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Bull, Princess and Stink: Jabari picks Parliament’s Blue Soap Wall of Shame

Bull, princess and stink—the three words that had the biggest impact in our Budget debate and debate about the debate by Trinidad and Tobago parliamentarians.

Photo: Princes Town MP Barry Padarath. (Courtesy UNC.tt.org)
Photo: Princes Town MP Barry Padarath.
(Courtesy UNC.tt.org)

Contributions in Parliament were generally poor. Few of the elected members analysed the vital macroeconomic matters which all of us have to deal with. Even fewer had constructive criticism of the fiscal policies announced by the Finance Minister.

For the most part, the senior Opposition members based their contributions on a healthy portion of misinformation, half-facts and ridiculous fear-mongering. A few debutant presentations saved the days.

Even though the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago is at the immaculate-looking waterfront building, the institution is rotting.

On no fewer than three occasions, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar referred to the speaker as ‘Madam Deputy Speaker.’

If intentional, it was probably an attempt to unsettle Bridgid Annisette-George early on. If they were genuine mistakes, then the Opposition Leader should expend a little more concentration on the task at hand and address the presiding officer correctly.

Imagine that, my parliament.

Photo: UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar celebrates victory at the 2010 General Elections. (Copyright Frederic Dubray/AFP 2015)
Photo: UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar celebrates victory at the 2010 General Elections.
(Copyright Frederic Dubray/AFP 2015)

Deliberate manoeuvre is a real possibility. At the beginning of his contribution, Dr Roodal Moonilal congratulated Annisette-George on being selected as speaker of the House of Representatives. He then went on to say the last time the PNM put a female speaker on the chair; she ended up under house arrest—totally unconnected and demeaning.

Imagine that, my parliament.

Shamfa Cudjoe would have done well not to parrot Camille Robinson-Regis’ affirmation that the PNM is now in charge of the house. It smells high of tribalism and the discriminatory party politics that have come to be the norm.

Imagine that, my parliament.

No child should ever be bouffed or punished for taunting another with the names ‘buller’, ‘princess’ or ‘stink-anything.’ Through the highest court in the land, and through case law, they have been integrated as standard, non-offensive Trinbago English Creole words and expressions.

Use them at will, in court, in the classroom, anywhere really.

Crosstalk in the house is not even witty or funny. Our parliamentarians aren’t so moved with either their personal opinion or the conviction of their constituents’ opinion to defend anything more vigorously than a party position.

Photo: Minister of Finance Colm Imbert. (Courtesy Power102)
Photo: Minister of Finance Colm Imbert.
(Courtesy Power102)

Colm Imbert’s hacking excuse is dotish at best. His party’s arrogant unwillingness to even entertain any thought of consultation on ensuring equality for the LGBTI community—a far cry from legalising gay marriage—attempts to be the moral compass for the entire country; and Imbert’s “post-crazy” Facebook etiquette prove that he is more than capable of such bigotry.

Such behaviour attacks constitutional and human rights of freedom of choice and association. Imagine that, my parliament. It speaks volumes about where we are as a people that the second most senior law-maker in the Parliament would deliberately tease and scorn a group of people in such a manner.

What makes the word bull so entertaining for a big man like Imbert?

Is there anything honourable about the average parliamentarian?

Robinson-Regis blamed Darryl Smith’s obsession with princesses on youth. Most enlightened, young Trinbagonians would want the implied association of youth and saying silly things distanced from them.

What then is Imbert’s excuse? The opposite of youth?

What place does speculation on the sexuality of Princes Town MP, Barry Padarath, and taunting him about it have in the House?

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left).
Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left).

Imagine that, my parliament.

Whatever Fitzgerald Hinds may or may not have said to Dr Moonilal, he clearly had more restraint and tact to not shout anything so offensive across the floor. If Dr Moonilal is willing to so insult in public, imagine what he might say and do behind closed doors.

It is disheartening that from the get go, Dr Moonilal would put on Hansard, a position from the opposition benches that they are prepared to swing their Parliamentary disadvantage of three, to be obstructionist, based on government bad behaviour, when both sides misbehave.

