Glass in Your Pri­vate Sec­tor!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Rick Wayne

So help me, af­ter that lit­tle episode with the blueeyed faux Saint Lu­cian and his Do­mini­can “lit­tle boys with toys” ( say that again,

please!), I imag­ined the Saint Lu­cia Cham­ber of Com­merce no longer wanted any part of such ac­tiv­i­ties as could in­volve round holes and square-tipped glass, obelisk-shaped or phal­lic.

But I was wrong. Quite accidentally I dis­cov­ered at the week­end that what may be for some a royal pain in the rear can for oth­ers be or­gas­mic bliss.

Some­one with a sewer for a brain told a mu­tual friend to let me know Choice-TV was on Satur­day fea­tur­ing evening one of my more ir­rev­er­ent stars of Amer­i­can TV and, for what­ever rea­son, I imag­ined he re­ferred to take-no-pris­on­ers John Ste­wart.

I tuned in shortly af­ter eight, just as Richard Peterkin was about to tackle a para­graph from my ar­ti­cle in last Satur­day’s STAR, en­ti­tled “Is this the Fi­nal Straw for Saint Lu­cia?” (By the way, what­ever hap­pened to our em­cees for all seaons? I’m think­ing about Fish ‘n’ Boots, Cokes & Aricelia, Earl & Denys (aka The Dead Heads), and what’s his name who used to do those hi­lar­i­ous im­per­son­ations on TV?) Surely they can’t all be on the CIA pay­roll—by which I re­fer to the Cre­ative In­dus­tries Agency.)

As usual, on Satur­day evening Richard played it safe. No one knows bet­ter than he that on this Rock of Sages you don’t land pres­ti­gious no-pay roles such as Cham­ber Clown if you de­vote the small­est part of your day to rocking boats painted red or yel­low. You’re ei­ther a pre­dictable gov­ern­ment gas­bag or you’re not. And if you’re not, then you’re out. Ask Jeff Ste­wart.

Richard imag­ined he was on safe turf when he told his glass-eye­ing au­di­ence on Satur­day evening that the au­thor of what he was about to read out loud was ob­vi­ously con­cerned about “his dwin­dling rel­e­vance.” You know, like Derek Wal­cott, who spends his time writ­ing stuff too deep for even the na­tion’s best brains to fathom.

Richard’s line was not al­to­gether orig­i­nal, I dare to say. For sev­eral years now Red Zon­ers have been push­ing it on Face­book, es­pe­cially when a new scan­dal has hit the fan—or when gen­eral elec­tions are im­mi­nent.

In any event, big words for last Satur­day’s brain train. Richard’s ar­row missed by a mile its in­tended mark. Per­haps his au­di­ence needed more light to see who among them was rel­e­vant in our in­creas­ingly ir­rel­e­vant so­ci­ety. Then again, rem­i­nis­cent of an­other co­me­dian at an­other tax­payer-spon­sored pap­pyshow, per­haps his au­di­ence dis­missed Richard’s lead-in as one more “ir­rel­e­vant de­tail”—as un­wor­thy of their con­cen­tra­tion as the mat­ter of how Gil­bert Chagoury’s name ar­rived on this year’s list of Hon­or­able Saint Lu­cian He­roes.

The em­cee tried again: he sounded quite se­ri­ous as he ad­vised his au­di­ence in the semi-dark­ness that the au­thor had de­lib­er­ately cho­sen to rain on the Cham­ber’s pa­rade by pub­lish­ing on the Cham­ber’s big day his re­veal­ing piece about the IMPACS fi­asco.

Con­fided the barely rec­og­niz­able Richard be­hind his ac­coun­tant’s poker face, the au­thor’s main pur­pose for writ­ing was to em­bar­rass the na­tion’s hard-work­ing prime min­is­ter who, from my van­tage, seemed to fill three chairs a few feet from the poorly lit makeshift stage that was the launch­ing pad for most of the night’s jokes. (Da Jade sat close to her boss, her red-tipped fin­gers ca­ress­ing her BB!) In an at­mos­phere less

vi­cieze Richard’s crack about my as­sumed de­vi­ous mo­tives might’ve tick­led some­one’s sense of irony. Af­ter all, who among the as­sem­bled Cham­ber­glass prospec­tors did not al­ready know our fa­vorite HOG is sans pareil when it comes to em­bar­rass­ing him­self? Never mind his more leg­endary foot-in-mouth feats. Con­sider in­stead his re­cent New Year and In­de­pen­dence Day ad­dresses.

