Thursday, January 18, 2018

SuperBlue's Redemption Song


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From some far distant place, beyond the imagination of forlorn hope, has come SuperBlue, sprinkling the holy water of Soca over Carnival 2013, refreshing our battered spirit and soothing us with the whispered simplicity of "I'm just here to say I love you".

If ever our collective spirit had called forth a song, "Fantastic Friday" is it. That the Soca Baptist should be the chosen one to lift us on a lyric of joy makes him the right prophet for this time. How appropriate that SuperBlue, the fallen, should now rise to become the agent of our own redemption.

Where Machel has the gift of transporting us to the far edge of Soca's ecstatic, orgiastic orbit of escape, SuperBlue has always had the gift of bringing us back to ourselves. This year, at a time so well-defined by the rapier brilliance of Kurt Allen's "Political Sin-Phony", we have truly needed to rediscover ourselves as being worthy of love.

And so, we enter the Carnival with the Baptist's blessing and the peace of having amicably settled the President question. For this, let's thank Tobago for having belled the cat by ensuring that who didn't hear would feel. In this country, where public opinion is routinely discounted by central power, it is left to the ballot box to talk for us. And talk, it does, for there's nothing like a good political planass to get a politician's feet back on the ground.

Without Tobago's intervention, who can say for sure that Anthony Carmona would be the one heading to the Office of the President?

Backed against the wall by the 12-0 defeat in Tobago, the UNC leader has quickly sized up her situation. She is down for the count unless he can resuscitate the very partnership of interests over whose destruction she so brazenly presided.

How ironic that the Tobago defeat has achieved what none of the PP's partners could, in pushing the Prime Minister to adopt a consensus position without even having to discuss!

It just goes to show that consensus has very little to do with sitting around a table and pretending to listen to the views of others who count for nothing more than a rubber stamp.

Still, for all the accolades coming his way, the jury must remain out on Justice Carmona. On paper and by experience, this Santa Flora boy who followed the Prime Minister from neighbouring Siparia all the way to the Hugh Wooding Law School would seem to have the requisite qualifications. It is his alter ego, Lord Pussyfoot of UWI calypso fame, who might be more interesting in the world of politics. We will just have to wait and see.

In the post-Tobago world of politics, having played their mas from Christmas to the THA election of January 21, the politicians seem to be sitting out the people's Carnival. The Prime Minister's own Carnival agenda has been largely limited to the finals of the stickfighting competition in the sanctuary of Debe, although tonight's redesigned Dimanche Gras should offer safe enough passage for Cabinet members.

While ashes and sackcloth are recommended from Wednesday, the Government might find it hard to resist its old impulses. Certainly, it should not expect any respite from the Opposition, both formal and informal, now lying in wait around the Carnival corner.

The Prime Minister's public rebuff of Jack Warner over the perceived obligation of Independent Senators to offer their resignation to the incoming President is not surprising.

If Warner was testing the waters for an indication of where he stands with his Prime Minister after Tobago, he got his answer. Hurt and anger from the political humiliation into which they had led each other still stings. And could get worse.

One explosive issue waiting for the Carnival dust to settle involves the recent revelations about the so-called Flying Squad—a police unit of equal parts legend and notoriety going back to the 1970s.

Its leader, retired inspector Mervyn Cordner, told the media the "Flying Squad" has been working under the auspices of the National Security Minister Jack Warner for the past six months.

Mr Cordner may have exceptional policing skills, but it is naive of him in the extreme to believe any minister of national security could simply pull together a cadre of former officers, no matter how talented, to engage in police affairs without the requisite legislative infrastructure.

Even covert work—indeed, especially covert work—requires legal authority. Without it, this group, no matter how motivated and talented, can be nothing more than a private army with the potential for becoming a mongoose gang of the Duvalier variety.

Surely, a man of Mr Cordner's experience would understand this.

Last week, even as Minister Warner denied knowing anything about the resurrection of the "Flying Squad", Mr Cordner gave a lengthy interview on i95.5FM, outlining in detail how his team has functioned, until ministry officials refused to sign off on payments, presumably on the grounds that the required process for approvals was not in place.

Mr Cordner spoke of having to dip into his own pocket to meet personal bills of his men. The experience has left him pained and disillusioned.

Since 2008, he has been talking about bringing the collective experience of the remaining Flying Squad members to the task of wrestling the crime jumbie. He seemed to have made no progress until last June when, inspired by Warner's vision as the new Minister of National Security, the team was pulled together and set to work with a range of facilities, including office space and cars. According to him, the "squad" had assisted in the detection and solving of a number of crimes that had been beyond the ability of the Police Service.

Notwithstanding Minister Warner's denials, there is much to be investigated in this matter.

Was he a rogue minister acting without Cabinet and legal authority? Or were the members of this "squad" a bunch of vigilantes who had engaged in police work without the required legal authority?

Or what?

On the national calendar of T&T, the reign of the Merry Monarch is the real marker of time, dividing one year of mas from another.

This year, out of the blue, Super has surfaced to temper the mindless freneticism and stir our soul, bringing with him the possibility of a new start. Hallelujah, give praise!