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Home on the range (Rover)

Tony Deyal

Home on the range (Rover)

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A man who is always sexually interested in people other than his partner is said to have a “roving” eye. In Trinidad and Tobago there is at least one man, a government minister at that, who seems to have a “Rover” eye.
He owns one and is now being accused of using his position as the minister responsible for housing to get a quasi-government company he controls, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), to lease a Range Rover, equipped with a police siren and strobe lights, for his use at TT$298 000 (or about US$50 000) per year.
This is not the first time a minister’s choice of transport has provoked criticism. One of them, Vasant Bharat, was accused of getting his ministry to purchase a Porsche for him.
Since Carrera is the name of the island prison off the coast of Trinidad, the talk was that instead of driving a Porsche Carrera, the minister should be driven and kept there.  
Fancy cars by government officials have attracted as much criticism as admiration and there were concerns recently about Jamaican politicians. A friend from that country told me, “The reason so many of our ministers are driving BMWs is because it is the only car name they can spell.”
There was also the well known “Prado” government of Guyana. I remember a cartoon of a politician driving a “bull-cart” into a cane field and coming out with a Prado SUV.  
So what is it with these men and their cars?  
Romance writer Anita Clenney is convinced that all human males are as fascinated with cars as they are with breasts.  
According to one site, “It doesn’t matter what you look like, how long your penis is, or how high or low you wear your jeans. Your car is the one machine that defines you.” Is it true then that big cars are the way that small men compensate for their “shortcomings”?
Clearly the cars we drive say a lot about us. Flashy cars get noticed. But is that all?  
According to Germaine Greer, the Australian feminist, “Pop psychology used to have a lot to say about men and cars. The received wisdom was that rapid acceleration feeds the fantasy of automatic erection, as if a man inside his car were to become his penis, boring into external reality at high speed.”  
So what about SUVs?  
An article on what your choice of cars says about you claims about SUV drivers: “This is the ‘big daddy’ category. We like the power, size and amount of space it provides. And we aren’t worried about depleting fossil fuels, either. This may not be an environmentally friendly choice, but we love the presence it gives us on the highway. Nobody is going to push us around.”
Interestingly, the minister with the Rover eye, Roodal Moonilal, is also Minister of the Environment.
While there is a growing body of knowledge about Objectophilia or people having intimate relationships with things like their cars, the relationship does not have to go that far.  
Gal Saad, a marketing expert, is convinced that cars are among a variety of products used by men to make themselves more desirable in the mating market. He says: “One such product used by men is the proverbial sexy car . . . . Ultimately such vehicles serve as honest signals of one’s high social standing akin to how the peacock’s tail is an honest signal of phenotypic quality.”
The minister claims that the vehicle is “very sturdy” and “equipped for the terrain” so it might be especially good for rough rides and riders.    
But what about the Range Rover? Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear) says: “I know full well that most people hate it. Cyclists. Socialists. Ramblers. And even petrolheads . . .
“And it’s true. When you are in a Range Rover, you can arrange your face with a great deal of care and attention to detail, but, no matter what expression you choose, you will appear to be sneering at people alongside you at the lights. You can’t help it. They’re the little people. And you’re up there, with the gods.
There’s more, too. Many different sorts of people buy Range Rovers. Footballers. Footballers’ wives. Footballers’ mistresses. Drug dealers. Farmers. Businessmen. Americans.”
Trinis too. And talking about being up there with the gods, when a humble reporter questioned him about the Rover, Moonilal responded: “But Rover is very good vehicle. You should buy one if possible.”
As I read that I thought about what Lord Byron seems to have predicted for Moonilal and his government when the next election comes, “Though the night was made for loving,/ And the day returns too soon,/ Yet we’ll go no more a-roving/ By the light of the moon.”
• Tony Deyal was last seen saying that a certain politician’s wife was so impressed by his flashy SUV that she wanted to have sex in the back seat but insisted that he had to drive the car.