We need not re­visit the stink bomb he dropped on the na­tion the other Sun­day, en­ti­tled “A Dis­tress­ing Is­sue to Con­front.” (A cou­ple weeks ear­lier he had re­ferred to it as “An Un­happy Episode,” and be­fore that, well, who needs to re­mem­ber?)

In the “dis­tress­ing is­sue” speech he had man­aged to mis­rep­re­sent him­self at least twice, re­peat­edly got im­por­tant dates wrong, and for­got who had been the first to talk here about hit lists and po­lice death squads. No need to dis­cuss, Russ, the lit­tle mat­ter of who had in­tro­duced the ID card law and later marked it de­serv­ing of public protest such as had not been seen in Saint Lu­cia since the fire-and-brim­stone hey­day of the Great Satan—all in the good name of you un­der­stand.

Richard, who ac­cord­ing to per­sis­tent ru­mor is the sole cus­to­dian of the gov­ern­ment’s Ir­rel­e­vant Mat­ters File, might’ve done a lot bet­ter with his au­di­ence had he cho­sen to read to them the para­graph that opened my cited “Last Straw” ar­ti­cle.

It cer­tainly would’ve sat­is­fied the “rel­e­vance” re­quire­ment—short and sweet as it is, not to say un­de­ni­able: “Hard to be­lieve, the Cham­ber of Com­merce was once a night­mar­ish horned and saber­toothed crea­ture ca­pa­ble of bring­ing pow­er­ful politi­cians to their knees at the heart­stop­ping sound of a hic­cup.”

Richard de lyin’ heart chose in­stead to en­gage in catch-as-catch-can with my an­gry third para­graph about the Cham­ber’s pussy­cat ten­den­cies. Poor judg­ment.

The pre­sumed ap­pre­ci­a­tors of hi­lar­ity, hoity­toities in suits and gowns— most of them, like the rest of the na­tion, on the brink of bank­ruptcy—had lost what lit­tle sense of hu­mor re­mained in their bel­lies just about the time our chameleonic prime min­is­ter turned an “op­pres­sive, anti-poor and anti-worker” poi­son into the per­ma­nent re­liever of all pain.

The mir­a­cle at Cana doesn’t come close. Surely Richard had to have known the night’s cov­et­ers of Cham­ber glass would quite likely have spent most of last Fri­day evening and Satur­day get­ting their HIB suit­ably re­touched by star weaver Emile and by lesser ma­gi­cians at road­side Hair-IBuy par­lors, to say noth­ing of con­stituency bar­ber­shops and ubiq­ui­tous nail palaces!

Read­ing the week­end news­pa­pers had to be just about the last thing on their one-track minds last Satur­day. Be­sides, don’t most of us pe­ruse our Satur­day pa­pers on Sun­day when we’ve more or less re­cov­ered from the pre­vi­ous night’s dizzy­ing ef­fects?

Then again Richard had him­self re­vealed how lit­tle he knows about lo­cal cus­toms when he pub­licly ac­knowl­edged he never heard about soopap— un­til the dame on the hill pulled him aside at a cock­tail and whis­pered de­li­ciously dirty de­tails in his most re­cep­tive ear. Or did I get that wrong, too? (In­ex­pli­ca­bly, my TV kept act­ing up through­out the Cham­ber’s Glass Awards cer­e­mony.) Did Richard say I had writ­ten “crap­spew­ing wolves of Wil­liam Peter Boule­vard” when in fact I’d writ­ten “shit-spew­ing wolves” etc?

