Wednesday, April 24, 2024

SATURDAY’S CHILD: Jack and his rising star

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Two years ago some scientists found that a record-setting heat wave plaguing much of the United States may have been due to radiation emitted from an enormous star located in the centre of the solar system.
They believed that the star, which they named G2V65, may be the same bright yellow orb seen arcing over the sky day after day, and given its extreme heat and proximity to Earth, it is likely not only to have caused the heat wave, but to be responsible for every warm day in human history.  
“Our measurements indicate the massive amount of energy this thing gives off is able to travel 93 million miles and reach our planet in as little as eight and a half minutes,” said Professor Mitch Kivens, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology.
“While we can’t see them, we’re fairly certain these infrared rays strike Earth’s surface, become trapped by the atmosphere, and just heat everything up like a great big oven.”
The star seems to have finally hit Trinidad and settled on it. Now, even though Carnival is behind us, there is still considerable heat in the place as the Soca season has given way to the silly season caused by a three-party battle for the control of 14 local government municipalities and a constituency. So far the battle has generated more heat than light and more controversies than factual content.
At the centre of the rising temperature is Jack Warner, the former Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) vice-president, whose antics and semantics have caused the organization and the government of Trinidad and Tobago to drop him like a hot potato and other people to pick him up like McDonald’s French fries or like the Indian potato dish called “fry alloo” (Hindi for “potato”). Since he is known to be more than slightly slippery, a lot of people treat him like “ochro” (or okra) and avoid him like a banana skin on wet porcelain tiles.
Yet Jack’s political star is growing faster than G2V65 and while many people consider him more like a black hole who, now has his sights set on swallowing up Trinidad and Tobago, a lot of voters are gravitating to him as if he is the Psyche-Magnetron of the Kree or Ruul people of the fictional Marvel comics universe. What few of them seem to appreciate is that the Magnetron was extremely radioactive.
So what is the appeal? 
One of the things I have learnt in my more than 22 years of moving around the Caribbean as a communications and sometimes political consultant is that nobody ever lost an election for “thiefing”, robbing, stealing, ripping off, larceny, fraud or related offence. 
Trinidad is probably more tolerant and more forgiving than the other countries so that what might be a crime in another country could very well end up being a misdemeanour here. I am not saying that Jack has done any of these things but in the twilight zone all shadows lengthen. What I can say is that if Sir Allen Stanford had chosen Trinidad for setting up his now-fallen Empire, he would not have been in jail now and his empire might have even grown in size as he grew in stature.  
The first qualification for political prominence is what we call the gift of the gab. Even though Jack always had a speech defect, he is a natural platform speaker and so, lost in the flow of words, wrapped up in the semi-staccato, slightly stuttering outpouring of revelation after revelation, fact and fiction are as inseparable as Siamese twins. People lap it up like hot porridge on a cold morning. Some never question and others say, “So what? Everybody doing it.”
The second qualification is to make everything sound true. Jack, even when caught in contrarieties and contradictions, immediately finds an explanation, whether plausible or palatable.
The third and most important asset is to have a short memory or none at all as well as the ability to create a convenient diversion if you are put under pressure. When pestered by a journalist and cornered, Jack replied: “Ask youh mudder.” 
According to Wikipedia, “In February 2012 the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) claimed that funds for Haiti donated following the 2010 earthquake were paid into a bank account controlled by Warner. FIFA subsequently froze funding to the TTFF until it received an explanation. FIFA is also withholding Warner’s pension. Warner later suggested that the allegations were a conspiracy, saying that ‘I have nothing to answer to anybody. Who wants to make allegations, make allegations. Ask yourselves, as objective members of the media: ‘Why now . . . ?’ And after you get why now, just join the dots and see.” 
There are a lot of people who are not joining the dots but joining Jack’s political party. It is something that makes me feel like the Silver Surfer and I, too, Marvel.
• Tony Deyal was last seen saying Jack Warner reminds him of former United States vice-president Spiro Agnew.

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