The Blue Soap Wall of Shame

Darryl Smith: Someone get this man a princess tiara for Christmas.

Colm Imbert: Has a closet full of bull-it proof vestments.

Ayanna Webster-Roy: Hopefully she won’t scratch her behind for the entire parliament.

Dr Roodal Moonilal: Speaker, speaker on the wall, whose mouth is the stinkest of them all?

Photo: Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal. (Courtesy Elections.tt)
Photo: Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal.
(Courtesy Elections.tt)

Congrats to the Prime Minister for restraining his second in command, Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, and encouraging him to get on with his presentation after the stink remark.

The hard part is that none of the offenders is offering anything resembling an apology. The subsequent wordplay, designed to look like apologies, are just further disrespect to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

About Jabari Fraser

Jabari Fraser
Jabari Fraser is a journalist employed at CCN TV6. He is an executive member of MATT.

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19 comments

  1. the remarks were still reprehensible regardless of whether or not barry is in the closet ..

  2. Monies deposited to the Treasury as proceeds recovered form Fraud….Any other conversations are fluff dis rounds…..

  3. All this robber talk doesn’t impress me anyway. I’m waiting to see the Fraud Squad start moving.

  4. Two things though. Sometimes little things reveal something bigger. And we do need variety in our commentary as well. We can’t all discuss oil prices.

  5. Lasana – you can’t be surprised at the FB account closures. That was predicted years ago that if they ever got back into power, their accessibility would be gone.

  6. Satori Fulstrong, this column wasn’t meant to be satire.

  7. Lasana safe…unfortunately I’m not impressed….I hold that this is a distraction issue…Has Barry even come out of the closet?? if not, what is he offended about? The Billions unaccounted for is the far more important issue….. A former PM who opened a hospital and is now asking if it’s compltete is far more troubling…I hope Jabari deals with these issues in the future….satire is not his strong point

  8. Kamla and her cohorts are asking questions about things that they did or didn’t do and this has resulted in them opening up further cans of worms that they should have left closed in their best interest. People have to be held accountable and convicted of all the things we are now seeing (that we were hearing of before) otherwise there will be no change in the country’s belief that we can get away with corruption.

  9. “the PNM would work WITH the Opposition benches for the advancement of our country”

    but the UNC’s history is that of Opposition for the sake of opposition. Bas said it many times. now we see Kamla asking for explanations for money she spent, and seeking rationale on policies he would have implemented.

    The election campaign for 2020 has already begun…

  10. I know now that I was naive if not chupid to even have entertained the thought that this incarnation of the PNM would work WITH the Opposition benches for the advancement of our country. Impsbert’s opening salvos of the budget speech destroyed all hopes and dreams of that and unfortunately set the tone for all that was unsavory there in after.

    Jabari takes full ownership of the House when he says “my parliament” and this is something ALL Trinbagonians need to do… and right now my parliament of ‘never see, come see’ ten year olds need to grow up… and fast!

    Hopes and dreams already dashed, one can only shudder to think of what is to follow in the coming days, months and years.

  11. Totally agree with Jabari being spot on. Plain talk bad manners for some.

  12. Baldeosingh was de best commentary on this topic.

  13. I am still on the fence with Jabari. I find him to be brash and disrespectful.

  14. I would say that’s pretty spot-on.

  15. ” His party’s arrogant unwillingness to even entertain any thought of consultation on ensuring equality for the LGBTI community—a far cry from legalising gay marriage—attempts to be the moral compass for the entire country;”. Question… what the I in LGBTI stand for. How many more letters are to be added to the deviants. P? V? Everyone will want a letter soon. and I don’t need any party to be my moral compass. But I do feel that Mr. Jabari Fraser needs to locate his…and MATT’s.

  16. Watching the performance of the Opposition inside Parliament and outside since September 7, I could not help feeling that the voice of the people was the hand of God. Can you imagine Roodal, TIm, Suruj and Kamla running the show again? Crapaud woulda smoke we pipe! Not that we in the clear yet with Colm and Darryl and Marlene but …