But to leave you with the im­pres­sion that last Satur­day’s Cham­ber Oskars was a to­tal fi­asco would be a mite un­fair. The evening’s Cham­ber Clown was ac­tu­ally quite good when he was bad. The au­di­ence re­ac­tion to his ad­ver­tise­ment of

a par­tic­u­lar brand of soopap

re­sis­tant con­dom threat­ened the venue’s roof. I swear I heard a familiar ho-ho-ho mixed with a high-pitched sibi­lance achiev­able only with split front teeth.

Our prized HOG took some hard knocks to the prime min­is­te­rial go­nads, with no signs of dis­com­fort. But then he must by now be im­per­vi­ous to sneak raids on the fam­ily jew­els, even when laced with mal­ice. It should also be noted that rot­ten eggs tossed in our HOG’s di­rec­tion nearly al­ways ex­plode on our un­pro­tected faces.

Make your joke about VAT—but at whose ex­pense? Too many over­seas mis­sion­man­sions? Guess who pays. IMPACS a sick joke that the U.S. State Depart­ment will not swallow? Guess who’ll suf­fer. Amer­ica de­clares Venezuela hell on earth? Guess who’ll burn.

For me, Richard’s un­spo­ken

def­i­ni­tion of “pri­vate sec­tor” was his best con­tri­bu­tion to Satur­day evening’s satur­na­lia. It had noth­ing to do with the na­tion’s wealth gen­er­a­tor; noth­ing to do with debt-GDP ra­tios; noth­ing to do with Value Added Tax and un­em­ploy­ment. Richard’s pri­vate sec­tor was al­to­gether un­re­lated to what nearly ev­ery re­cip­i­ent of Cham­ber glass eu­phemisti­cally re­ferred to on Satur­day as “the enor­mous chal­lenges we face!”

Nor did Richard’s pri­vate sec­tor have any­thing to do with the in­no­va­tive five NICE ladies who, from a tiny Vide Bouteille back­room, had weekly ex­ported thou­sands of lo­cally man­u­fac­tured lap­tops, cell phones and tablets—ac­cord­ing to a cer­tain red­dish-blond na­tive son once es­pe­cially es­teemed

by Claudius (Saint Lu­cia, did

you hear that?), Da Jade and Ezekiel Joseph’s prize stu­dent Dr. Stretcher!

It re­mains to be seen how much longer Cham­ber men and their distaff side con­tinue with­out mur­mur to take enor­mous chal­lenges up their pri­vate sec­tors.

I should add that to my over­in­formed mind the night’s most de­serv­ing glass re­ceiver was the lady se­na­tor who in 2006 had gifted a some­what down in the mouth ex-prime min­is­ter with brand new wheels—for ser­vices ear­lier ren­dered his con­stituency—the In­tegrity Com­mis­sion be damned!

The night’s sec­ond best poke had to be Richard Peterkin’s

sotto voce com­ment as the se­na­tor sashayed back to her seat in a cling­ing shim­mery sil­ver sheath, the TV cam­eras fo­cused on her un­du­lat­ing pri­vate sec­tor.

In Richard’s doubt­less re­spected pro­fes­sional opin­ion the hon­or­able se­na­tor had noth­ing to fear from Kim Kar­dashian, com­ing or go­ing. An ad­mit­ted FB (which is where he first en­coun­tered soopap) ad­dict with an ap­petite for red-car­pet repar­tee, the night’s Cham­ber co­me­dian could not re­sist com­ing on like Ryan Seacrest at the Em­mys.

“And who are you wear­ing tonight?” he asked, with just the right amount of sea salt on his tongue. Alas al­ready the se­na­tor had trav­eled too far to re­spond like a lady. A gen­tle­man nearer the stage said it all: “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

This time there was no sibi­lant chuckle. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time my ears de­ceived me.

By em­cee Richard Peterkin’s ac­count, when it came down to as­sets Kim Kar­dashian had noth­ing on fel­low-busi­ness­woman and se­na­tor Deb­bie To­biere

(pic­tured re­ceiv­ing Cham­ber glass) last Satur­day evening.

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