Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Tony Deyal | Welcome to Trinidad

Published:Saturday | May 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM

As David Rudder says, we have the goods and the bads, and as your Orinoco mouthpiece, I will give you the lowdown and a rundown on all who wining on who, dining on what, and signing the cheques and balances.

About three weeks ago, ship talk was back in town with a vengeance and making waves like Hurricane Janet, especially in Tobago, which is dependent on Trinidad for its goods, but without maritime communications links and suppliers, it gets only the bads, sads and then mads.

Basically, the passenger ferries were breaking down frequently and the major cargo vessel was so tied up in red tape that it ceased to function in Trinidad and Tobago, and despite the Government hearing its siren sound of goodbye, had no suitable replacement in place or ferry godmother or godfather to wave a magic wand or make an offer no boatman, not even Charon, could refuse.

As it was then, Tobagonians were seeing Hades and catching Hell. There are reports that the new arrangements, especially for cargo carrying, are not suitable. The truckers cannot keep on trucking, and the term 'cargo' is really two letters (like 'harass') instead of one. In other words, pronounced in Trini dialect, the new boat 'car go' anywhere fast and people are furious.




One view is that Trinis tend to mix up two English words, 'commerce' meaning 'the activity of buying and selling, especially on a large scale', and 'comess', which the Oxford Dictionary defines as a 'confused or messy situation'. One of my friends on Store Bay, Tobago, who keeps gazing out to sea hopefully and with whom I was discussing events had a very simple explanation. He said, "Well, if is a messy situation, let them get help from Barcelona." They build an empire on Messi. But the problem is transport, and if was me, I will bring in Jason Statham and let him deal with all of them, from captain to cook and from Government to Opposition. I told him to keep on sea-gazing because the Trinidad and Tobago dollar would be floating even higher shortly.

Before we knew it, from ship talk, we arced into wood talk by the cubits. The education minister, Anthony Garcia, known behind his back as Noah (because anything you tell him he already knows), is a former woodwork instructor who became president of the national teachers' association.

Despite knowing the sexual connotations of the word 'wood', which takes it throughout the region beyond being a porous and fibrous tissue found in the stems and roots of trees, he carried it to an official function. Much aggrieved that his predecessor in the ministry (a doctor) referred to him contemptuously as 'a woodwork teacher', the minister disclosed, "I told him that I was the best woodman in Trinidad and Tobago. I had six children to testify to that."

While in Trinidad parlance he might boast, "Ah drop some wood on him," many people thought that the minister's comment did more than show he has a chip on his shoulder. Basically he has to learn to distinguish the trees from the forest, and his wood from his work.

Now, thick and fast like the bands in the annual carnival parade, another contestant is on the stage of public opinion and the nation is all Ayers and nobody knows whether to Caesar or desist.

Marcia Ayers-Caesar, appointed a judge on April 12, 2017, was or still is the chief magistrate of Trinidad and Tobago. Then it became known that she might have left in her journey to the top about 50 'outstanding' cases. Even more outstanding was Ms Ayers-Caesar's resignation as a judge on April 26, 2017, just two weeks after her appointment and a subsequent "bloody fracas" in the cell block area of the Eighth Court in Port-of-Spain when some prisoners awaiting trial before her became enraged on hearing that because of her elevation to the High Court, their matters would be further delayed.




Now the president of the country is being asked to "step in" and the group blamed for the appointment, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, is facing calls from lawyers and others to step down.

While this is still in the public domain, a new claimant for attention has emerged. From ship talk, we have moved to sit talk. The minister of health, Terrence Deyalsingh, said this week that Trinidad and Tobago is suffering from 'sitting disease', and it was probably one of the worst things people could do for their health.

Talking further about the situation, Deyalsingh, who won a seat in the last election, said, "We have to start to introduce into the national conversation a new disease called the sitting disease, and you have to start to talk to your patients about this sedentary lifestyle."

He pointed out: "We drive to work, sit down whole day, your children sit down to play video games ... . The fact is, we sit too much." In other words, the entire nation must get off their butts and engage in sit talk. My cynical friends all asked the same question, "What else is new?"

- Tony Deyal was last seen saying that the minister's war on fatty foods could well be called Custard's Last Stand versus Sitting Bull.