Battle of the barra: Trinis get rowdy over doubles price increase

It. Just. Got. Real.

The 48-year-old Mahase Kanhai, who, curiously, claims to have been a doubles vendor for the past 35 years, will be remembered for throwing the first blow.

“It was $4 but we had no choice but to increase the price (to $5),” Kanhai told the Trinidad Guardian. “We added the cost of everything and with the passing of the budget… Gas gone up so everything will also go up soon.”

Photo: Is there a doubles double standard?
Photo: Is there a doubles double standard?

It was the combination of simplistic economics and ruthless capitalism that has characterised local “businessmen” for time immemorial.

Kanhai’s reasoning was as sound as Jack Warner’s when, as Minister of Works and Transport, he gave Cabinet a quotation of $10,189,155 to tow a firetruck from a 60-foot trench in Blanchisseuse and eventually settled on a $6.8 million bill.

And Kanhai was on superior ground to Adolphus Daniel, who insisted he deserved and would hold on to a $34 million payment from Life Sport for a teaching job that never started.

But, if Trinidad and Tobago has its way, it will be Kanhai who is hung, quartered and audited by Friday night.

Of course, even at $5, doubles remains the cheapest way to simultaneously satisfy your appetite and clog your arteries in this country. But it is the principle of the thing.

And when Trinis suddenly start talking about “principled stands”, Mr Live Wire does bounce his car starter one time.

Photo: Former "Honourable" Government Ministers Anil Roberts (left) and Jack Warner have rarely been troubled by T&T's morals. (Copyright Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Former “Honourable” Government Ministers Anil Roberts (left) and Jack Warner have rarely been troubled by T&T’s morals.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

There was no principled stance against Movie Towne, although they tore down the mangrove to erect it. None against TV6 for its shameful broadcast of ex-National Security Minister Martin Joseph’s lifeless body.

And no boycotts of Centre of Excellence although—despite building the venue with FIFA, CONCACAF and TTFA money—the facility manager refused to let one of the most gifted Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 football teams in recent memory train there, two years ago.

But let them only hold Kanhai! Who tell him not to have an expensive suit and a university degree, whether fake or otherwise, before he spoke his nonsense!

The rallying cries for the “Battle of the Barra”—copyright 868-er Vernal Cadogan—or, according to Kala Ramnath, #channaspring have so far been of debatable substance.

One poster suggested that Trinis buy fruit instead, as they are cheaper and healthier.

Will Trinis be asking for a beer and a banana on Friday night at the Dial?

Photo: Ask Ruffina's how much for a doubles dey?!
Photo: Ask Ruffina’s how much for a doubles dey?!

Live Wire won’t bet on it. First, fruit has always been cheaper than doubles. Second, anyone who thinks Trinidadians are looking for healthy eating options should probably get out more.

Another person suggested that people fried an egg instead. Someone else said make a sandwich.

If Kanhai was on Facebook this morning, he would have been laughing his head off.

“I shoulda hit them for 6, yes,” he may have muttered to himself.

Even more posters urged Inland Revenue to descend on doubles vendors immediately. But then there is more than a passing chance that increased taxes would also be passed on the customers.

Just like Kanhai is happy to relay the increased Budget-related costs that have not even taken hold yet.

But that does not mean it is smooth sailing for Kanhai and his “barra brothers.” Not by a long shot.

Somewhere in Trinidad, a super-sized Zorro with a ponytail and a cutlass is probably pulling on black gloves and listening to the theme music of “The Equaliser” with a crazy gleam in his eye.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and who knows what a disenfranchised people might resort to.

Photo: Old man's gotta be the old man. Fish has got to be the fish... And doubles has got to be $4!
Photo: Old man’s gotta be the old man. Fish has got to be the fish… And doubles has got to be $4!

If you still want to have a $4 doubles this weekend, Live Wire has two words to whisper to your vendor of choice that are bound to scare him straight:

Shane Gopeesingh.

Editor’s Note: Mr Live Wire cannot confirm that Shane Gopeesingh’s Facebook status now reads: “I promised that I would never go back to being that angry person… But when I heard about $5 doubles…”

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About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  1. Aye man , de 3 ring stove yuh usin day , wha it usin , super or disesel ?

