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Richard Hoad, [email protected]


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I NOW HAVE a personal trainer/manager directing my every activity. He tells me when to bale grass, milk the goats, play cricket. Cricket has become a major activity in our family. Although reaching down for the ball is now a lot further than I used to remember it.

Sometimes when I want to work on the column he will tell me: “No, Grandad, take a rest first”. Yes, he is my four-year-old grandson, Dominic, and that “take a rest” only means he wants me to concoct yet another episode in the on-going saga between himself and his arch-enemies, the Old Man and the Dinosaur.

In most cases the Old Man and the Dinosaur (a seriously big fellow; often eats off the tops of coconut trees) capture Dom or me to eat, but Dom foils their plans by brilliant moves. When we hit the climax where Dom ties them up in the electric fence and they scream “Aiieee! Whooee!”, he jumps in unbridled ecstasy. Some stories have to be re-run three times.

Recently he was deep into a game of Snakes and Ladders with his mother, looking worried, apparently trapped in a snake-infested area. “What’s up, Dom?” I asked. “Grandad”, he intoned sadly,”I’m between the Devil and deep St Lucy!”


Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, for isn’t that where we all are? Between the Devil and deep St Lucy (or the deep blue sea, if you don’t like Dom’s version)? David Comissiong called it right: “Barbados – as we all know – is suffering from a dearth of national political leadership, and is currently in a state of crisis and great peril.”

And then he ran off the rails. For his fancy initiatives all depend on “we must first throw off the dead weight that is holding us down”. So how do you do that, David? We have a duly elected Government. The nonsense that these times are a replica of 1937 won’t wash. Not when every Crop Over event is packed with feters.

And what’s the alternative? Pardon me if I pass on the Cahill saga. Been there, done that with Greenland Landfill. Knowledgeable local people, foreign independent experts, discussions like they really cared. When all the while it was a farce. Insiders kept telling us Greenland was a done deal. Déjà vu, except it’s now the other LP. Some of the same faces who rammed Greenland down our throats now want us to battle Cahill.

Suppose you fired a cook because she wasn’t delivering. You hire another cook but she too isn’t up to marks. Would you put back the first cook? Surely not, unless she could convince you she had taken lessons from Carol Roberts and repented her errors.

Defeated parties seldom admit they did foolishness. The attitude seems to be “you electorate got it wrong, re-elect us”. We don’t even know if a Greenland landfill is still on the BLP cards. Or what other surprises they may have in store for us in the fields of buggery, marijuana or capital punishment.

Wishful thinking

However, if Comissiong can engage in wishful thinking, so can we. Here are a few of my dreams:

1. Our justice system is in shambles. Over 40 per cent of prison inmates on remand. Accused cocaine traffickers set free after trial still ongoing for 12 years. Meanwhile, witnesses died. Another man on remand for eight years.

Prison as a punishment or deterrent is a waste of time and money. Let’s go back to the Roman system. They jailed only those awaiting execution. Magistrates travelled with “lictors” who carried a bundle of rods and an axe. Swift, effective justice.

2. How can we pretend to be concerned about tsunamis yet are rapidly taking down the sand hills which protect this vulnerable coast? Despite warnings from Coastal Zone Management. Stop it!

3. Trinis claim an upsurge in Chinese restaurants in Trinidad is unconnected to a down-surge in stray dog numbers. A Chinese man can be seen skinning a dog on video. They say they don’t serve dog. But do we import any Trini meat products?

4. If, during the stupid practice of CPL commentators talking to a fielder during play, that fielder should drop a crucial catch, aggrieved spectators should be allowed to vent their wrath on said commentators appropriately.

Gotta go now. Dom is calling . . .

Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator. Email [email protected]