It remains conjectural whether the prime minister’s seemingly nonchalant demeanor on Monday evening’s In Touch—hosted weekly by the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s prime dispenser of balm for the barmy—had anything to do with the surprise resurrection of his former health minister and House Speaker Sarah Flood-Beaubrun. Or, for that matter, with the opposition party’s planned protest demonstration. Or the next general elections, imminent by some glass balls.
Then again, perhaps it was out of some deep-rooted particular concern for her stressed-out boss that Mrs. JnPierre-Emmanuel had torn herself away from her Blackberry and her knitting to provide her favorite Santa an opportunity to ho-ho-ho-ho-ho! The cornrowed Jade could barely contain her toothy glee as she served her Special Guest the sweet meat that the United Workers Party had finally chosen its Vieux Fort South election candidate hee-hee-hee-hee-hee.
Speaking for myself, it was difficult to tell what had provided the prime minister and his press secretary-cum-interviewer the night’s loudest belly laughs: Ulric Mondesir being fingered by the Jade—or a caller’s expression of immeasurable gratitude for what she delightfully described as the prime minister’s special love for women, clearly demonstrated several months ago when he placed in Emma Hippolyte’s virgin hand the rudder of the ship of state. (Cynical demon that I am, I couldn’t help wondering what it said about our prime minister that on countless occasions he had shown similar love for the equally attractive Philip J. Pierre and the MP for Soufriere.)
Earlier in the day, the unshakably-faithful anticipators of better days had been red-alerted via social media. As for me . . . suffice it to say I finally proved vulnerable to the same curiosity as had killed the most famous cat in the world. I had actually turned my back on Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and the rest of The Voice crew, perchance to learn firsthand what new declarations the Jade might coax out of her boss in relation to unemployment, local manufacturing, not to mention my current special concern, these days euphemistically referred to as “matters relating to the police.”
Suckerrrrr . . . I should’ve known the night’s fare had not been salted to all tastes. Otherwise it would’ve been served in the form of a peppered-up address to the nation replete with the rousing strains of Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia carried by radio and TV stations local and throughout the countless Looshan diasporas from Dominica to Saudi Arabia, the ever-rational Jade waxing euphoric via her usual channels while sharing high-resolution seductive close-ups of her employer. But let’s not cry over what might’ve been when what we received on Monday evening was far more deserving of national grief.
In his rouged-up condescending response to a pitchy voice from the choir, the prime minister agreed that the local media never had a good word for him, but no problem, he could always count on the caller and his own over five thousand faithful Facebook followers to do right by him. Besides, thanks to the Internet, the regular media would soon be a thing of the past—a disaster that evidently his government hopes will strike before the next general elections, doubtless with help from a certain once “oppressive, anti-worker, anti-poor law.” Perhaps coincidentally, some media houses have lately been suffering daily bombings by government auditors, threatened with libel suits and imminent closure.
Meanwhile serious crime overwhelms the nation, while accused citizens languish in prison with no idea when they will have their constitutionally guaranteed day in court. The nation’s main courthouse and its crime lab have effectively been shut down; once law-abiding citizens have taken to dishing out their own brand of justice, all of it on-camera!
In between threats against perceived enemy-detractors and citizen-critics, on Monday evening the prime minister delivered his well-rehearsed siren songs. He claimed, obviously without the smallest fear of contradiction by his press secretary in fetching red interviewer’s costume, that “the economy is on the rebound.” Unemployment figures, until Monday evening unknown, were “now showing signs of improvement.” More and more NICE jobs-jobs-jobs were daily being invented, for which the sick and shut-in were especially grateful. His multi-faceted interviewer saw no need whatsoever to interrupt his ejaculations. You had better be careful what balls you bowl when the man at the wicket pays not only your salary and entertainment allowances but also whatever it might take to keep you in the pink!
At last they arrived at my favorite place. I perked up. Would the prime minister address the widely reported shocker about an anti-government, treasonous conspiracy of business people, opposition politicians and our nation’s only security force? Nearly a month earlier he had personally confirmed prior knowledge of the nefarious plot first broadcast by a caring show host. The prime minister had also promised the especially concerned among us that he would order the acting police commissioner to confirm what already was known and had been widely broadcast!
Even his amen corner must’ve been caught off guard when the prime minister mentioned the IMPACS Report that some six months ago he said he had passed on to the Director of Public Prosecutions—although not before he had spilled most of the “damning” evidence he claimed it contained. On Monday evening the prime minister acknowledged the IMPACS issue was “the hardest” he’d ever confronted. Moreover, that it had caused major upheavals within and without the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (exactly as he had predicted at the launching of the controversial 2013 investigation), and therefore had to be settled with urgency.
Before he took the night’s four predictably worshipful calls from the Red Zone, the prime minister blamed IMPACS and its bloody genesis on the previous administration, and not for the first time, even as the Jade handed him his Pilate wash basin and gold-embroidered snow-white towel.
But now I must pause. As I write the message from the prime minister’s press secretary is that her boss will today (Tuesday) and Wednesday meet in two separate “encounters” in the south and north of the island, police officers who have been “detailed” to attend. By Jadia’s doubtless informed account the prime minister has again seen the need to address—three days in a row, and before that in 2013 and 2015 on TV—“the implications of the imposition of the Leahy Law on Saint Lucia by the United States, and matters relating to the IMPACS Report.”
Alas, this time he wished to address the accused and their work colleagues privately!