MACHEL-KES AND THE NATIONAL STORYLINE

“The road make to walk on Carnival day,” Lord Kitchener sang in 1963, and won the coveted road march competition.

The calypso authorities have long created a judging format for the annual contest – except that some aficionados now want a change only because they did not get the result for which they hankered.

But the Machel-Kes storm-in-a-teacup is symbolic of the duplicitous and sham narrative in our society.

Look, for example, at how National Carnival Commission chair Winston “Gypsy” Peters attempted to justify having our premier artistes lip sync, Milli Vanili style, at Dimanche Gras, our showcase pre-festival show.

Such recorded presentations are the trend at international events, Gypsy insisted in a morning television interview, and was not challenged by the doting host.

Clearly, no one told the organisers of the Oscars about the lip sync trend, since they had Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper render a memorable duet, one that continues to trend on the social media circuit.

The lip sync craze has also not hit the Grammy’s, where Jennifer Lopez put on a typically superb act.

The lowering of national standards is illustrated in $700,000 being awarded to a calypso monarch, whose championship song remains a mysterious Carnival offering.

Remember the days when we were all acquainted with the top calypso of the season, singing, humming, even whistling, throughout the year?

But these features fit snugly into a society where the prime minister terms the public health care system “one of the best in the Commonwealth” and then travels abroad for medical attention.

Then, in the latest chapter of the wacky Caricom diplomacy on Venezuela, a meeting with the US Secretary of State is announced – and then scrapped – without explanation.

And Caricom keeps a cold silence on the growing political crisis in Guyana and deepening human rights issue in Haiti.

Witness that in Trinidad and Tobago, the police boss has a better rating than elected leaders, even though the crime rate is one of the highest, per capita, in the world.

Note that, instead of confronting the terrorism threat, the national security chief wants the US authorities to withdraw its advisory on the issue.

Look at the fact that, even with a high murder rate, the authorities failed to renew the employment contract of the sole forensic pathologist, leading to a backlog in autopsies.

Examine how the contracts of no fewer than seven Industrial Court judges have been allowed to expire, amid growing concerns that the government wants to abolish this vital arm of the judiciary.

Recall how government insider Wilfred Espinet had criticised the court, and the major national business body had termed the institution as anti-employer.

Then, there are some matters that do not require commentary.

What, really, is there to say about a senior government minister travelling to another corner of the world to discuss T&T’s success on the road to developed nation status? Or the fact that the authorities have mounted yet another expensive international tourism junket?

What explains the reluctance to deal with the growing mess in the judiciary and to disabuse nationals that the government is coddling the tormented Chief Justice?

Observe how a comment on obesity and non-communicable diseases has turned against the public representative showcasing the issue, even though, per capita, T&T has the third highest number of diabetic deaths in the world.

Admittedly, the outburst by Dr. Fuad Khan was hot-headed and caustic.

But the international medical authorities say that with respect to diabetic deaths, this country places third – behind Fiji and Mauritius – among 183 countries.

Diabetes, according to the World Health Organisation, is the leading cause of death in the world.

Against these sample issues, you see how the pointless Machel-Kes discourse fits neatly into the national storyline?

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