Into de mas...
The change in his facial expression was immediate. It seemed to say that he was glad to see me approaching.
I told myself: “Here we go again. He is waiting to unburden his normally heavy duty views on me.”
My head was totally into the mas, so I preferred to hear him, with the authoritativeness of the person with the final word, speaking on the Socadrome controversy, Machel versus Bunji or the fine details of his choices for the pan and kaiso finals.
In a column some months ago, I wrote of my Sunday-morning encounter with him in the Arima market. He is a neatly dressed, articulate, regular “limer” in the market who stands out because he is willing to speak on everything, to anyone who gives him an audience.
He is energised and politically alert, with a chirpy ability to hold your attention, with his rapid, breezy interpretations on the issues of the day.
What is particularly striking to me is his sentence construction. Every sentence, invariably, begins with, “How come…” So I simply refer to him by that name.
As “How Come” spotted me, he made brisk steps to extend his courtesies. I was still humming Superblue’s “Spankin’” so I said: “Happy Carnival.” He replied sourly, “Yeah, you too”, ignoring my Carnival mood. And he was off, immediately, articulating his various views.
“How come, we buying Long Range Vessel from China? Every day de Prime Minister extemporising on we. She gone to China and doing it in front of the world now.
“She didn’t even see de vessel, doh even know if it good for our waters. She only hear de Chinese have ah boat, looking nice, so she beg dem to buy one. Just so she buy de boat, off the rack, like she buying another $4,000 Louis Vuitton boots for Soca Monarch.”
Frankly, I wanted to hear only about mas, but he chirped on. “How come T&T maritime officials weren’t in China? De PM take everybody else there except dem. How come Cabinet not involved, eh! How come there are no technical studies, and tendering procedures? How come de PM buy ah expensive boat, and de Minister of National Security eh even know?
“How come de Minister could say de PM didn’t buy it by vaps, den say de officials now have to analyse if de vessel good for T&T waters!
“How come de Government doh understand that all of T&T now come like City Gate, a transport hub, where all kinda crime does happen. We send $644 million in coke to Virginia; we have $107 million in ganja in Biche forest!
“Yuh look like yuh want to talk ‘bout mas? But listen to real mas. De AG is de Government chief adviser, but he say he doh know criminal law, only civil, yet he asking for ah salary increase.
“How come nobody eh say he should be getting only half pay, for only civil law. Boy ah tell yuh!
“Is de same Government dat place a five per cent cap on public servant salaries. How come ministers want a $15,000 duty allowance?
“De Government spend $37 million on an unoccupied building in town. How come nobody eh ask the Minister (of Local Government) why she eh move. How come dat Ministry still in Kent House, when de employees say, since 2010, it rat-infested?
“Yeah, ah know dat yuh want to talk ‘bout Carnival—but UWI make meh shame boy. Dey say dat there were… what UWI called it? ‘Procedural anomalies’ in giving de Speaker de EMBA degree, yet it was in keeping with UWI regulations. What dat mean?
“How come allyuh writers eh challenge UWI stupid statement? Dey say dey had ‘problems’ in giving de man de degree, yet it met their regulations. Explain meh dat! Ah would be very embarrassed if I was he. So UWI give him ah degree with ‘anomalies’?
“Yeah, leh we talk about de pan— but before ah forget why allyuh doh wipe de floor with LeRoy Clarke, and dat nonsense about homosexuality and crime. LeRoy eh realise what he could cause? How come he eh read about what happening in Uganda? Ah newspaper there just name 200 homosexuals and all dem people could be killed. Is dat where LeRoy want to take us? How come LeRoy eh realise dat there is a backlash in what he saying?
“Yes, now de pan. How come in 2014 we still putting up and breaking down de North Stand? Somebody getting millions there boy! How come yuh eh write ‘bout dat?
“So who yuh backing? Ah like de judges’ choice, so results go be tight. Mas, yes—but de state of T&T too serious for me to think ‘bout dat. Ah postpone de mas!”
I preferred to not ask him “How come” as I drifted off into the mas.
• Keith Subero, a former
Express news editor, has since followed a career in
communication and management