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THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Fond memories of big day

Al Gilkes

THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Fond memories of big day

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Here’s wishing all of you a happy Independence weekend.
For me, it’s one for which age, normally associated with a multitude of physical and mental disadvantages, gives me the pleasure of being able to enjoy my own stored memory of that historic dateof November 30, 1966.
Firstly, I was on the ground involved in the official preparations for the big day. Although saving memorabilia has never been a hobby of mine I nevertheless have a handful of items that have survived alongside me and which include a letter dated September 6, 1966, from then Permanent Secretary Cozier in the Department of External Affairs.
It was an invitation for me to be a member of one of “a number of committees to assist in organizing various functions in connection with independence celebrations for Barbados to be held during the week 27th November to 3rd December 1966.”
My committee, chaired by Senator C.H. White, also included the then Deputy Commissioner of Police, broadcasters Frank Pardo and Vic Brewster and tourism pioneer Paul Foster. We were selected to coordinate entertainment activity during that period, including “dancing in the streets by the general public” on three nights.
This Independence, however, I am more concerned about avoiding becoming a victim of dengue fever again. I say again because I was an unfortunate victim once before, and let me tell all of you who are pelting stones at the foggers that dengue is no sweet bread.
The irony about me coming down with dengue was the fact that I sat in the light of day and watched one stocking-legged female mosquito rise up like a Harrier jet and land gently on the leg, then plunge her proboscis into my skin to infect me with the dreaded disease.
But I was in a position and in a moment of time where and when I could do nothing to stop her.
For it happened with me sitting on my throne and at that exact point when only one thing can happen at a time. She literally caught me with my pants down and took advantage of it.
Today I am very supportive of all the efforts currently being undertaking by the Ministry of Health to educate the public about how to help curb what could soon become a dengue epidemic.
My only concern about this whole exercise is that the fogging machine does not come to my house. Every time it’s in the area I can hear and even see it fogging up surrounding streets and roads but for some unknown reason, the fogging driver does not bring the fogging truck with the fogging machine by me.
And that’s despite the fact that the foggers do come on my road.
Here’s what happens. My house is the second last on the road that ends in a cul-de-sac. But rather than the driver bringing the truck to the end of the road so that any mosquitoes in or around mine and the last house can be fogged to death, he turns around in a marl road before he reaches me and drives the fogging thing back down the road. The result is that neither me nor my neighbour Roger Gill is able to benefit from any of the fogging smoke.
•Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm.