January 25, 2001 By Keith Smith

Somebody lasso the lion

I COULDN'T believe my ears, let me tell you. Moving from one meeting to another I heard the Prime Minister talking on TV, causing me to stop dead in my tracks and ask the reporters clustered around the set:

"Wha he just say dey?"

Before they could even answer, I was asking again:

"Wha’is dat!?"

Not waiting for a response I hurried on even as the Prime Minister hurried on:

"What dat man talkin’ bout?"

"We doh know," came the bemused reply, a bemusement I found mirrored in the streets when I went out:

"Wha dat man jest say dey boy, Keith?" the question later following me all the way home where Miss Merle in her usual direct way came immediately to the point at the end of TV 6’s sound bites:

"What dotishness Panday telling people, boy!"

And that, folks, is what I can’t understand. Not only how the Prime Minister could have made that address but how the people around him could have let him! Not a man nor woman around him to stand up and shout:

"Boss, that ent go go down!"

As it didn’t. Look, I have written more than once in this space that the President’s stance cannot stand objective scrutiny, but to leap from that to implicate him in a plot with Mr Manning and Mr Bakr and Mr Abdullah is a kind of recklessness that I find difficult to comprehend even in a man who I have accused in the past of being far too reckless for words and with words.

You think anybody believe what Mr Panday put down in the House? His many supporters must be seething in their hearts, wondering how this man could shame them so, using the prime ministerial pulpit to parade paranoia at best and, at worst, cold-blooded calculation designed to do what—bring us to, if not push us over the brink.

The whole country jumping up over this latest mas, all this masquerade of lining up the big brass from the Protective Services behind him to give the impression that all the forces are acting in concert to attack this new threat to State security.'

Arthur NR Robinson and Patrick Manning! Patrick Manning and Abu Bakr! Abu Bakr and Bilaal Abdullah! Bilaal who, if he has learned nothing else, has learned and is on record as noting the improbability, impossibility even, of a small band of armed but unpopular men taking over a country like Trinidad and Tobago!'

How could Mr Panday expect this trap to fly? And, more painfully, what, pray does Mr Panday think of us? You and me. Ping Pong Charlie in "Laventy". And Tassa Teelokie in Caroni. Fabric Aboud in Maraval. And Shop Chin in Caratal. Donut De Veteuil in Diego Martin. And Audio Ronaldo in San Fernando. Mike, the mechanic, in Point Fortin and Cousin Cleary in Castara. Whe-whe John in John John and Gold Teeth Gemma in Tabaquite. Persad in Preysal and Solomon in Siparia. Wainwright in Westmoorings and Best in Tunapuna. Kincaid in Cascade and Sarge in Carenage? How he could feel all ah we is stupidee!?

More than anything else tha’is what I cyar take! The contempt displayed for the population. How he could feel we woulda take that ta-ta? Nah, man, something gone wrong with the man!? Pressure bus the Panday pipe! Somebody lasso the lion! Dat ent the "Bas" I know. The "Boss" must be breaking down. Wha allyuh expect me to say!? This is the Prime Minister, man. The man we say make an Indian breakthrough, evening up the political play plenty ah we say. A step we had to make, even non-UNC Indians proud cause, after all, the N-man here to stay and the C-man ent going no way. Time now to deal fairly and squarely, not One Love for real, but hands touching near enough so that dreamers, like me and Kevin B could begin to think well, yeah, up, up and away.

Instead, almost from Day One the thing start to shrivel up in the Panday sun and all ‘roun the goodwill gorn and all of a sudden a seta men who think they bright taking over the political stage, the one connection, come to think of it, the view they have of all ah we . Mental bobolees to be beaten with bull...Gih-dem lil gravy and dey go grovel in gobar. And now we reach this after hearing that, a nation nonplussed by the State of its own nastiness.

Buh, how we reach here? It have good people here. Bright people. People who not locked into the castle of their skin or maimed by money chasing more money. And yet all ah we sitting down and hearing the Caribbean laugh at us. You think I jumping on any plane and going Barbados,? St Lucia? Definitely not St Lucia? Years ago I went there and the way the people lap me up you’d think I was some kinda king when all I was, for them, was a " South Man" :

"Trini, look we playing a match here come and referee.

"Referee. I never referee."

"Come here, man. You from Trini."

Man, I’d be lucky if I reach Castries now and they ent spit on me.

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