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Daly Bread: Baigan soufflé and judicial macafouchette; a Mayaro postscript and JLSC jab

Reaction to last week’s Mayaro resumed column was as I expected. Readers welcomed and want more of “feel good” topics that bring some relief from the anxiety afflicting all but the one percent and the mindless fete people.

This column is a postscript, but I must acknowledge reality first.

Photo: The Mayaro beachfront.
(Copyright VicSedford)

People worry about my being in Mayaro because of the well-reported home invasions there. As soon as I returned from there, I received news that a dear colleague with whom I interact in a cultural foundation was beaten up and robbed on her arrival home in the East. Criminal attacks are prevalent everywhere but there is no social development policy to treat with the roots of it.

Then there is the new farce surrounding the 53 part-heard cases left behind by the former chief magistrate.

After inviting public comment, Government has decided against pursuing legislation in an attempt to resolve the problem. Some of us doubted legislation was the way to go because of constitutional impediments to providing a legislative intervention into pending cases and the murkiness of how the former chief magistrate “vacated office.”

I pointed out in the print media that the murkiness of the circumstances in which the former chief magistrate left the office of magistrate was not readily captured by “vacation of office” and other phrases relating to leaving office.

Subsequently, in its comments on the now-to-be-abandoned legislation to give powers to the Court to deal with part-heard cases, the Law Association recommended the addition of reference to “appointment to an office outside the magistracy” to the list of reasons for the exercise of the proposed new powers.

Photo: President Anthony Carmona (centre) is flanked by Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar (left) and Chief Justice Ivor Archie.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

Given the abandonment of the legislation, there is no need further to critique it. Now, Government intends to ask the Court to tell them what to do through the contrivance of an interpretation summons to be heard in court.

This is confusing because the head of the Judiciary is Chairman of the body—the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (the JLSC)—that in the first place created the problem, for which it has refused to accept responsibility.

No one knows what really happened when the JLSC was pushing the former Chief magistrate out of the High Court appointment which it had made without satisfactory due diligence. Given this uncertainty, will the Judge trying the interpretation summons be asked hypothetical questions?

That can’t be, because the Court does not answer hypothetical questions; there has to be a factual matrix.

Can the Judiciary therefore “give advice” in an open court judgment without hearing evidence of what actually took place within the JLSC and between the JLSC and the former chief magistrate?

Further, how will this interpretation exercise sit alongside the judicial review proceedings commenced by the former chief magistrate—the determination of the first stage of which was surprisingly placed on a three-month timetable as though there was no urgency to clear up this mess?

Photo: Chief Justice and JLSC chairman Ivor Archie (left) signs a MOU for use of a new automated Case Management Information System. (Copyright Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago)

Everyone has an opinion about the sea bridge crisis but the sacred cow, the JLSC, has escaped wrath of a similar intensity. So-called civil society has kid-gloved it.

Yet, the JLSC has left us with a sour macafouchette (a meal of leftovers). This is in contrast to the elegant baigan choka (roasted melongene or egg plant), which has become part of Mayaro resumed when proceeding from the North.

Despite improved access to Grande and the south-east coast by means of the Valencia By-pass, it is still best to set out early in the morning to avoid heavy traffic. We dive out the house on the basis that we will fix up when we get there.

Part of the fix-up is breakfast—satisfied by the purchase from S&S Roti Shop in the Sangre Chiquito area—which involves a variety of Indo-Trinidadian food items, such as sada roti filled with one’s choice of spinach, plantain or bodi, and, of course, tomato or baigan choka.

Upon the introduction of a new member of the Mayaro lime to the baigan choka, a discussion ensued about its texture; it was said to be smooth and airy and devoid of any stringiness. In a burst of ecstasy, it was proclaimed to be like a soufflé.

Photo: An order of baigan choka.
(Copyright Alicia’s Pepperpot)

Here’s one for you, Mr Bourdain. Here’s one too for our misguided tourism promoters, who are not alert to fast-moving trends.  As I may have said before, when so-called “twerking” became  celebrity self-exhibition of choice, the promoters missed flooding the North American markets with free copies of “Tief a wine” by Kes.

There are obvious new marketing opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago through food and music festivals. Everything is already in place on the ground.

Meanwhile, even as we seem to be self-destructing in many ways, the entrepreneurial indigenous food sector is hard at work. It is another part of productive Trinidad to be greatly admired.

AboutMartin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation, a board member of The Little Carib Theatre and Folkhouse and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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9 comments

  1. Went to Mayaro last weekend: it has always been one of my favourite places. Lamented to the younger ones about the replacement of the ‘Iron bridge’ to the now concrete structure, as the ‘iron’ one gave the feeling that “we reach Mayaro,” with the sound and view of the Ortoire River below.

    While there, I remembered Mr. Daly and his love for the place. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of ‘envy’ for the people of Mayaro, that they had the opportunity to live in that beautiful place, but then again, even in Mayaro there are setbacks.

    As I passed the Fire Station, I thought about politics – both yellow and red. I looked for my old parlour where myself and my deceased friend used to go to, no less a place than Cherries.

    Mayaro is filled with good memories, and I am making more.

    As for the JLSC, their admittance of guilt is perhaps on the same shelf with the Defence Force’s Report on Al Rawi’s children on the Range. Perhaps as Smart and Prichard enjoy their upscale Victoria Keyes Homes, they’ll give a thought to it.

    …too bourgeois (political/economical/social) to be accountable…

    Life in T&T…

  2. Dayum, that bhaigan choka look good….

    • I’d love to have someone tell us how our food industry does as far as exports go. David Wears, any clue? Or is that business much harder than it looks?

    • Best person to ask is Omardath Maharaj. Omar, what says you

    • Urm…look at the young Canadian who learnt to make doubles and is now a hit on the streets of Toronto. Local food shops flourish, I know from personal experience…leaving Archway to go all the way down to Clapham Junction to eat dhal, rice and curried chicken, with fresh cut pepper and a Carib in a brown bag…

    • Lasana, do you mean exports of prepackaged food or restaurants/food chains/food trucks that sell Trini cuisine in major international cities?

    • Tanya, I figure it would be easier to look at local chains with branches abroad or pre-packaged foods.
      I know there are definitely entrepreneurs like Savitri said who are doing well. I got excellent roti near Shepherd’s Bush and I know there’s Ali’s Roti in Brooklyn.

    • Hmmm, from my limited observation and assessment (meaning I have no data to back this up), l think that in the US, TT food products are well featured especially in diverse coastal communities, or even here in Atlanta which has a large Caribbean community. I can get several products at Publix and Kroger, and the Dekalb farmers market near me has a ginormous range of international produce and packaged food, and there are several African/Caribbean stores in the Decatur-stone Mountain-Lithonia areas, again all of this is due to demographics, all of these areas have large west Indian communities, people of west indian/Latin American descent and Americans who are familiar with our cuisine so there is a solid market….moving out into Middle America though, I seriously doubt the same holds true ….

    • David Wears – in the kitchen with some local content; will follow up soon 😎