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THE LOWDOWN: The make-over

Richard Hoad, [email protected]

THE LOWDOWN: The make-over

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SINCERE THANKS to Sir Everton Weekes for his kind words about my father, E.LG “Teddy” Hoad. Sir Everton wrote: “Hoad had a big influence on me. He gave me my first cricket bat as a boy.”

Sir Everton is one of my heroes. My father often spoke highly of him. But what could the dazzling Weekes and the dour Hoad have in common?

Daddy didn’t lecture or breathe down the necks of us seven boys. The only advice I recall was: “Don’t jucks, boy. Long strokes. Use the full length of your blade.” (When sawing.) And: “if you scotch your feet to get better purchase, yours knees will eventually go!” (That may have come from one of the brothers. I note that brother Bill recently had a knee operation. Some never listen.) Daddy led by example. Get up from the table when you could still eat more. If you can’t afford it cash, you don’t need it. Be self-reliant. He taught me plumbing, carpentry, electricity, some mechanics. He tinkered with his car until he could get 46 miles a gallon. No show, no fuss.

I can think of only one technique he and Sir Everton shared: they kept their balls on the ground. Weekes hit only one six in his Test career yet amassed massive scores. Daddy’s famous motto was A Hundred Ones A hundred yet he headed the batting averages on an England tour.

Let’s leave those two frugal gentlemen and turn to our PM who has declared that his decision to spend $7 million on Independence celebrations is “written in stone”. He will not be moved. I would beg him to reconsider.

First off, everybody sees this as an election gimmick. Beware! The white Bajan conservatives tried that long ago. And what did the people sing and do? “Ah drink up all uh Walcott rum, an’ ah vote for Labour!” It will happen again.

Secondly, nobody believes that Chris Sinckler is right about our finances and every expert is wrong. Shouting at people trying to help isn’t going down well. Things are rough.

Two UWI economists recently explained it clearly: “It should be noted that the short run causality runs from economic growth to financial development when the financial development proxies . . . are used”. A woman put it even clearer: “Things so bad I had to go back giving my husband sex. I can’t afford to buy batteries!”

Consider the following: (1) “Robert Mugabe spent $1 million on his birthday bash while drought-stricken Zimbabwe was begging for $1.6 billion in food aid. Tanzania’s John Magufuli cancelled Independence Day celebrations and spent the money instead on hospitals and roads. Who was praised, who condemned?

(2) Some years ago I played sax in a quartet for Brazil’s national day at the Ambassador’s house. Brazil was in economic trouble. They could pay us only $150. Everything was low-key. Yet everyone admired Brazil’s frugality.

(3) We once had a prime minister who was also adamant. “Like it or lump it”, he told us. Bajans didn’t like it but they wouldn’t lump it. He had to hump it.

Bajans are disenchanted with both parties. Mike Sealy tells me the entertainers may have to form one. Instead of squandering $7m, the Dems need a make-over:

(1) Locate major projects in BLP strongholds. Put the two new desal plants in St Thomas and St George.

(2) Rihanna, everybody, has a perfume named after them these days. The PM’s could be called “Silent Power”.

(3) Artist Psy reportedly earned $8-10 million from his song and dance “Gangnam Style”. Minister Jones with his unique hand movements is a natural and could top this. Write him a song.

(4) Compare Tennyson Joseph looking like a Jehovah Witness in his newspaper photo with his new “rude-bwoy” revolutionary image. Let the whole Dems team go for a similar make-over with TJ wigs and calling each other “Che”. The yutes will go wild.

Mr PM, you say the $7m is not for “extravagance and uncontrolled merriment”; it is not for “unrestrained jollification”. So we’re spending that kind of bread on “reflection”?

This country needs production, discipline. Do you not realise how ashamed we are when we’re labelled “junk”? Or when our neighbours say we’re no longer an example of good governance?

Ponder well, Froon. A blessed Easter to all!

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

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