke Streets. “We want you to leave this bar now and march with us!”


Not a man moved. A young mother, infant in her arms, steups as she crossed the street, “Look, man, kiss my a--!” The speaker was redeemed, however, in two brilliant moments. Heading south towards the Brian Lara Promenade, he lambasted the Government left, right and centre. They this, they that, they the other. Exhausted, he admitted: “Look, I run out of superlatives to describe them!” The marchers laughed their appreciation.


As he continued his tirade against all that is wrong with the People’s Partnership, he inhaled and delivered: “We calling them humans because they look like us but their behaviour inhuman!” All that noise, all those people and all them police boots could not wake the vagrant sleeping on ah food on Park Street. He lay undisturbed on two pillows — one a bag of onions and the other a bag of healthy ochroes.


The march started with people clapping at the National Security helicopter hovering noisily over Woodford Square. Unfortunately, as it neared its climax on Independence Square, another deeply Trinidadian event occurred. A man speaking loudly to two women at the bottom of Frederick Street returned the country to its worst ethos: “This country! A Hindu demon leading this country! Is Kali puja!”


Thankfully, the women refused to respond.


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