By Fazeer Mohammed
Wednesday, December 31st 2008
You know what? I take everything back.
All the criticism of Sports Minister Gary Hunt for his incoherent babbling and bewildering non-statements on several issues were out of place. It’s not his fault that the Brian Lara Stadium was undertaken as a major project, for it was Roger Boynes who held the portfolio at the time.
So what if he promised an answer on costs and timelines in the Tarouba exercise earlier this year and hasn’t furnished it since?
I mean, the man is now learning the ropes of life in active politics and there are more experienced sawatees smiling contentedly in Parliament even as they blatantly refuse to respond to queries on matters of national importance.
If they could be so boldface, why should the goodly Purple Dragon member feel in any way uncomfortable at not properly explaining why, for example, this Government did not respond in a timely manner to an invitation to bid to host matches at the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean?
Speaking of boldface, Marlene McDonald is also fully deserving of my sincerest apologies. Not that it should matter to her at all, for the Culture Minister is a strident desk-pounding defender of her cause and that of her beloved party and leader.
Like so many of her colleagues, she always appears remarkably content in being steadfastly oblivious to calls from several quarters for clarification on matters within her portfolio.
Indeed, when it comes to resilience in the face of virulent abuse, this Minister has been a leading light in 2008, setting a sterling example for others to follow by her refusal to provide details on $45 million of our money spent over the last seven years to provide scholarships through the Ministry.
I can feel her pain and outrage that we simpletons would dare to suggest that the recipients of such considerable financial assistance were anything less than fully deserving, and that we would be so callous as to demand that the privacy of these people be violated on the laughable pretext of accountability in spending from the public purse.
Okay, so now that I have unburdened my soul and seen the error of my politically-motivated ways, and in keeping with the prevailing mood of turning over a new leaf, can I get a combined contribution of $252,000--at least--to finance a sporting event I’m planning for the Aranjuez Savannah early in the New Year?
If Ministers Hunt and McDonald are so gracious and generous in bestowing contrite little me with some of that considerable (at least before 2009 is done with we) largesse, I promise that their praises will be sung before every marble is pitched, every top is spun and every Flavorite stick boat is raced down the San Juan River.
I mean, if all that is required to loosen the purse strings is a lot of kissing up, like the kind practised by boxing promoter Boxu Potts before and immediately after Jizelle Salandy’s latest fight last Friday, to the extent that he could get $150,000 from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs (with a suggestion of even more next time around), along with $102,000 from the Ministry of Culture and Gender Affairs, then I’m ready to apply any shade of lipstick that is their preference from my wife’s assortment.
Just point me in the right direction to pucker up.
If he has any sense, Jack Warner should be consulting his better half on the most appropriate colour, texture and shade to apply so that he can make a good impression on Minister Hunt the next time they sit across from each other in the Red House.
Wasn’t the football supremo quoted in these pages yesterday as saying that he ’would leave no stone unturned’ in assisting the Soca Warriors on the final push next year to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa?
Well, if Potts could describe Hunt as the worst Sports Minister ever in the nation’s history and then swing around and refer to the same gentleman as his best friend ’from tonight’, similar reversals would hardly be a challenge for the FIFA vice-president, who etched his name even deeper in Trinidad and Tobago’s sporting folklore when he explained away the sudden cessation of hostilities with then Sports Minister Boynes three years ago with the wonderful response: ’Yesterday was yesterday. Today is today.’
Surely Jamal Shabazz knows what he has to do now to get some sort of critically-needed financial support for Caledonia AIA.
Last week the coach of the new FA Trophy holders was talking very emotionally about the challenges of keeping his football dream alive for the youths of Caledonia and surrounding districts. He also wondered how it was so tough to get assistance from Government, given that the area has been amongst the most loyal supporters of the PNM since their symbol first appeared on the ballot paper.
If he doesn’t want to swallow his pride and do what is necessary, that is his business. Why bother with procedure and protocol when a little smooching and kowtowing will get the job done in next to no time?
I have to admit though that it will be tough to match Friday’s mini-Woodford Square rally in the ring at the Jean Pierre Complex after Salandy outpointed Yahaira Hernandez of the Dominican Republic to retain her eight titles.
Still, if they show me the money, I’m prepared to apply the lipstick. Hopefully all the facial hair isn’t a turn-off, though.
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