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WILD COOT: Preparing for a skirmish


Harry Russell

WILD COOT: Preparing for a skirmish

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“Wild Coot, you believe that the boss man like Belshazzar, has seen the writing on the wall?
(Tekel) You believe that he has seen the inevitability of the Government ability to deal with the workers as it comes close to crunch time? (Parsin) I know that you said that the Government is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in a canoe surrounded by shark-infested waters.
Ministers and quasi Ministers are in fear of their lives, and worse of all, they believe that if, just if, they happen to survive and reach to shore, people will confront them in a vexatious mood. Perhaps these people face the prospects of joblessness, since while the Ministers were paddling in the ocean, inaction was studiously being subjected to conflicting dexterity.
Oh Wild Coot, you are becoming obtuse. You mean that they are becoming like the Pharisees in the Bible, strangers to the truth. Go Daniel.
Wild Coot, the boys and girls will now be able to sing ‘the merchants got no money, but the union still got the men’. The church reading last Sunday was apt and to the point. ‘What shall it profit a man to leave the unity of the tripartite arrangement and lose his soul?’ Now the Tripartite arrangement, much admired throughout the world, and even copied by other, is in jeopardy.
Brother man, this is the time to put heads together as the crisis looms large, not to run for cover and claim that your cap is too small. Any resort to marches will only make things worse. Marches will only signal to the outside world and possible investors that we have divided leaders and dilly-dallyers leading us.
Blameworthy as the Government is for having played hide and seek for the past four years when they, like the song of the children, should ‘open wide your windows’; it is offering a solution that will not materialize until 2020, but the crisis is now.
As we prepare for a pointless skirmish now that the two sides burnish their weapons. The poor citizens tremble in anticipation of the expected horror. We have hung ourselves on our own petards. Funny enough, our Constitution does not make provision for recall because of ineptness.
We must prepare ourselves for the onslaught. Those who in defiance of St Luke’s gospel lay up treasures on earth may be lucky for a while. Those who were reliant on a heavenly intrusion may wish the National Insurance Fund balances outflows with inflows.
Wild Coot what we go do?”
Let me tell you what a commercial bank is. Everyday it scrutinizes the accounts of its customers. It sees the ebbs and flows of the accounts. It has a telescopic and panoramic view of what is going on in each industry, as its customers come from all disciplines of society. Therefore it can guide and foresee trends. It can forestall a customer going in the wrong direction. How then can you replace it with a Government entity or any other entity including a Central Bank, with a limited view? We need a bank. Even a development bank. 
“Wild Coot you mean you are the one eye man in the land of the blind?”
No. Can it be then that what the ambassador is saying is true? Export businesses in need of working capital, mainly small business, have no access to an expert banker willing to enable his business to confront the intricacies of daily competition, when the institutions with the savings capital of the country find more profit in financing cars, holidays and long term mortgages where the returns are hefty and collateral available.
Our exports have dwindled, our substitutes for exports driven away, and we feed our taste with foreign imports. Many of these imports are fashioned by the profit need of the Trinidadian companies with which we are saddled.
Now such tools as the techniques of bills negotiated, bills discounted, various forms of credits and security of goods as ways of assisting customers with working capital are hardy used as managers of branches have limited authority.
Sad! Mr. Ambassador, although you ‘dis’ the Wild Coot, never a truer word was spoken. 
“Wild Coot, are you going to march if it comes to that? You know that there is no Zion in marching on an empty stomach – ask Napoleon if you know where he is.”
• Harry Russell is a banker.

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