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ONE MORE SIP by Rae Samuel

posted 10 Apr 2014, 10:40 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 10 Apr 2014, 10:41 ]
In Chinese literature/folklore, death is often referred to as "heavier than Mount Thai or lighter than a feather", depending on how one's service to one's fellow man is perceived. As I write this, the death of ANR Robinson has been announced and the 'trib-obituaries'' are starting to flow as 'streams into rivers, rivers into seas’, to use one of Mr. Robinson's well known phrases.

Like a 'good, objective journalist'', (that creature of someone's imagination along with belief in flat earths and virgin births and MSJ forming the next government) like a good 'unbiased' reporter, I am listening to the comments made in the wake of Mr. Robinson's passing.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Robinson was in 'active' politics' since 1956 (see I am picking up good journalistic phrases). Now if I were writing for a particular trade union's webpage I would ask for a definition of 'inactive politics' and come up with the DNA led by Kirk Meighoo, whose claim to fame was that somewhere in Chaguanas a while back he was arrested for all of 5 minutes. They probably let him out when the van stopped for gas.

During his time in public life Robinson served as Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister, President and bane of Basdeo Panday. Poor, poor Bas (in spite of the $10 million and the Kensington flat in London)! Mr. Panday, ex labour leader whom no one calls comrade, is seemingly very venomous when asked to comment on certain matters and Mr. Robinson, even in his transition was not spared.

For Mr. Panday, the late Mr. Robinson was the man who took away his government when there was an 18/18 electoral tie. Mr. Panday thought that he should have remained in office because he 'had more votes'', which is of no consequence in our political/electoral processes. Maybe it is Mr. Panday’s way of rueing that he did not pass that bit of "constitutional reform'' before Mr. Robinson got to him. Of course, out of office, "constitutional reform' is now Mr. Panday's road march/groovy soca/social commentary/tune of choice which he will sing for any receptive ear.

Mr. ex-comrade Panday's comments always refer to his losses. He lost his UNC, he lost his government, and he lost elections because of Ramesh and Trevor. Maybe he should go into business as a 'loss leader''.

But I have strayed. We are speaking of the passing of a former national leader who is no longer with us. But, and bear with me, I think if we allowed Mr. Panday one more day as Prime Minister ONE MORE SIP, the foxy smile would return and the vituperation would cease. And I think it could be done, except for one major hurdle. He would have to fight Errol for it....like hell!

What is/ shall be Mr. Robinson’s legacy? I find it easy to tell of a person's contribution if you can say it in two to three words Sparrow/calypso; Sobers/cricket; Pele/football; Butler/labour; Pat Bishop/culture; George Weekes/OWTU; Bertrand "Birch” Kelman/steelband.

I am suggesting that such are these persons’ contribution that their legacies are written in their lifetimes. So I am asking, dear comrade/s reader/s, which you help me by filling in the blanks so others will know what I may have missed. ANR Robinson/, Therese Mills/, Eric Eustace Williams/, Penny Beckles/, Chalkdust/. Or you may have submissions of your own.