  2. Dis is jus a political smoke screen…d budget was passed…instead on debating pressing issues abt d future of our country ppl debating dat doubles increase by $1… daz 2 show u hw simple minded trinis r…while we arguin bout doubles we country sinking deeper…welcome 2 sheep life n d media is d shepherd

  3. The aver.doubles vendor is not poor

  4. What is the problem if doubles to five it should be twenty five

  5. Pay the money or leave it alone – If you don’t stand for something – you will fall for everything – you have a choice – but most Trinis don’t stand for anything – they have money they will spend it however they want – Fete , carnival costume or car – tunnel vision – or moving forward like a racehorse with “blinkers” on

  6. You can do this: Buy no more doubles. Or you can ask your Dear Prime Minister, that if he knew that by raising the price of super and diesel, there will be a reaction and prices will shoot up. He will likely say, ‘ Oh yes. I knew that.’ Or he might just say, quoting another illustrious leader, ‘ Why bother. After all the sky is not falling down.’

  7. Kala, I was amazed when I visited the UWI Campus a few years ago to find a Rituals in the place of the ‘small caf’ and it was well populated with students. I thought that in my day, we students would not have been able to afford something like Rituals so to find it on Campus?! well!

  8. KFC, McDonald’s and Rituals are not necessities either. I wonder if we will continue to buy their overpriced and extremely healthy fare. Good for de arteries, research has shown.

  9. Gyro man say that more bring more refugee Syrian. No need for doubles. Beef gyro, Lamb gyro, chicken gyro same meat same cost. Boom.

  10. Omg that’s funny. Thanks for the good laugh!

  11. We ain’t bying no $5.00 doubles

  12. Your move pie vendors. Your move…

  13. They vex this week, but would be buying next week!!!

  14. Let them keep it and see how their bills will be paid …as you rightly said, it isn’t a necessity

  15. I would have to say that once something was not a necessity, it would make it easy to stop buying it. Doubles is not a necessity.

  16. I remember when I was a teen and used to get doubles for free, was from an obese lady by the Chaguanas market who I struck a deal with to keep quiet in exchange for free doubles after eating her doubles one morning on my way to school and something got stuck in my teeth, it had gritty, sandy ends and when i pulled it out it was a toenail from a big toe, she tried to insist it was a piece of dried mango, but I knew better and negotiated my sweetheart deal

  17. So now I’m hearing all kinda reports about who saying ‘dey aint raising dey doubles’, ‘nutten to supply doubles eh raise’ etc. I am yet to see any coordinated responses against the blatant racism on FB. Now, when their finances are being threatened, we’re getting ‘responses’. That’s why you ‘hit’ people where it’s going to hurt, IN THEIR POCKETS! That’s the lesson for today, ‘Let the racism continue, but please buy my doubles.’

  18. I think they would celebrate whatever group raises its price now in a perverse kind of way. But doesn’t mean the price increase itself was coordinated.
    I don’t see vendors at any large scale putting their business at risk for any politician, much less one in opposition.
    In other words, i think the price increase is greed not stupidity. But will see what is unearthed.

  19. Compared to kiss and flow. But good point about our seven day mentally

  20. Somebody pointed out how Flow dropped channels and kept the same price on us too. And after ripping us off for years. Pas de response. Fair point, I think.

  21. Hope Jack don’t sneak out on he pardna yacht

  22. He and all couldn’t afford doubles?! Lol

  23. Doubles vendors eh poor…..and people make a stink about those other increases as well. Then went back to business as usual, just like they’d do with this doubles increase. Complain, then pay the increase eventually….

  24. Yeah. I had some of that roadside Jamaican jerk and festival. Delicious!

  25. I hear doubles with slight planass does real lash

  26. I’m telling you.Sell at $ 4.00;you’ll be a millionaire.Had a fella on Rushworth St.;physically challenged.Sold the cheapest beers,you had to put down your money (16 cents) choose the coldest and open it.While he carried on conversations.

  27. Shane last name is not Gopeesingh though… Jus sayin

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