Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona never did reveal the powers he has that we think he does not. Perhaps it is the ability to erase memories.
It is over 48 hours since Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar left for the funeral of South Africa’s first democratically-elected president and global icon Nelson Mandela. Somehow, Carmona did not make it on to a flight that took off from Piarco with less than a quarter of its seats occupied and which even found room for a handful of journalists.
Persad-Bissessar told the Trinidad Express that she was “honoured and privileged” to lead a “very distinguished delegation” to South Africa.
Mr Live Wire cannot confirm whether the obscure Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador or unheralded Barbados Foreign Affairs Minister started looking around to see if someone else was coming. There were only two Caricom Heads of Government on the flight other than KPB. Others like Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and Guyanese President Donald Ramotar and Surinamese Dési Bouterse made their own way to Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, Caribbean Airlines must placate hundreds of displaced customers from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and the United States while its Boeing 767, which is set to be renamed after Mandela, pays housing fees to stay parked on the tarmac in Johannesburg awaiting the PM’s signal to return to Trinidad.
“Nelson Mandela Airline… Home!”
It is arguably an odd tribute to assign Mandela’s name to a craft that just left hundreds of ordinary citizens stranded all over the western hemisphere while a handful of egotistical politicians turned it into a free drinks limo to South Africa. Maybe the Prime Minister should brush up on her history of the great man.
There has been debate too as to if the PM’s African garb was appropriate for an occasion in which even the South African president Jacob Zuma wore a sober black suit. Whether or not Persad-Bissessar’s outfit was actually a Nigerian ceremonial dress is a debate that Live Wire is not qualified to join; except to say that, if so, it would be like going to a Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day show draped in the Barbadian flag. Africa, after all, is not a country.
Not that anyone in Johannesburg would have noticed yesterday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who once accepted an all-expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa, seemed as happy and distracted as a schoolboy at recess; US President Barack Obama allegedly got boffed by the “Head of the House” for being too “outgoing” with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Zuma was loudly booed whenever his face appeared on the big screen.
Opposition Leader Keith Rowley was there too. Mr Live Wire hopes curried duck was not on Caribbean Airline’s menu. That dish caused serious indigestion for his former leader of the Senate.
In the hullaballoo, spare a thought for the little president that Santa forgot. Carmona, once known in the calypso arena as “Lord Pussyfoot”, has lived up to his pseudonym a bit too well.
Mr Live Wire thinks the President has just two plausible options now if he is ever to catch the attention of the People’s Partnership Government:
Ask Verna St Rose-Greaves to get her bell and accompany him to Parliament on Friday; or borrow Asha Javeed’s two-piece.
Editor’s Note: Mr Live Wire has a sneaking suspicion about what the Prime Minister wants for Christmas. Hint: It has two wings, pilots and puts the Treasure Queen to shame when it comes to sweet limes.
For the love of Caribbean Airlines’ passengers, would you buy the madam her own jet, Mr Bissessar? (She doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to ask Cabinet for one).