Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Waiting to hear from Garcia

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It has just hit me that amid all the chatter about the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling on Myrie, the hundreds of thousands stolen from ATMs by Bulgarian bandits, the spate of murders and shootings, the dengue and flu scare, the layoffs and reduced hours of work, the new Rihanna video and everything else being talked about, that nothing has been heard about Raul Garcia since he left a month ago.
I would have thought, after the conversion  of his status from convict to celebrity and the grand farewell at the airport that attracted front page headlines and double-page spreads with more photographs than I could count, that by now we  would have heard something about an equallya grand welcome in his native Cuba.
But, alas, not a word. So I am left to wonder if,  after he left for Trinidad, he was on the aircraft that was to fly him to Panama. If he was, did he make  it to Havana or did he catch the wrong plane and  end up in South America?
This lack of information has left me missing  my former career as a journalist. For had I not  forsaken that calling in order to become a public relations consultant, I would have been on those flights with him from Barbados to Cuba or would  have been in Cuba already waiting to report back  on his arrival and first few days in the Castro  country that he gave up at the age of ten.
I would have been there just like I was in  South Africa to report on the rebel cricket tour;  in Grenada on the very day of the Maurice Bishop-led coup that overthrew the Eric Gairy Government;  there again for the subsequent United States-led invasion; in St Vincent the day the Soufriere  volcano erupted; in Trinidad when Abu Bakr and  his Jamaat Al Muslimeen took the government hostage in the Red House.
I was even in the same Cuba to report on the first International Youth Congress, among several other assignments outside Barbados.
For one for whom such high regard and acclaim  was created here where he spent the past 20 years  of his life, the fans he so tearfully left behind on departing our shores must be worried sick and craving to hear something, anything about how he is faring.
Just imagine what it would be like to be living  here and not able to hear a single word about  how Rihanna is doing.
Like Bumba, they want to know if he had a safe trip; if he was accorded an official welcome; if he was given a motorcade through the streets of Havana;  if he was given a new home, new car and nuff land  for life; if he has been provided with a high-paying  job by the government.
Conversely, they want to know if rather than being given the royal treatment he was ushered off into  the darkness of ignominy, probably never to be heard from again.
But, I am sure if his new life in Cuba is not one  of celebrity and comfort that he will find a way back  to the welcoming arms of Barbados.
So, Garcia, whenever you are ready, just pack your bags, book a seat and come back to your second home.
• Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email algilkes@gmail.com

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