Happy Independence Day! Wired868 wishes to extend warm greetings to Trinidad and Tobago on this blessed anniversary.
Fifty-two years already?! If it is any consolation, you have the awkward drainage system of a toddler, the attention span of a seven-year-old and the political sophistication of a 12-year-old.
Congratulations to the national awardees who provided great service and example to the two island republic over the years. Sadly, not everyone felt comfortable accepting praise from this Government; and, for a growing section of the population, the offer of a gift from the Prime Minister seems akin to receiving a dinner invitation from a wolf.
In an effort to de-politicise such an important day in our calendar, Mr Live Wire presents the first 868 National Awards, which recognises both the good and not so good among us:
I NOT IN THAT SH*T (Order of the Republic of 868)
Patrick Manning, former prime minister:
Unlike the famous senator who will be forever synonymous with the aforementioned catchphrase and rat infestations, Manning did not grumble impotently about the hypocrisy of an accolade from a Government that accused him of everything from emptying the treasury to stealing pianos.
His eloquent yet stinging retort should be taught at schools alongside the great literary soliloquies of yesteryear. Let’s just say that US bard Cee-Lo can hire Patos whenever he is ready to do a sequel of his smash hit, “F**k you.”
Merle Hodge, activist:
Hodge was a party to the Constitution (Amendment) Bill and, allegedly, handsomely paid for her time. But the Attorney General made a grievous error in judgment when he mistook her for one of the walking rubber stamps that fill most State boards.
This lady is no addendum-dum.
Wayne Kublalsingh, activist:
In a society where people only “Good Morning Neighbour” when they are quoting 3Canal, it is little surprise that no one seems to appreciate a man who leaves his home in D’Abadie to protest for the rights of fellow citizens as far south as Debe.
And, in a country where few people can concentrate on a story for more than a week, it can be tiring to follow a man so tireless in his convictions.
So, Kublalsingh is the final pick for our most prestigious award; although we will scrutinise his passport to ensure he really is a Trinbagonian.
Order of the Mamaguy (Gold)
Jack Warner, politician, gift taker and fire-trucking scamp:
The man who was deemed too corrupt for FIFA and the People’s Partnership has become the self-appointed champion of integrity and accountability, which surely proves there are no mirrors in his house.
During Warner’s splendid contribution on the LifeSport programme, the Chaguanas West MP noted that only in Trinidad could a Minister like Anil Roberts be involved in such eye-watering scandals and still refuse to resign.
Roberts, belatedly and grudgingly, subsequently took his exit. Warner, who is being investigated for possible money laundering and corrupting customs officials and could face a further probe for the alleged misappropriation of millions in football money, is still in Parliament though.
Anand Ramlogan, attorney general:
Ramlogan gallantly offered to save Trinidad and Tobago taxpayers’ time and money by investigating himself on a criminal matter and, surprisingly, found that he was innocent. Case closed.
Funny that, two years ago, he said he was absolutely clueless on criminal matters as an excuse for his role in the suspiciously flawed Section 34 bill.
Whatever Ramlogan’s flaws might be in law and logic, he has turned “playing smart with chupidness” into an artform.
Eat ah food (Gold)
Prakash Ramadhar, COP political leader:
Simply put, Ramadhar is the Prime Minister’s personal play-doh. Here is a philosophical poser: If Ramadhar opens his mouth and neither Kamla Persad-Bissessar nor Ramlogan are there to tell him what to say, does he make a sound?
Gerald Hadeed, COP senator:
Privately, Hadeed thinks his Cabinet colleagues are a bunch of rats; but he has no intention of forsaking their company while they are at the feeding trough.
In short, the main difference between Hadeed and the hustlers who forage the Beetham dump for goodies is that the senator wears a suit.
Community disservice (Gold)
The Trinidad Express for its coverage of the vicious robbery of comedian Rachel Price’s daughter:
The country’s leading daily did a fine job in its coverage of the LifeSport programme but, like most local institutions, it is almost totally devoid of compassion for the lives of the common man and woman.
Case in point was its coverage of a robbery, just over a week ago. The Express could have stated that a 21-year-old woman was robbed and beaten by two male assailants at the Trinidad Muslim League in St Augustine, which would have alerted readers to the potential dangers in the area without compromising the victim.
Instead, two days after the robbery and with the assailants still at large, the Express named the victim as Rachel Price’s daughter and proceeded to give her name, home address and place of work.
Presumably, the Express did not have her cell number and Twitter address to also pass on to robbers who might reasonably have had no idea who they accosted before the article.
The young lady might never feel comfortable walking through St Joseph after the violent robbery. The Express ensured she may now feel just as anxious in her own home.
The media’s crime coverage:
Okay, the Express is not the only guilty party here. Can someone explain to Mr Live Wire the meaning of “known to the police?” Is that shorthand for this person’s life should not matter to you?
And what is a suspect other than someone the police does not have enough evidence to even charge for a crime?
Is Anand Ramlogan not also known to the police? And is he not also a suspect in a criminal matter? Is it okay to shoot him?
And one other thing; we know the number of murders “climbed again” with the latest killing since no one has been reported un-killed since Jesus.
Can we then put headlines like: “murder rate climbed” in the trash alongside other gems like the van reversed back and the victim remained alive until he stopped breathing?
Marlon Charles, Trinidad and Tobago national women’s team assistant coach:
Charles has coached national women’s teams for the past two decades and had a hand in the development of most of the current players. But, with the country enjoying its best chance of qualifying for the women’s World Cup, the TTFA hired a US coach, Randy Waldrum, to take them over the threshold.
Charles grumbled that he was not consulted; and the TTFA responded by sacking the coach in a press release and attempting to embarrass him with the claim that his players did not rate him.
As it turned out, the TTFA couldn’t raise the money to send the women to Texas to meet Waldrum at the pre-arranged date. So the TTFA called Charles back out to train the team in the interim.
And, when Waldrum could not make it to the women’s first Caribbean Cup match in Port of Spain, the TTFA paid for Waldrum’s 33-year-old son to come and coach for one game with the more qualified Charles as his assistant.
Oh, and Charles does not get a salary, stipend or even a per diem from the TTFA.
Kudos for your sacrifice and service to the game, Charlo; but you are not helping the local coaching community get any respect. Even Tina Turner knew when to tell Ike that enough was enough.
Editor’s Note: Have a great day everyone; but don’t forget to wear black in recognition of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill. Happy Independence Day and feel free to nominate anyone we missed in our esteemed list!