March 25, 2001 From: Winford James
Trinidad and Tobago Today

One More Thing, Ramesh

Trinbagonian Child, here is a comprehension passage for you to get some practice for your upcoming SEA English exam. Read it carefully, then answer the questions I am going to ask you.

No House for Justice Archie
By Ramesh, Attorney-General

"You cannot close your eyes from the fact that Justice Archie, who is hearing the case, he himself wrote a letter and wanted the government to give him a supergrade house and to build a house for him. And we said, 'No. That is not the land, and you cannot get a house!'"

Read the passage again and this time bear in mind, Dear Child, the following facts:

  1. Ramesh's party, the UNC, has formed the government and the PNM has formed the opposition.
  2. The PNM has a petition before Justice Archie, asking him to rule that two members of the UNC government illegally hold their seats and that, therefore, they should be disqualified.
  3. The UNC does not want that to happen, as they may no longer be the government.
  4. The judge is ruling the day after the speech.
Now here are the questions.

Question 1: Who is the speaker? "Sir, the answer is 'Ramesh, the Attorney-General.'"

Question 2: How do you know? "Sir, because the title says so."

Question 3: Identify a preposition that is used incorrectly. "Sir, 'from', in the idiom 'close your eyes from'. 'From' should be replaced by 'to', Sir."

Question 4: According to Ramesh, what are two facts? "Sir, 1) Justice Archie asked the UNC government to build a fancy house for him and 2) the government refused to build it for him."

Question 5: Who do you think Justice Archie wrote the letter to? "Sir, the UNC government."

Question 6: Why do you think it was the UNC, and not the PNM? "Sir, because even though Ramesh doesn't say so directly, he says that 1) 'We said, 'No…', which means he is a part of the government, and 2) you've told us to bear in mind that the UNC is the government and the PNM the opposition."

Question 7: Ramesh uses the words 'the case'. Why does he say 'the case' and not 'a case'? "Sir, because he wants to suggest that he and his audience already know what the case is. It is old information, sir."

Question 8: Why would Ramesh give his audience that kind of information on Justice Archie and on the government? "Sir, because he wants them to think that Justice Archie might rule against the UNC in the case."

Question 9: Why might Justice Archie rule against the UNC? "Sir, I don't know. Possibly because they didn't build the house for him?"

Question 10: Is that a good reason? "Sir, what else is there? Ramesh does not give us any other information to go by."

Question 11: Suggest another title for the passage. "Sir, 'A biased judge' or 'An AG in panic'.

Thank you, Beloved Child. You have done exceedingly well. You surpassed my expectations. In respect of Questions 9 and 10, I am now going to call Ramesh and ask him. I'm going to turn on the speakerphone so you can hear his response.

"Ramesh, why did you tell your audience that Justice Archie asked your government to build him a supergrade house and you turned him down?"
"Well, I merely wanted to give them the facts, nothing else."
"Why did you want to give them those facts, Ramesh?"
"Well, the judge were going to give his judgment the next day, and I just want the audience to be aware of those facts."
"Was there a connection between your giving those facts and the judge giving his verdict the next day?"
"No, why should there be? Facts is facts. The judge were going to rule, that's a fact. And we had turned down his request for a house, that's a next fact. Why we have to have a connection?"
"Ramesh, some people are saying that you wanted to make your UNC supporters believe that the judge was biased against the UNC?"
"Why should I want that? Judges is independent. What I or anybody else say shouldn't influence their judgment."
"Ramesh, I wasn't referring to influence of the judge, but to influence of your supporters."
"Well then, what is the big fuss?"
"Thank you, Ramesh."

Trinbagonian Child was in shock. "Sir," he said, "that was the AG?! Sir, that man would not pass the SEA! He can't answer simple inference questions. And his grammar! Who taught that man?"

I told the Cherished Child that she was mistaken about the AG's ability to infer. He had correctly inferred that Justice Kangaloo had made a political speech when the judge had noted in a public speech that the president had talked about a creeping dictatorship. The Beloved Child then observed, "Well then, he must have been blatantly lying! But who does he expect to fool except those who are willing to be fooled?"

My answer? "There are thousands, my Child. Many thousands. And many of them consider themselves to be highly educated."

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