Not so long ago, Trinidad and Tobago celebrated its 50th anniversary as an independent nation. Presumably, taxpayers have finished paying soca star Machel Montano for his commemorative CD by now.
It is easy to wonder what all that Independence Day fuss was about, though, as China president Xi Jinping turned up and had Caribbean leaders fawning at his feet. And the Chinese delegates did not exactly turn on the charm.
Local media was barred from a function yesterday because, according to CNC3 Deputy News Head Sampson Nanton, Xi’s entourage did not want “third world journalists” around.
What did Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the supposed “Mother of the Nation”, think about the derogatory remark? Would she drag the offensive Chinese official out by his ear and demand an apology?
Not even close. Persad-Bissessar told reporters that it was China’s function and Xi was free to blank whoever he liked.
The Prime Minister continued (Mr Live Wire paraphrases): And did I tell you he is giving me US$3 billion? I mean “us.”
Children, don’t interrupt mama when she is getting paid. After all, US$3 billion can pay for a lot of self-worth counselling sessions for CNC3 reporters.
Xi and the gang did not waste diplomacy on Caribbean islands who were playing hard to get either. Nations like Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda, who apparently recognised the sovereignty of China’s annexed neighbour and rival Taiwan, were not invited to the China Premier’s visit.
Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller was as excited to be in Xi’s presence as a fat child in a chocolate factory.
“We supported ‘One China’ before it was even fashionable,” Simpson-Miller told CNC3.
Live Wire was unreliably informed that the Jamaican Prime Minister’s boast immediately sparked a furore as regional leaders argued about who bought more Chinese toys or drew larger crowds for Jet Li movies.
Presumably, no one asked why China was so interested in doing business in the Caribbean if the “third world” so displeased them. And, considering Xi’s ruthless approach about which Caribbean Prime Ministers can have a glass of wine in his company, what strings would be attached to his billion dollar “gift?”
But then the People’s Partnership, like many past Trinidad and Tobago governments, is not especially meticulous when it comes to vetting financiers.
Mr Live Wire could not confirm whether ex-National Security Minister Jack Warner fainted on learning that he missed a meeting with a global leader whose wallet could flatten former Qatari football administrator, Mohamed Bin Hammam.