Friday, April 19, 2024

AL GILKES: Home away from home


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FROM MY VERY FIRST TASTE of Trini carnival 25 years ago and the forging of some very close friendships that became more like family ties, I have always considered the twin-island republic my second home in the Caribbean.

To this day, I can get on an aircraft, land at Piarco, take a taxi to a home, open the door, put down my bags, take off shoes and cock up my tail in any chair or on any bed without letting anybody in the house know beforehand that I am coming.

There are only two things I have never done in Trinidad and Tobago. One is that I have never felt a strong enough urge to get behind a steering and drive anywhere because, as good a driver as I consider myself to be, I have never seen myself as any match for any Trini driver “going brave ”, which is most of the time. 

The other thing is that I have never visited Tobago despite being in Trinidad so often that an immigration officer once flipped through my passport and asked, “Boy, is real visit you visit. What sweeten you so in Trinidad, boy?”

I even once considered buying a little house somewhere on a hillside and one day living half of the year in Barbados and the other half over there. But that would require applying for the requisite immigration status and I never got around to checking out what I that would entail to become a half-a-Trini.

Little did I know that there is no need for me  Bto apply for resident or any other status because, believe it or not, I have just discovered that I am a full Trini, one hundred and one per cent.

Why else would I have received an email two days ago, not from any Trini friend, or from Trini Immigration, or from Trini police, or from any of my Trini entertainment associates, but from the Trini Numero Uno herself, no less a person than Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Oh Gawd! And hear what she telling me:

Friend: (she call me friend.)

“Will you back my 20-point plan for a better future for Trinidad and Tobago? Please click here and add your name to show you support my plan for YOUR country.

“There is a clear choice at the election in less than two weeks’ time.

“We can continue to build a better Trinidad and Tobago by keeping our economy on track; continuing to invest in schools and training so people get better jobs; taking a zero tolerance approach to crime; delivering quality health care and access to clean water for everyone; and building crucial roads to link communities.

“That’s my plan – and with it, we can secure a better future for YOUR family and everyone in Trinidad and Tobago.

“But I need your help . . . .”

“And please vote for my People’s Partnership candidates on September 7 so we can secure a better future for Trinidad and Tobago.”

“Thank you, Kamla.”

Well, Kamla, don’t worry. Is comin’ ah comin’ to vote for you and our party. Only thing is you have to send meh the airline tickets and mek the reservations for me and me family at the new Hyatt Regency hotel.

See you when ah reach.

Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email



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