Tuesday, April 23, 2024

On side that can save us


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With all of Barbados’ attention focused on the frightening state of the economy as we, like a car on four bald-pooch tyres skid along a slimy wet road uncontrollably to the edge of a deep fiscal gully, it appears that more people are concerned about the sides that others are on than about their immediate future.
It’s now quite common for discussions or arguments about the current and other situations to be inevitably punctuated with the question “who side you pun?” or “on whose side are you?” depending on the grammatical preference of the person asking.
Like Bumba in his crowning 1986 Pic-o-de-Crop winner, they want to know if you are on Government’s side or the public workers’ side. If it’s the former, they then want to know if you are on the side of the planned axing of the 3 000 plus. If it’s the latter, it has to do with whether you are on the side of the unions not staging demonstrations, on theirs for taking their own action.
On the tangent of the abrupt dismissal of the 300, the question is if you were on the side of Freundel Stuart blaming others for the execution, or on that of the previously very vocal workers for, meekly as mice, accepting the former’s tear-jerking apology and then disappearing into the sounds of silence.
Being on the Government’s side also leads to people wanting to know if you are on Stuart’s side or Chris Sinckler’s, Stuart’s or David Estwick’s, Stuart’s or Donville Inniss’, Stuart’s or Ronald Jones’, Stuart’s or Esther Byer-Suckoo’s . . . and the list continues eagerly along.
On the opposing side, if you wear a red shirt, the first question that pops out of people’s mouths has to do with if you are on Mia Mottley’s side or Owen Arthur’s side. If you label yourself a Mia Bee, you will have to answer to if you are also on the sides of the likes of George Payne, Dale Marshall, Gline Clarke and Kerrie Symmonds.
Conversely, if you own up to being an Arthur Bee, you are called on to let it be known if you are also on the sides of the likes of Edmund Hinkson, Cynthia Forde, Dwight Sutherland, Santia Bradshaw and Jerome Walcott.
People also want to know if you are on the side of the calls for Freundel Stuart to wake up and take a walk away to the back of the benches; and for Arthur to drift quietly off into political sleep and the sunset of his career.
Questions about whose side you are on also figure in several other areas including, of course, West Indies cricket. Like, are you on the side of retaining Sammy as captain of any of the teams or on the side of making Bravo or, as suggested last week, Sarwan as the new caption for all three forms of the game?
This question of which side you are on found one man next to me in a bank waiting to be electronically called to a teller’s position, noting that he has been reading me for a very long time but cannot detect which side I am on. My answer is that the only side I am on is any side that can stop Barbados from skidding and plunging irretrievably into the bowels of that looming fiscal gully.
• Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email algilkes@gmail.com


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