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Early Bird: Lyricsing in Parliament; how Rodney Charles’ Mia Mottley remark resurrected Explainer

“Have you seen the ad everybody on Facebook seems to be talking about?”

“Yuh want to spoil my morning!” Bobby grumbled, making a long face behind his mask. “Too early to be talking about Facebook, bro! And anyway, I’m not on Facebook!

“And I want to talk about serious business. Do you know what your ‘outta control’ prime minister was talking about when he and the Naparima MP had the cuss-out over Mia Mottley in Parliament yesterday?”

Photo: UNC member and Naparima MP Rodney Charles.
(Copyright Office of the Parliament 2022)

“Me?” I responded, feigning complete ignorance. “Why would I know?”

“Because, like Rowley, like Kerwin Dubois, like Mr Live Wire and like the Facebook sorceress, you,”—he let the pronoun hang in the air for a few seconds—is a bacchanalist.”

“I hope you”—ditto!—“have court clothes!” I retorted. “I doh know nutten about how Naparima alone went and meet some French woman who invitation everybody else ignore. But I hear deh had a time!”

“Order!” Bobby shouted, doing his best imitation of House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George. “Order!”

He whistled a few bars of a kaiso.

“Explainer,” he said, as pleased with himself as if he were Stevie Wonder after a harmonica solo. “Recognise it? Still as true in 2022 as it was 43 years ago.”

Me: Who, one-hit wonder Explainer? Dat didn’t sound like ‘Lorraine’ to me.

Photo: Renowned calypsonian Winston ‘Explainer’ Henry.

Bobby: 1979, bro, ‘Kicksing in Parliament’.

Me: A damn fish market if yuh arkse me.

Bobby: Fish market? A calypso tent! Everybody performing. I watch Wade Mark talking in the Senate on TV the other day, just after the Paria tragedy.

‘That is a conflict of interest. That is a contradiction in terms…’ He twissing up he face like if he have St Vitus dance or something. And I only thinking, ‘Valentino, Valentino. ‘Life is a stage…’

Me: Hahaha. Yuh know who always performing too? Laventille…

Bobby: West, nah? Trinidad Rio, the big word man? ‘The Honourable Member for Pointe-a-Pierre is imputing dishonourable motives to me. But, through you, Madame Speaker, I should like to warn the Honourable Member that should he continue to endeavour to sully my hard-earned reputation, I shall discombobulate his physiognomy with one of my appendages…’

Me: Yuh have him down pat! What about Siparia? Yuh could do Siparia too?

Photo: Minister of National Security and Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds.
(Copyright Office of the Parliament)

Bobby: (in a falsetto) ‘I never told the nay-shun that the Coast Guard murdered the innocent little Venezuelan boy. I’m not Rowley. I said it was the soldier who fired the shot who was a murderer. That’s what I said.’

Me: ‘Batee, I’m sorry/we misunderstood you…’

Bobby: Hahaha.

Disinformation breeds misinformation. Siparia’s questionable explanation seemed to somehow liberate us. And so it began.

Me: Normally, it’s Princes Town who puts his mouth in Siparia’s business. But I hear that, playing man, Barataria/San Juan leapt to KPB’s defence. Not on the floor. In the tea room. Diego Martin slapped him down forthwith.

“You’re defending her? Didn’t she tell you you’re too young to soca…”

But he didn’t quite pronounce the last word the way Machel did.

Bobby: Hahaha. More like Baron. (Crooning) Sweet soca man/ah know yuh like to tease/and I know you could really please.

Photo: Calypsonian Timothy ‘Baron’ Watkins.
(Copyright Caribbean Camera)

Me: You know yuh kaiso, boy. Give me one for last week when Couva talk that piece ah crap.

Bobby: What crap?

Me: When Dr Rowley announced that Diego Martin will soon be the country’s latest borough, Couva immediately raised an objection. His understanding, he said, was that the country has already far exceeded all reasonable borrowing limits.

Bobby: I’m not surprised. Couva not so bright.

Me: Oropouche bright—and good fuh heself.

I hear the first time Gopee-Scoon appeared in the House after the party boat business, Oropouche greeted her with classic Zandolie: ‘Ah want yuh to write all yuh family name on a piece ah paper fuh me.’

Talk about laughter! The room exploded!

Bobby: Oropouche is the one who made San Fernando cry, right?

Photo: Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal.
(Copyright Office of the Parliament 2021)

Me: I heard so. Story is that the Friday after the reshuffle announcement, he walked into the tea room. San Fernando liming with the same people he went to Tim Gopeesingh birthday party with.

Oropouche brace him.

“Eheh, Mr Direct Descendant of the Prophet, yuh still descending? One day flying high in the Privy Council, next day supervising sewer cleaning in county council? You like Rio, boy? Yuh going back to basics?”

An explosion of laughter.

“And putting fancy ad in the papers and on Facebook to try to fool people too!”

Bobby: That’s true? Is that the same ad you were saying everybody’s talking about?

Me: Nah. That one is an ad for a babysitter a media friend of mine told me about. Facebook is saying that the child’s name is Kim and the parent is an MP. It seems one of Shorty’s granddaughters applied and was blanked.

Bobby: So?

Photo: Former attorney general and current Minister of Local Government Faris Al-Rawi.
(via Trinidad Newsday)

Me: Well, the ad was subsequently modified. It now says that ‘Ladies need not apply’.

Bobby: Hahaha. I get it. Shorty. He want a man for Kim.

About Early Bird

Early Bird
Columns that say that, after Covid has done its worst, we’re grateful to be still here and be able to get out of bed early to heed the poet’s Carpe diem injunction and, savouring all the day’s blessings, mine those banal, random, ordinary, routine, unspectacular, run-of-the-mill, early-morning thoughts and conversations we often engage in.

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