By Phillip Edward Alexander
As the year comes to a close many organizations and personalities rush to put out their list of top performers of the year and I plan to as well, but in the meantime I thought we could kick off awards season with a sample of how any awards list I might write might go.
Phillip Edward Alexander is a social and political activist, a feature writer and columnist, the founder of the Jericho Project and the chairman of the Citizen's Union of Trinidad and Tobago
First to make my list and what I think should top most lists is the 'Award for Excellence in Denial.' This award goes to Carson Charles for being possibly the only person who would have attempted to get ON the Titanic after it hit the iceberg and, in taking his party of two to join Jack Warner's party of five in what they have deemed a 'Grand Alliance,' he demonstrates quite clearly that one does not have to be smart to hold public office, because if the ILP and the NAR joining is a Grand Alliance, then surely six crix and cheese has to be a Majestic Banquet, yes?
Then there's the award for 'Accidental Comedy' – political comedian Rachel Price has demonstrated her lack of understanding and sensitivity by doing openly what she accused the prime minister of inadvertently doing, while simultaneously alienating the entire non-black, non-Afro-Trinidadian community from her audience with her comedic racist vitriol.
Served up under the guise of 'tongue in cheek' humour, she appears to have failed to take into account that, by her own words, she also denigrates and insults every person of African descent simply because of the way they dress if they did not wear African inspired clothing. Why?
Because if one were to continue on in the same vein of her 'logic' and based entirely on her take on the PM's choice of attire for Mandela's funeral, every African who wears anything but African garb is, at the very least, confused as to their heritage because, again based solely on Price's logic, if Kamla should not be wearing black people's clothes, then surely black people should not be wearing European people's clothes either. Yes? And the fact that she, Price, has never been able to wear African attire herself, who does she think African attire is for? Or is it that she Rachel is ashamed of African attire, and unlike the prime minister who willingly embraces all cultures, is only content to emulate her former masters so she could 'fit in?' In the times of slavery that mindset was referred to as 'house negro' thinking, coined for the slaves who would do anything to differentiate themselves from anything African so as to get themselves closer to sleeping in 'massa' house and perhaps Rachel needs to double check her position on who can wear what.
And in keeping with the Mandela theme, both the Guardian and CNMG deserve the 'Look Ma, No Fact Check' award for both running a story that existed nowhere else in the world and promising a holiday based on what, no one is yet quite sure. Easily checked if they were interested to, it is highly unlikely that they both made the same silly mistake, leading this writer to believe that they got caught playing follow the leader, and in a classic case of 'cut and paste journalism', one ran with an unverified fake story, the other copied and reproduced it whole.
Love in the Time of Politics Award – Basdeo Panday, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and Jack Warner should have a special category created just for them and handed out in future to others who fail to realize that their time in any sphere of activity has passed. Looking more like the three stooges and less like the elder statesmen at least one out of the three could almost be, they gathered together in a show of force, united once again to take on the woman who beat them all very badly, and like men toting everywhere through history, they blame everyone else for their misfortunes but themselves. Like many others I am sure, I am eager to see them pull a crowd without disguising their intentions as agitating for sugar workers or any other such nonsense and hope they engage a strictly political campaign soon minus the 'bussed in crowds' so that they could know with the same certainty what we all already know, that with their 'sell by' date long passed, the political career of this unlikely trio is long expired.
Journalistic Ballet - Lasana Liburd's tireless work in trying to remake Express journalist Asha Javeed's gratuitous bathroom panty shot into a two piece bikini should at least qualify him for the Project Runway award. This writer has asked him openly on three occasions why of all the issues surrounding the self disgracing of this journalist this is the issue that he has decided to champion? To date he has not answered, and I think it may be time to get fashion professionals to certify what exactly Asha was wearing in that now notorious bathroom mirror photograph, if only to put Lasana's mind to rest on this issue. For whatever his reasons, I say hats off to you Lasana, for calling this out, not for how it, but for how you want the people to see it.
Clearly there is enough in the public domain to warrant many articles on the issue, so stay tuned for part two to what I am sure could become a series in and of itself. Readers are also invited to write to me care of this paper making their own suggestions for awards we could distribute to whom and why.