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Tony Deyal | Rash talk and dentures

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2019 | 12:00 AM
I might sound rash, but politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, even Belize and St Kitts, are now what journalists refer to as “hotbeds” of political activity. Whether this comes from sleeping with the devil, or any of the other strange bedfellows connected with global politics or business, including Donald Trump, Nicolás Maduro, SNC Lavalin or Exxon, the fact is that there is a lot of heat and very little light around these days. It seems that we are in a state of rapid descent into the nether regions in a handbasket or some other fragile and flammable conveyance fabricated by Blind Welfare organisations. Perhaps it is a universal law in politics that as the political tensions increase, more people feel the heat than see the light.

It is interesting that so many Caribbean societies known for their light-heartedness, for taking things light, as well as being light years ahead of other countries in their tolerance and inventiveness, so easily become alight with political fictions, frictions, factions and fractions. As elections near, trying to get to the truth is like attempting to nail a drop of water to a wall.

A few days ago, the Privy Council, still the court of last resort in Trinidad and Tobago, ruled that there may have been a basis to support claims that there was political interference in a decision to withdraw a US$97-million lawsuit against a former official with links to the ruling party. The eminent attorney general, perhaps because elections are imminent, immediately and even after almost four years in office, blamed the Opposition before they blamed him. As one of my friends said, “He take in front before front take him.”

It reminds me of the joke about the prince of an oriental country who, for political reasons, was marrying a princess of another.

The royal spy, sent by the prince’s father, the Lord High King, to ensure that all went well and the deal was not just sealed but consummated, reported to His Highness thusly, “Sire, first the princess said to the royal prince, ‘I offer you my honour.’ He replied, ‘I honour your offer.’ And so it went on for the entire night. Honour. Offer. Honour. Offer …”

The Trinidad and Tobago situation, like the Energiser Bunny, just keeps on going and going, ping-pong, to and fro, like a table tennis match.


Another insight into politics comes from a little boy who asked his father for help in answering a homework question on politics.

The father explained, “Let’s take our home as an example. I am the wage earner or ordinary citizen. But in this case, let’s call me management, since I bring home the bacon. In politics, I am like the prime minister. Your mother is in charge of the money. She is the administrator of the money. In this case she is like the Government. Both of us together take care of your needs, so let’s call you the people. The maid is really the working class. And your little baby brother in his crib is the future. That is what all our plans are about. We have to look after the future because that is what is really important. Do you understand politics now?”

The little boy, still confused, answered truthfully, “I’m not really sure Dad. I’ll have to think about it.”

Late that night, awakened by the loud crying of his baby brother, the little boy went to see what was wrong. Discovering the baby had seriously soiled his diaper, the boy went to his parents’ room and found his mother sound asleep. He then went to the maid’s room where, peeking through the key-hole, he saw his father in bed with the maid. The boy’s knocking went totally unheard by his father and the maid, so he returned to his room and went back to bed.

The next morning at breakfast his father asked him, “So how did you go with your report? You understand politics now?”

The little boy answered, “Yes. I think I do.”

“Well let’s hear it,” the father demanded. “Explain politics to me in your own words because that is what your teacher will want, your words, not mine.”

The boy replied solemnly, “Politics is about the fact that while the prime minister is screwing the working class, the government is sound asleep, the people are completely ignored and the future is a mess.”

Almost all the political heat in Trinidad and Tobago and the other countries is about corruption. While I believe that the Caribbean has the best politicians money can buy, there is still some contention about honesty or whether those that have been bought will remain bought. It is difficult to understand whether the political situation in Trinidad and Tobago will continue to deteriorate or will be resolved.

I used to feel that Richard Nixon’s adviser, H.R. Haldeman, was right when he said, “Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you cannot put it back in.” This is not true, especially if the media are on the side of the political directorate and they prefer dentures, known in the Caribbean as false teeth, or implants or, in the media business, one-sided handouts.

Harold Wilson, the former British prime minister, said, “A week is a long time in politics.” His view was strengthened by French playwright, Jean Anouilh, who insisted that nothing is irreparable in politics. It is why I go back to the toddler in his crib. I might sound rash, but politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

Tony Deyal was last seen asking what you get when you cross a toddler, a penis, a potato and a large boat. A creeping dick-tator-ship. Email feedback to