WILD COOT: A play-play budget

HARRY RUSSELL, quijote70@gmail.com

Added 20 March 2017

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YOU MUST BE PLAYING GAMES that little children play. I remember when I was a little boy a couple of years ago, how my sisters used to play keeping house with their dolls as their children.

This same scenario is being played out before us. And we are big men and women. Hear me now. Our chief surgeon is asking for the second time: “Where to cut?” He cannot be serious. Who is supposed to answer? Surely not the Opposition. Is he for real?

The gentleman has prepared the fatted calf. He has invited all of his friends and family to the fiesta.

The head honcho has said the prayer and after grace has been said, there he is with a “choppa”, asking people outside where to chop. Last time he asked that question, got no answers in response, and proceeded with some wild chopping which until now is still reverberating among the unions in the marketplace.

All is ready and the wedding feast has been prepared. He calls Owen and whispers in his ear: “Boy you got any advice on how to use this knife and fork on this prepared dish?” Owen answers that he feels compelled to accept a request to give advice in Barbados. However, he notices that the fare consists of cou cou and flying fish already done. He does not know how to cut that.

The story goes of a woman who had a disagreement with her man. She prepared a dish of cou cou and flying fish. When the man came home, she presented him with the dish.

He got suspicious, as he was not sure of the looks on the plate, so he pelted the dish into the road. Same time a donkey cart was passing and one of the wheels cut the cou cou in half. After it passed, the cou cou came back together again as if it had not been cut in half.

This play-play budget is such a dish. Who says that there is need to cut? What is needed is to throw the dish into the road and prepare a new dish. The “million dollar” question is to know what non-toxic “ingreasements” to put into the dish, especially if you have a small family to feed.

Make sure that there is enough okra. Put a little lard oil in the stew so as to make it easy to turn. Add a little salt but not if you are substituting codfish for flying fish, and make sure the cou cou stick clean. Cou cou is not complete without a little sweet potato and some tomato and cucumber on the side. There is no need to sell the family silver in order to afford a little sweet potato.

Moreover, you need to fry the flying fish with “nuff nuff” sauce to go with the cou cou. Then when you are ready to eat Mr Gentleman, hold the knife with the right hand, and the fork with the left and proceed to cut off small pieces at a time so that the people do not choke, always mindful that a cold Banks on the side will help with the digestion.

If you know that you have to cut because you foresee an overestimation, then cut. Wherever you cut there will be hardship, if you have to cut. But make sure that you have antiseptics to deal with the wounds in the short run. Be sure to take some advice from Shakespeare’s play The Merchant Of Venice, if like Shylock your “house be troubled with a rat”, and you do not want “a serpent to sting you twice”.

In the words of Portia, “Take thou thy portion of flesh; but in the cutting it if thou doth shed one drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods (which are said to be considerable) are by the laws of (Barbados), confiscated”.

Your budget is unworkable and overoptimistic. Go to the IMF and follow their prescriptions. It will inspire confidence among investors and will impress the rating agencies that may not have appreciated how you dealt with the governor.

Renegotiate your bond interest rates of seven and five per cent as the Wild Coot advised people from the start that you would have to do, renegotiate with your creditors and ask for time, change the way some statutory corporations are funded and managed, and stop printing money and making a mockery of the Central Bank. If you do not have the testicular fortitude to do these things for a start, then advise Nero to ring the bell.

Readers are encouraged to pay attention to the guest column by Mr Ralph Jemmott on Page 12 of the last WEEKEND NATION. I suppose that he was observant when he said: “Having produced some able statesmen, we failed to see the emergence of lesser obscure men of diminished intellectual command, moral authority and vision . . . . It is more often equated with a befuddling reticence and silence.” Not surprising, Mr Jemmott was a pupil of Harrison College.

• Harry Russell is a banker. Email: quijote70@gmail.com

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