Just when I’d dared to imagine a glimmer of hope that our prime minister and I would not forever hold opposing views on just about anything you might name, from the color of the Caribbean sky when no hurricanes are in the vicinity to the true meaning of “whenever convenient,” what do you suppose happened? No, it had nothing to do with shades of gray or blue. Or, for that matter, the possible consequences from miscegenational marriages, whether of black and white or yellow and red.
What had taken me to the realm of this uplifting, fantastical possibility—that one of these guaranteed coming “better days” the twain shall meet—was my recent stunning reintroduction to his videotaped recommendation to Stephenson King when it was his turn to be confronted by bellicose public servants howling for more money.
To hear the then opposition leader holding forth on the steps of the Castries market that unforgettable April evening in 2009, the nation’s most cockered employees had more than earned the right—recession or not—to a 14 percent pay hike. And perchance King knew not where to lay hands on the demanded two or three million, the opposition leader claimed irrefragable knowledge of the precise location of not so precious stones just begging to donate blood.
Quite obviously he wasn’t thinking of friends in Venezuela, China or Cuba. Neither in God-blessed America, insatiably voracious Wall Street vampires having made off with its star-spangled heart!
The self-confessed expiated former sinner and leader of the then opposition was especially cautious not to speak a certain 3-letter acronym, for that might’ve sent the wrong signals and surely branded him the worst kind of traitor. Better to starve, so the multitudes had been careful taught from the earliest days of John Compton, than to discover Saint Lucia in the party-pooper clutches of the IMF.
What the opposition leader had in mind were cuts. Strategic pay cuts. As for the stones meticulously marked for bleeding, with godlike authority he said they were to be found in the more exclusive regions of Manhattan, Ottawa and Washington—where they had been deposited, doubtless as reward for services rendered their prime minister in times of personal need.
He was himself quite a hand at squeezing blood out of overseas-based stone (the best part being that the squeezers remained relatively safe from voting-booth retaliation!). Relatives at home who benefited from the bloodletting had always been particularly notorious for their sanity-protecting amnesia—possibly a consequence of drinking too much from the water under our most famous bridge.
In all events, among the stones the party leader fingered for bleeding in April 2009 was UN ambassador Donatus St Aimee, a total stranger to the majority of Saint Lucians until that earlier recalled boisterous evening when several horn-mad platform performers took relished turns enlightening their Bountiful audience with suitably salted episodes from the ambassador’s private and public life.
A lifelong public servant and perceived influential United Workers Party mover and shaker, St. Aimee had actually given yeoman service to King and country (if not him, then certainly Compton!), especially during his stint at ECLAC that had coincided with the unforgettable 1995 inquiry into UN ambassador Charles Flemming’s alleged finagling of UNDP funds.
On the other hand there was hardly a Saint Lucian not absolutely familiar with Sarah Flood-Beaubrun’s vicissitudinous career: she had been an outspoken MP and a multi-tasking activist, whether for the Roman Catholic Church, for pro-lifers or for the rights of women generally. She had famously been kicked out of Kenny Anthony’s Cabinet soon after she declared her pro-abortion colleagues “baby killers!” during the parliamentary debate that had preceded the predictable legalization of abortion in “certain circumstances” determined solely by the seasonal pro-abortionists!
As I say, I fully had expected that upon his return to office last November Kenny Anthony would’ve demonstrated the courage of his convictions. I might just as well have expected a gilt-edged road map to heaven, hand delivered by Saint Christopher—patron saint of travelers, for some time now disavowed and declared a mere figment of some ancient’s imagination!
Soon after the Labour Party regained office last November, the prime minister replaced St Aimee with the feisty former MP who had introduced to parliament the abortion bill and another to legalize gambling: Menissa Rambally. Her salary plus perks remain uncut!
Flood-Beaubrun’s egg nest, which she reluctantly demitted shortly before the 2011 elections, reportedly for reasons related to her faith-based stances on small-island politics, same-sex relationships, and so on, remains unfilled.
Which returns me to my earlier stated conviction that you’ll discover gold in Soufriere’s bubbling cauldrons—or Philip J. Pierre as prime minister for rel and not just as another actor in the role—before our PM and I see to eye on anything political. (Which, some may be disappointed to learn, does not necessarily make us sworn lifelong enemies!) But then just last Saturday I read in this newspaper an item that I fear I understood far too quickly.
For a split second it had seemed to me that at least one of our countless overseas ambassadors was sufficiently concerned about the local perception as to appear for a change to be working in our nation’s interest, perchance to prove they weren’t all preoccupied with living high on the hog. (Not that anyone could possibly have imagined a hog’s meat in her lip-glossed cake hole, well-advertised avowed Seventh Day Adventist that we all know Menissa to be. Then again, who can say for certain what is or is not abruptly mutable? Her church, for one, had not always spoken charitably about such once-upon-a-time hellfire invites such divorce, organized gambling and abortion by whatever name!
