TO KILL A MOCK­ING BIRD!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

LDani Phillippe ast Thurs­day I had the dis­tinct plea­sure of be­ing a guest on what is the most-dis­cussed episode of TALK with Rick Wayne. You could say I was the name­less other guest.

I was the first to ar­rive at the sur­pris­ingly tran­quil DBS stu­dios at Vigie, Castries. Much to my sur­prise the host was not yet present and so I ac­quainted my­self with the fa­mous “Ju­nior.” If you’ve ever watched an episode of TALK, and I do mean just one, you’d know why Ju­nior is “fa­mous”: in the name of the show’s host, he has killed many cats; elim­i­nated many ear hums; taken care of many “hacks” that seek to dom­i­nate the one phone line, if only to per­pet­u­ate and per­haps mock the songs from their re­spec­tive party plat­forms. Sim­ply put, Ju­nior is DBS’s very own tech­ni­cian-ex­traor­di­naire.

Shortly after my ar­rival ev­ery­one in­volved with the pro­duc­tion of the na­tion’s most con­tro­ver­sial TV call-in show was on set. Ju­nior did his usual thing and if only for a minute I felt what it must be like to find your­self be­ing strapped to the elec­tric chair. You know, the one the Brits want us to get rid of. Doubt­less keep­ing in mind the cost of elec­tric­ity we have cho­sen the rope over the elec­tric chair.

A lit­tle past 8:30pm, it was lights, cam­era, ac­tion! The host be­gan his pream­ble which, in my head, was tak­ing for­ever as I waited ex­cit­edly and some­what ner­vously for a show that was to be­come far more than what I had imag­ined it to be.

After tak­ing us down mem­ory lane as far back as 1984, when our then prime min­is­ter, John Comp­ton, de­scribed gov­ern­ment spend­ing as far ex­ceed­ing rev­enue—which our now prime min­is­ter, Kenny An­thony, as if deja-vu, in his last bud­get ad­dress also noted— Rick, as I nor­mally call him, asked our thoughts on the points he noted.

For me, it was not scary to learn our prime min­is­ter had de­clared “war” on cer­tain cit­i­zens (such pro­nounce­ments re­mind me that our politi­cians are the coun­try’s worst in­citers of hate and di­vi­sion).

Rick then probed us on our thoughts on cer­tain is­sues rel­e­vant to us as young peo­ple. The now tar­geted guest Lashawn, while giv­ing his own thoughts on life in Bois Patat and his in­ter­ac­tions with his un­em­ployed teenage friends, said: “Some of them even tell me they want to kill the Prime Min­is­ter.”

I thought to my­self, Wow, I guess I’m not the only one who has heard peo­ple ex­press sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments as a re­sult of their own frus­tra­tions from liv­ing in what our tourist board de­scribes as Sim­ply Beau­ti­ful Saint Lu­cia: a heav­enly place where mur­ders go un­solved; politi­cians de­scribe one another as crooks; where the jus­tice sys­tem com­prises peo­ple who just don’t seem to care enough to do any­thing use­ful about in­jus­tice.

Upon Lashawn’s state­ment, Ju­nior im­me­di­ately took us to break. Rick, be­fore the break, as sur­prised as he was that Lashawn had made the state­ment on air, at­tempted to ex­plain what Lashawn re­ally meant to con­vey. For most, life in Saint Lu­cia isn’t as perky as some “bet­ter days” re­cip­i­ents would like us to be­lieve. Not to men­tion the “poor and in­di­gent” to whom our politi­cians, almost in­stinc­tively, at­tach their char­i­ots.

We were back on the air and the calls be­gan. The very first caller, as if well re­hearsed and ready to at­tack, said Lashawn would have to re­port to the po­lice those friends of his who wanted “to kill the prime min­is­ter.” It had sud­denly turned into night for hy­per­bole. Maybe the prime min­is­ter’s own dec­la­ra­tion of war had the caller con­fused into think­ing there was a plot to out the PM’s lights.

I nev­er­the­less moved on. The show pro­gressed and ended on a high note for me, to the ex­tent that I re­quested from the host a chance to re­turn as a guest on TALK.

The next morn­ing I ex­cit­edly went about my work­place, the STAR of course, ask­ing ev­ery­one whether they’d seen my “tele­vi­sion de­but”. Some dis­ap­point­edly noted they fell asleep early. But those who watched told me how much they en­joyed see­ing Lashawn and me rep­re­sent­ing the youth. I set­tled down to what I ex­pected to be a reg­u­lar day at the STAR.

By af­ter­noon our “of­fice CNN”, as we af­fec­tion­ately re­fer to her, had be­gun teas­ing me that the po­lice com­mis­sioner was on his way, in search of Lashawn and me. My first thought was that I would be spend­ing a few years on re­mand, with­out trial, at our lux­ury 5-star ac­com­mo­da­tion for in­mates in this Sim­ply Beau­ti­ful Won­der­land. As I went to lunch the re­cep­tion­ist also let me know she’d been in­un­dated with calls from me­dia houses for com­ment from Rick Wayne. About what, I would soon find out.

I had to hear for my­self why we had sud­denly be­come overnight news sen­sa­tions. I made cer­tain to tune in to the af­ter­noon’s news, only to be as­saulted by SLP mouthpiece Win­ston Springer as he read out a press re­lease. I could not stop laugh­ing my head off through­out the episode.

The words were read like a cryp­tic code, a mes­sage to “the troops”, I thought. He em­pha­sized the phrase “kill the prime min­is­ter” and used it re­peat­edly in his ridicu­lous con­dem­na­tion of the dooms­day mes­sage preached by Rick Wayne.

I need not men­tion that two days ear­lier Wayne had been lauded by the same Springer for his con­grat­u­la­tory re­marks about the most re­cent SLP con­ven­tion. Springer ac­tu­ally said Rick ha­bit­u­ally reached for the stars. I need say no more!

Lashawn and Dani, last week’s guests on TALK: Lit­tle did they know that much would be made about their

de­but ap­pear­ance.

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