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IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Cabinet of comedians


Roy R. Morris

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Cabinet of comedians

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WHILE ON MY WAY to work on Monday morning I heard a news report on the high probability of a comedian in Guatemala being the next president of that country, based on the number of votes received up to that time.

Instantly a smile enveloped my face and all kinds of thoughts filled my head – thoughts of what Barbados would be like today if our government was headed by a comedian, rather than a lawyer.

As soon as I reached the office the first thing I did was to call up the international news sites on my computer to check the story for myself. The Fox News headline caught my attention. It read No joke: Comedian wins Guatemala’s presidential election.

And the CNN story read in part: Comedian-turned-politician Jimmy Morales is poised to become Guatemala’s next President, according to preliminary election returns.

Morales, 46, won more than 69% of votes with results from more than 93% of polling stations counted, election officials said. Former first lady Sandra Torres, 59, who was trailing with nearly 31% of votes, conceded late Sunday night.

“Guatemala has serious problems. But the people made their choice. We respect it, and we wish great success for Mr Morales,” she said.

The National Convergence Front’s Morales jumped into the political scene in 2011 with a failed run for mayor of Mixco, a Guatemala City suburb.

“We have a great responsibility. … This mandate that we are receiving is to fight against corruption,” Morales said as results came in Sunday night.

For naysayers who are sceptical of his ability to lead the country, he had a clear answer.

“I have been asked if we have the capacity to govern, and we have been emphatic in saying that alone – no – but with the blessing of God, and the support of the people, we are sure that yes, we can. Because Guatemala has made a choice that it wants a change,” he said.

As I read the story my mind started to put together a Barbados government headed by a comedian and made up of comedians.

At the top of my list were the ever-explosive stick of dynamite, Trevor Eastmond, and the man who must be the world’s most serious comedian, Mac Fingall. For prime minister I gave the nod to Eastmond. Coming after Freundel Stuart, Barbados needs the kind of shaking only dynamite can achieve.

I then debated whether Mac should be deputy prime minister or opposition leader and concluded that since both Owen Arthur and Freundel have demonstrated that a deputy is not essential, I would not select one. Mac therefore fitted squarely into the role of opposition leader. All kinds of thoughts then filled my head about the kinds of exchanges that would take place across the floor of Parliament when Trevor and Mac clashed.

Since the Barbados Constitution requires an attorney general, that was my next task. It was not too difficult. My mind quickly settled on Carl “Alff” Padmore, who has just graduated from the Cave Hill campus. I figured he could do the job since it appears that knowledge of the law is not a major prerequisite for carrying out the duties of the office.

With crime, violence and other social issues dominating our landscape these days, I figured it would be prudent to separate home affairs from the office of the AG, and I decided that PC Broomes would be my man. I figured he would know how to solve the troubling dispute that has retarded police operations. I could hear him telling the various contenders: “Look, don’t bother to run, don’t bother to run!”

The critical ministries that always need a mature, experienced approach would be housing and lands and transport and works, and I figured there were no better persons for the jobs than the Conquerers Comedians – Shepherd and Aamoss.

The folks in education could do with a break from the shouting and the wild flailing of hands, and the cool, calm leadership of Peta Alleyne should do. Imagine a Mia Mottley at the Elsie Payne Complex again.

Since Eric Lewis is afraid of bush, dogs, centepides and everything else that is a problem for farmers, he would be the perfect person for minister of agriculture. I figured, however, he would need a deputy because of all the problems he would have to correct, and that job would go to Stubby The Guard – with specific responsibility for praedial larceny.

My good friend KB Kleen gets the job of minister of social care hands down. Those civil service generated speeches need a little pep on delivery.

You may probably be wondering why I have not mentioned the ministry of finance. The truth is I was thinking seriously of retaining the present office holder, but my adviser Wade Gibbons convinced me Chris can’t tell a good joke if his life depended on it, so I will offer it instead to Boo Husbands. At least when things don’t go right he can legitimately claim he did not see it coming.

The only challenge I had left was to figure out who could control this group in Parliament – who would be an adequate Speaker of the House. Try as I could, no one came to mind as adequate. In the end I decided I would have to resurrect boss comedian Wendell Smith from the grave and put him in the chair.

This honourable house is now called to order . . . Government business is now the instant order of the day.

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