"Manners maketh man," says the old saying, and a three-year-old etiquette company has just maketh more than $2 million to teach the nation's children how to say "Please", "Thank you", and "Pardon my flatulence".
If anyone finds it offensive that Sash Consulting should have gotten this contract from the Education Ministry based on sponsorship from the politically appointed boards of five State companies, this only proves that they don't have good manners, since an etiquette expert is practised in not giving offence and, according to the website of Sash, owner Shauna Huggins was trained at the American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia, which is described as "one of the last remaining bastions of Southern hospitality". The reason it's a last bastion, presumably, is because people versed in Southern American hospitality used to know how to cut eyeholes in white sheets, the right way to burn crosses, and the proper protocol for lynching an uppity nigra.
I am myself originally from south Trinidad and, as readers of these columns would know, I am an expert in giving offence, (though only to bigots, hypocrites, and people with straight hair). Additionally, I am well-versed in using my right hand to give to my left. I thus consider myself just as qualified as Ms Huggins to teach manners to the nation's youth, and would be ecstatic to do so for one per cent of Sash Consulting's fee. I admit that even this relatively piddling $20,000 would not be value for money, but that clearly is not a criterion for how taxpayers' dollars are spent by Government Ministers. Nonetheless, using Sash Consulting's same $2 million programme format, I present this brief outline of Ms Kevin's Guide to Good Manners which, I believe, fits perfectly into the Character Education and Citizenry Development values displayed by almost every local politician.
The Art of Introducing Oneself: In order to introduce oneself, you must first remember your name. This is more difficult than you might think, especially if you are using a false name. False names become necessary when you have been fired two weeks after being promoted from clerk to head of a national security agency; or when you are a Minister's common-law wife and get to travel on official trips to India just because you are an Indocentrist female without panty-lines; or because your shell company which got a multi-million-dollar State contract has to use another name because your real company is friends with the Prime Minister.
How to Remember Names: While it is important to remember your own name, or what you are using for one, it is equally important not to remember some people's names. Such persons include the official who tells you what the lowest bid for a State contract is; the politician who makes sure your CV gets chosen for the high-paying job you're not qualified for; and the board member who approves $868,000 in per diems for the travel assistant's salary you're not getting. This technique will be helpful when you have to deny remembering who gave what before a Commission of Enquiry.
How to Make Friends: First, join a political party. If you are a man, you will readily make friends by contributing to the party's coffers. If you are a woman, you can make friends just by friending. Once you have taken care of these amenities, solidify your friendship by praising the Prime Minister with words like "strong", "caring" and "buttery". Pretend that both the Political Leader and the political party is perfect and, when they do things which are obviously indefensible, defend them by saying that the other party and its politicians did worse.
Listening Skills: When in the presence of Government Ministers and other influential people, you must hang on to their every word with a look of wonder on your face and, if possible, dribble. Your goal is to make the Minister feel as though they are a combination of Gandhi, Einstein, Usain Bolt, and John Holmes. This is actually not difficult to do, since most politicians already think this about themselves.
How to Deal with Bullying: The best way to deal with bullying is to be the bully. Thus, once you are a Prime Minister, or a major financier who makes prime ministers, you can ride roughshod over anyone who makes impossible, unreasonable and reckless demands for meritocracy, procurement policies, and rum instead of scotch.
Conflict Resolution: Conflict, like credit cards, is inevitable. The best way to resolve conflict is by bribes. Using URP or Colour Me Orange would help ensure that voters who are in conflict with you get into conflict with one another, and if this leads to an increasing murder rate you can resolve that by bribing religious leaders to teach that legalising homosexuality would worsen social ills, hanging is the solution to crime, and faith is better than rabies.