“This makes no sense,” Dr Fuad Khan thunders at one point in his latest online sermon. “Whoever did this system is a dunce! Is time to get rid ah dese fools in the Ministry of Health.”
It’s not easy to decide which set of fools is more wearisome, harder to take—the ones in the Ministry of Health or the ones in the United National Congress.
Khan makes the case for the former.
Oh yes, we all know the ideological position articulated by Basdeo Panday, who is, whoever may claim to be the leader of that party, whoever may hold the title, the UNC’s spiritual leader, its vital force, its spokesperson par excellence.
“It is not the responsibility of the Opposition to make the Government look good.”
It might be blasphemy to say that, like in Genesis, Bas spoke the UNC into being. But it is deadly accurate to say that he spoke the NAR into government—grudgingly agreeing to let ANR Robinson have his way and become the party’s political leader.
Privately, however, he also vowed to let the DAC leader, who was ‘bringing nothing but want everything’, have ‘40 inches ah cock in he bottom’ once the ultimate prize had been secured.
We all know how that turned out.
A urologist by training, the three-time UNC Barataria/San Juan MP has doubtless given much useful advice about where cocks might be put. And, presumably, about arseholes.
He never quite used the term but he did eventually follow the Prime Minister’s example in this video and invite someone to ‘kiss my arse’.
There have been, it is true, no shortage of these videos in recent times as the 66-year-old erstwhile deputy speaker seeks to make his mark on the electorate even though the next election is, in theory at any rate, still almost four years away.
But who knows? Is four years enough to move up the ranks from deputy speaker to Big Sawatee? If you can pluck enough feathers from KPB’s wings and you can somehow get past the patient Dr Roodal Moonilal, the sky is the limit!
And, of course, take frequent pot shots at the incumbent in the MoH and his seemingly servile subordinates in the public health service and/or his comrades in Cabinet.
Yellow Trinidad loves that!
“My dear supporters in Trinidad and Tobago,” Khan begins. Full disclosure.
And he launches into a detailed description of the multiple steps that he, fully vaccinated, needed to complete before he got onto the aircraft that would bring him, after a four-hour flight, to Piarco International Airport.
You have to attach, he explains, the result of your PCR test—negative in his case but positively not cheap!—and a picture of your vaccination card to the travel pass that you have been given and upload all of that to an online site.
Not easy, he notes en passant, if you’re over 40. Fortunately, he had with him an adult daughter, who was returning to Canada while he was making his way back home.
She handled all the upload business; for her, a breeze.
So too, in the Pearson International Airport in First World Canada, was the whole business of negotiating customs and immigration. There, they merely put a ‘Vaccinated’ sticker on her passport and that was that.
At Piarco in Third World T&T, however, everything that Khan had done prior to boarding his flight made no difference once he disembarked. He had to join a looooooooooooong line of people—185 people, he specifies, presumably after doing a headcount—waiting to get their temperature taken at a MoH port health desk.
And get their PCR test, their vaccination card and their travel pass, yes, the same ones already uploaded to the online site, the same ones inspected by authorities in Miami prior to his boarding the flight straight to Piarco, inspected.
It took ‘five to ten minutes per person’. Do the math!
Arguably angry, certainly emboldened, Khan identifies—but does not name—those responsible.
“Your system stinks!” he tells the Minister of Health and the Chief medical officer.
“You’re destroying Trinidad,” he hyperbolises, “with your stupid system!”
There follows the inevitable UNC leitmotiv: “The Chief Medical Officer should resign for putting that stupid system in place.”
Surprisingly in my view, he stops short of calling on the Minister of Health to resign; he does, however, call on him ‘to debunk that system’.
If Khan makes a few dozen more of these videos in the coming months and they land in my mailbox, it will make no difference to the way I vote at the next election.
If someone puts a gun to my head and tells me to vote UNC or else, I’m a dead man.
Despite six years in office, the Dr Keith Rowley-led government remains, in my view, a set of bunglers, preferring the future tense in their major statements and often pretending that the past tense does not exist—except in so far as it pertains to what the UNC did or did not do.
Generally speaking, however, they have managed this Covid crisis well. We would have been in a lot worse place, in my view, had this pandemic caught us with Tim Gopeesingh or even Khan in charge and the UNC medical people responsible for the technical advice.
Nevertheless, I think Khan makes a lot of sense. If what he says is accurate, the system in place should be scrapped. It consumes scarce existing resources and potentially unnecessarily reduces, as Khan points out, additional resources accruing from the arrival of tourists.
Similarly, the sempiternal media conferences, which appear to me to be a PNM equivalent of Khan’s videos.
Why should taxpayers have to foot the bill for PNM advertising? What useful purpose do these daily or bi-diurnal or tri-diurnal conferences really serve except to stroke someone’s ego?
I suggested to a well-placed acquaintance in the MoH that no thought has gone into the reasons why this now largely useless charade—as Noble Phillip will not let us forget—continues.
“On the contrary,” (s)he demurred, properly leaving the quiet part unsaid. “A lot of thought has gone into it; that is precisely why it continues.”
I, for one, now stand corrected; my acquaintance is no fool.