By all I too quickly read in the recalled weekend newspaper item’s opening paragraph, our most recently installed ambassador at the UN had inked a diplomatic arrangement (in our name, of course) with Kangashan. And I thought: Kangashan? Now where have I heard that name before? On the occasion the usually reliable sources on my bookshelves delivered nothing relatively enlightening. I turned to the modern-day tree of knowledge.
For several minutes I scrolled various Internet sites, to no avail. I uncovered nothing even on Facebook vaguely connected with our new friend. And then, there it was, the following: “While physically attacking Normal-types, Kangaskhan has the unique ability Scrappy, which allows her to hit Ghost-types with normal and fighting moves . . .”
Say what! For one mad moment I imagined I was reading the first lines of an address written with our poor GG in mind. Again I checked the newspaper report, this time pausing long enough to gazed in wonder at the accompanying photograph and the physical adjustments time had wrought on our ambassador since her headline-making 1997 arrival in local politics at glorious 21. (I daresay, time has been no kinder to certain writers who shall remain anonymous!)
Curiosity redirected my focused attention to the text. My bad! The diplomatic relationship brokered in our nation’s behalf had absolutely nothing after all to do with Kangaskhan that is, as I would soon discover, “a Pokemon-associated media franchise published and owned by Nintendo and created by one Satoshi Tajiri in 1996 . . . the second most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the
world . . .”
Our newest diplomatic relationship had been established, not with Kangaskhan but with the nation of Kazakhstan. All at once I remembered where and when I’d first heard about that country I imagined at the time was make believe. Of all places, a movie house. But no sooner had memory served than I wished it had not. For in my mind Kazakhstan had somehow been associated with rats.
Back to my various sources of near-instant information. I was obviously having a bad day, for yet again I proved wrong. Kazakhstan, it turned out, was neither rodent infested nor a haven for any kind of rat. What had brought to mind the dreaded transmitter of leptospirosis, not to mention a certain variety of homo sapiens (unrelated to sexual preferences!) was in fact an award-winning performance by a British actor named Sacha Baron Cohen. In the hilarious comedy about “the Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” Cohen had played the lead role as Beau Rat! (I may have gotten the spelling wrong; it might well be Borat!)
After all of that, imagine my immeasurable relief upon discovering the real Kazakhstan had “for most of its history been inhabited by nomadic tribes. By the 16th century, the Kazakhs emerged as a distinct group, divided into three Juz.
Following the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991, the last Soviet republic to do so.”
The principle of the Kazakh leadership had earned it the name “Singapore of the Steppes,” referring to the “authoritarian capitalist guiding principle initiated by Lee Kuan Lew.”
Quite laudably, the territory had “since independence worked hard to develop its economy, especially its hydrocarbon industry.” (Might this be a reference to oil such as at least three experts believe is available—though it seems not to Saint Lucians—in great profusion under our sea at Dauphin?)
Perhaps the best thing about Kazakhstan is that it is at once the ninth largest country in the world by land area and also “the largest land-locked country.”
Conceivably a nation so humungous will have more over-hanging tree branches and other disfiguring shrubbery than they can possibly handle without outside assistance. Or maybe the average Kazakh shares our aversion to menial work.
Especially in these debilitating days of debt and deficits, surely it would indicate great vision on the part of the Kazakhstan government if it should contractually engage a hundred thousand or so of our people to do for Kazakhstan what Kazakhstan won’t do for Kazakhstan.
I don’t mind admitting I feel pretty confident our underpaid and overworked public servants would LEAP at the opportunity to collect some Kazakh oil money—until such time as a certain denizen of Denver, Colorado decides to hand back to the people of Saint Lucia what he must know belongs to all ah we and was never the private property of a particular duo whose special talent is their demonstrated ability to keep each other’s secrets.
Then there are the inheritors of STEP. Surely they too must know the good times won’t forever roll, that before long there won’t be a local tree left standing. Then what will there be left to kill? Obviously the answer grows in Kazakhstan.
Our own obviously visionary prime minister might do well to assign our UN ambassador to persuade her Kazkah counterpart to whom, by the way, Menissa bears a sisterly resemblance, to consider holding indefinitely for us the countless-times-convicted criminals now over-crowding menaced Bordelais.
Oh, and let’s not forget those among us who quinquennially use our best brains for purposes altogether self-serving, and some who had quite recently persuaded the innocent, naïve and desperate to cut their own throats on the vague promise of VAT-producing jobs, jobs, jobs.
Doubtless, the Kazakhs might find use for them as tools to educational demonstrate, as they’ve never been required to demonstrate before, that crime really does not pay—that while better days may well be en-rouge, so too is their time of reckoning!