Please read, Excellency

By Raffique Shah
March 27, 2023

Raffique ShahOnce in a while, when the nation’s ruling elites are summoned to put on display their airs and wears, we at the lower rungs of the social ladder get opportunities to view how those who consider themselves the upper castes parade like peafowls in the finest garments their TT dollar can buy. Fortunately for us lesser mortals television cameras are just about everywhere, especially when ceremonies, rituals and often times plain bad manners come under close scrutiny of the ordinary citizens who look on with expressions of disgust at these pseudo-elites. The installation last week of Christine Kangaloo as president of the republic steered pretty clear of pomp, splendour and those delightful breaches of etiquette that set off gossip among those not invited, those invitees who chose to deliberately stay away and the public who, for entertainment from the upper classes, would otherwise watch ‘Keeping up Appearances’.

From my vantage point, looking at the over two hour event in which the earthy Christine, our new president, braved the disrespectful behaviour of her political opponents of yesterday and with her equally earthy populace who seemed to enjoy the entire affair, it proceeded without any hitches. Many citizens will surely have felt that in light of the economic situation, such galas be suspended until better times return. Mercifully for Christine, The First Gentleman, PM Dr. Keith Rowley and others, nothing marred the morning.

There is nothing wrong with the citizenry enjoying a little pomp and ceremony in these tough economic times. From what I saw on TV there seemed to be no splurging on expensive food and liquor but one can never tell for sure since I was not present at NAPA where the toasting and boasting took place. The little I know about Pres. Kangaloo, she comes across as a genial soul. There were times when senators brought her close to the brink of frustration. She maintained her cool and displayed tolerance that can only work in her favour as she embarks upon revolutionizing the presidency- and this I base on what she said in her first address. If she succeeds in transforming President’s House or part of its grounds, into the panyard she seems keen to have, that will be a huge step forward.

Such small changes could instill in ordinary citizens a feeling of being closer to an official residence where, up to this day, the ordinary citizen can only look at from the outside. A couple of ‘panyards’ strewn across the vast public spaces in the vicinity may just change the perception the masses have of the house and grounds, but more important, have the people feel part of the household.

If I may venture to suggest to Her Excellency, modifications to her proposal to put panyards in presidential spaces and vice versa, she may add controlled volume drumming and the playing of instruments other than the pan- the sitar, the mandolin, the Spanish guitar- since culture in our cosmopolitan country, stretches way past the national instrument. It’s not just music that will make a difference, poetry reading, polite public conversations on topics that will fuse, not divide, the nation [think Hyde Park], and many other simple touches will help revolutionise that office, break it down {not literally} and in many ways put in the reach of the people to whom it really belongs. We are way past the day of the colonizers. The soirees, the afternoon tea, imperial dominance. Talented nationals, among them intellectuals, can change the face of the presidency, the house and the dominance of grounds that separate it from the people. We can get our children and adults to eliminate some of the many hours a day and shift their focus from electronic devices glued to their hands, to reading from the works of local story tellers and intellectuals. Such activities will bring calm to a nation, shift the focus of the youth to exploring our own history, and to lift the level of conversation, discussion to new heights that many of the more advanced civilisations made into an art.

It will be like exorcising the bloodbaths that now prevail and continue to disfigure the society and tarnish our soil, not to add decimate our young people. I may appear to be iconoclastic but let me assure the president, government and all those who recognize that we have a responsibility to put this society back on track, one must break eggs to make a good omelette. If Her Excellency knows anything at all about citizen Shah, aged though I may be, I am among many patriots who will give of our everything to make us one of the best countries in the world. Nothing less will send us to the hereafter with smiles on our faces, not tears on our cheeks.

Thank you for reading, Your Excellency.

2 thoughts on “Please read, Excellency”

  1. The most powerful royal family in TnT is the Garcia family. It is known that they control the PM, Noel Garcia advice is highly valued by the PM. Chairman of UDECOTT, chairman of HDC. In fact it was Noel Garcia who spent an incredible $89 million just to renovate President house. A house built for President Christine Kangaloo. He is the uncle of Christine husband Kerwyn Garcia the first gentleman.

    It is time that TnT recognize its own royal family. People who savour the fat of the land and control the nation’s wealth (most of it). All balisier juice drinkers. It should come as no surprise maximum leader likes to keep all things PNM. The office of the President is not independent of the PNM. Some talk about Robbie but Robbie believed that he was Robinson Crusoe. He manners Panday by holding out on him for 55 days when Panday wanted to bring in people through the Senate for ministerial appointments. Robbie death blow to Panday was when he chose Manning to lead the nation. Giving Panday a kick out of the PM chair and engineered the demise of sweet TnT. Who say the President is toothless. Christine may even offer a Presidential pardon to Nelson.. to protect the PNM.

    Anyways congratulations to the President on holding such a honorable position …

  2. The term “excellency” is a descriptive for the head of State, Presidents, Prime Minister or government officials. In an effort to muddy the waters Kerwyn Garcia was being advertise as his excellency. And lower down in the ad as First Gentleman. Let me say that Trinis like baccanal and cuchur, Kerwyn title should just be “First Gentleman” and not “excellency”. That is a title reserved for the President.

    As per protocol Kerwyn should have had his role defined as they did for the President. These briefs has to be done early in the Presidency to avoid any embarrassing situation. The Queen had a list of strict protocols that had to be adhered to when in her presence. The Presidency became a product of TnT achieving Republic status and prior to it being the Queen representative the Governor General. The last one being Sir Solomon Hochoy.

    In the olden days protocol was an astute requirement especially for anyone representing the nation in a public way. The world was shock during the State of the Union address when the U.S. Vice President husband The First Gentleman Doug Emhoff greeted the First Lady with a beautiful and sweet “lip lock”. The internet and television stations virtually ignore Joe Biden State of Union address and instead the talk the next day was about Doug and Jilly liplock.

    Kerwyn being the first gentleman is set to write his own script. Will he be like Doug Emhoff and steal the spotlight by planting a solid one on Sharon Rowley? The PNM family is very strong, even the PM introduce more of his children at the odd time. Kerwyn Garcia from the looks of it plans to write his own script. It remains to be seen what drama will unfurl in the interesting Presidential days ahead. He is already starting to carve out a role for himself saying he would like to be an example for the men in the nation. The media is already showing a greater liking to him instead of Christine whom many are name shaming as Kangaroo instead of Kangaloo. But it remains to be seen..when the spotlight is place on cockroaches they scatter and hide. When placed on lions they come charging…. The Garcias have nothing to worry about because the media is very PNM friendly….

Comments are closed.