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Friday 18 October 2019
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Commentary

TAKING A TIME OUT

Someone and someone else are chatting up a storm last Monday evening about Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and his roundabout return to the UNC and about TT politics in general and I promise you I feel like asking the two people for silence because the lone political thought on my mind at the moment is that this is Carnival week and really can’t politicians take a side and a back seat and shut up for a few days, at least until Lent? Politicos? We’ll contemplate and condemn their deeds and/or misdeeds next week. Meanwhile, they can buy a little rag and use it as a gag. I’m more preoccupied by the politics and economics of mas because a friend has recently told me about a friend of hers paying more than $4,000 for a costume, only to be instructed to put the band’s ID bracelet on early Carnival Monday morning and not to remove it until Tuesday evening, because “If you lose your bracelet you’ll be escorted out of the band.”


Well, we really reach. I want to see me pay $4,000 plus for two bits of cloth, a feather here, a bead there and the right to drinks (the bladder bus is separate) and allow a security guard to escort me out of the band for not sporting an ugly neon bracelet. Now is bacchanal! When did bands become fascist organisations? Are masmen suggesting that they were losing such millions to costume pirates they were left with little option, but to tag and threaten revellers? Basdeo Panday, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and Winston Dookeran? Let them explain themselves and their clumsy political tango a trois to the electorate Ash Wednesday. I’m more entertained presently by my friend’s additional information that the very strongman security side escorting the bracelet-less out of the land of the pretty and the privileged and into the land of the pedestrian, are also employed to pen revellers in; that often you can’t see the masqueraders for the security.


Well done, is my view; I don’t want to see them, do you? To me it’s clear: if someone pays thousands to be confined to an area approximately four feet square that is shaped and maintained by a bunch of high and heavy-handed brutes that someone is too stupid to be seen in public. So UNC deputy leader Jack Warner made Minister of Housing Dr Keith Rowley bristle because he, Warner mentioned Rowley’s land development project, Landate, at the UNC rally Sunday and the two are at war? Forget Ministers on the defensive because of some platform picong and forget embattled World Cup ticket salesmen. What I really want to know this weekend is what has happened over the years to make high-level security a prerequisite to a good time on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Are revellers who are more and more women than men under continuous attack from roving posses of modern highwaymen? Are guards still necessary with eyes and blimps in the sky and with thousands of police on patrol on the ground over the Carnival weekend?


Or does the explanation for bands’ high security perhaps not lie too in an attitude by women and men playing mas that they’ve paid so many thousands of dollars they don’t want anyone enjoying their music, their chip, their wine, their jump up for free? Maybe since many of the sections are apparently increasingly all-inclusive, masqueraders are also over protective of their bars, their alcohol. The politics of mas is more complicated than why Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj went back to the UNC. I could care less too this week about sprinter cum Senator Ato Boldon’s fantastical notion about being able to sit on the UNC bench in the Senate without having a UNC agenda. I’m too busy considering that the comradely days of “come and have a drink nah” will soon be as mythical as Boldon’s assurance of that which he is in no position to assure.


Ato and his naivet?? I’m more worried that because of the all-inclusiveness of the bands we will never again see wine skins in Carnival; that we can say goodbye to the times when almost everyone carried one and offered every other passer-by- in or out of costume- a squirt of this or that concoction, mixed and frozen since Carnival Saturday. Carnival is too exclusive, too posh and too feminine for wine skins now. If you must jabber about TT politics as Carnival 2006 reaches its climax you can only talk about President Maxwell Richards because Max has absolutely nothing political to opine, which is probably principally why he accepted the Presidency and why Prime Minister Patrick Manning offered it to him. Max and Patrick knew that Max would stay silent on significant occasions such as when Manning made his move to acquire President’s Grounds as part of his grandiose prime ministerial estate and when the Prime Minister instructed the residents of the communities surrounding the grounds to find a spot to play in the Savannah.


Manning was also well aware when he selected Max that Max was no Arthur NR Robinson or Noor Hassanali to give him legal trouble because Max would forsake and forget constitutional and political matters to play mas in an all-inclusive section, probably for free, and to attend every single pricey all-inclusive party to which he is invited, which is probably all of them.  In addition, our President is allowed without reproach to be elitist: he isn’t expected to mingle with the wining and brawling masses in the big rowdy fetes. In other words, his is the good life. Indeed, Carnival time is the only time of year I regret challenging the PM; it’s when I wonder if I couldn’t be in Max’ shoes and feteing for free! Did I really say “No Red House for Manning?” Hush! No more politics. De party start. suz@itrini.com

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