Friday, February 23, 2018

Ole mas mode only


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David Rudder and Kees Dieffenthaller have offered up one of the most memorable lines of the season, "Live yuh life like yuh playing mas".

It is classic Rudder, but first, here is Kees' contribution:

"When Carnival done

And there is no more bump and


No more costumes in town

Keep the unity, yeah

Everyone is family

Indian, Black, White, Chinee,

Baldhead, or Rasta.

Live yuh life like playing mas."

Rudder, the artful lyricist, joins Kees to tell us that "in the rhythm of life"… you got to know your role in this living masquerade… Live yuh life like yuh playing mas".

It is a spirited, upbeat kaiso. Its music is captivating, its lines so inspirational that it could stir national passions; I place it alongside Rudder's other collaboration with Carl Jacobs on "Trini to the bone", and Benjai's "Am a Trini" of last season.

For creative political commentary and amusement this season, I turned to Heather McIntosh's crafting of "Divine Echoes"; Pink Panther's "search for leadership in the Partner-ship"; Bally's defence of Santa Claus, who disowns Clause 34 as his Christmas relative, and Karene Asche's "Meh partner's ship is leaking".

But, to me Rudder and Kees go to the unstructured, cloudy phenomenon that is our national character, cutting away at the suspicion and distrust with an appeal to our diverse people that mas holds a positive conceptual framework through which they may find their true selves.

The appeal comes at a time when there is the feeling that since 2010 our political culture is being wrecked by some kind of mischievous Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Every national decision has to be examined suspiciously, as it seems to be delivered, not as genuine public policy, but played out as mas—in the undisguised, "living masquerade" of Jouvert morning.

Last month, the MFO survey poll quantified for the Prime Minister the unpopularity of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, and National Security Minister Jack Warner—64 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.

The survey did not say, but surely one can conclude that the public disfavour was also based also on notions of their ministerial competence. Take the latest controversy involving the "qualifications" of one Hafizool Mohammed, whom the Ag advised the President to appoint as a member of the Commission of Inquiry into the 1990 coup attempt—without the necessary background checks

This is now the third time Trinbago has endured the AG's mis-steps with such appointments.

In August 2010, he appointed retired Justice Mustapha Ibrahim to be chairman of this same inquiry, obviously without consultation. Justice Ibrahim immediately declined and Ramlogan was forced to go to Parliament, with promises of further "checks" to have that announcement revoked.

In November of the same year, Ramlogan appointed British jurist, Sir Garvin Lightman, as chairman, of the Clico/HCU Inquiry. Again, with egg all over his face, he had to revoke that announcement because Sir Garvin had represented Clico in a previous matter.

Public questions continue, e.g. the AG's charges, with broad hints, that a grand piano purchased for the prime minister's residence was missing after former prime minister Patrick Manning vacated the home. The AG had to retreat shamefacedly from his declaration, after the piano was found at the residence.

There is also the AG's claim of "success" in the cancelled OPV contract dispute with BAE, the British dockyard. It was later revealed that his "success" was merely a refund of this country's part payment on the vessels. The British High Commission explained that BAE made the refund because it had since sold the disputed vessels to the Brazilian government.

Then there was the AG's role in the infamous Clause 34 controversy. Former justice minister, Herbert Volney was fired, but the AG was spared by the Prime Minister, although he holds responsibility for all legal matters.

Against objections of experienced jurists, the AG later brought a bill to Parliament to have the clause repealed. Last week, British QCs squared off in the High Court questioning Parliament's repeal of the clause which the AG piloted.

Two Queen's Counsel are on the State's team, led by Lord David Pannick, against the legal claims brought by UNC financiers, Ish and Steve, that Parliament's repeal of the Clause is unconstitutional.

How much does it cost Trinbago's taxpayers to hand a brief to a British lord of David Pannick's legal reputation? One legal source said: "I have heard that the brief is around 100,000 pounds, with expenses between 6,000 and 7,000 pounds per day."

National Security Minister Warner also lives his political life — hammer and chain-saw in hand— as though he, too, is playing in a Jouvert band.

For years, the UNC-led Government repeatedly criticised the PNM government for operating SAUTT as a crime-fighting body without parliamentary approval.

Last weekend there were claims that the dreaded "Flying Squad" of the 1970s was re-established, secretly, under Warner's Ministry.

But acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams remains unaware of the existence of the unit, which reportedly houses 75 retired police officers at $200,000 a month at a building in Arouca.

A "secret police unit" in Arouca?

Thank you David and Kees, for the sublime appeal! One day we will move from Jouvert to pretty mas.

• Keith Subero, a former Express news editor, has since followed a

career in communication

and management.