Where oh where has the POTROL gone?

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

When the Min­is­ter of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs as­sured bibu­lous apos­tles at a pub­lic rally sev­eral months ago that Allen Chas­tanet would be­come our na­tion’s prime min­is­ter “over my dead body” many fools rushed in to say Saint Lucia’s only mem­ber of par­lia­ment with a sense of hu­mor had de­clared a state of war—as if in­deed there had not al­ready been an ear­lier cri de geurre from on high: no less than the prime min­is­ter in war paint had more than once an­nounced from the steps of the Cas­tries mar­ket that “this gen­eral elec­tion will be be­tween the Labour Party and the Chas­tanets!” And Kenny An­thony, like his Cab­i­net col­league the MP for Soufriere, had never de­liv­ered a joke that was in­tended as a joke.

On the other hand, Alva Bap­tiste—who by not so re­li­able ac­count prefers to be known as Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of La­borie!—has ab­so­lutely no trou­ble see­ing the funny side of life even when the joke is on him. His un­for­get­table re­minder dur­ing a bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion that al­co­hol is “the lu­bri­cant for diplo­matic in­ter­course” tick­led even the corseted ribs of Emma and Alv­ina—and I dare to say funny bones through­out the re­gion. At any rate, such cor­ners as are not gen­er­ally con­sid­ered con­fed­era­cies of dunces.

Alva was as sharp as a tack on the re­called oc­ca­sion, enough to rec­og­nize that while in­ter­course and dis­course may be in­ter­change­able, the com­bi­na­tion lacked the sly lu­bric­ity in­her­ent in lu­bri­cant and in­ter­course to­gether in the same sen­tence! It need be said that the re­mark had set all fists pound­ing the House ta­ble, al­though one re­mains even now un­cer­tain why. Our politi­cians will ap­plaud al­most any­thing that rings like a booze en­dorse­ment!

I, for one, miss Alva’s, er, bon mots. Not only has the some­times gar­ru­lous MP ev­i­dently lost his voice, it would seem he has also done a dis­ap­pear­ing act. In­quir­ers are more of­ten than not told by his of­fice staff that the min­is­ter is “out” or “at a meet­ing.” Ques­tions or state­ments that nor­mally would have come from the min­is­ter him­self are now is­sued by in­di­vid­u­als whose port­fo­lios have noth­ing what­so­ever to do with ex­ter­nal af­fairs. It’s as if Alva has (dare I say it?) taken a page out of the jus­tice min­is­ter’s man­ual and gone into hi­ber­na­tion for rea­sons he alone knows.

Not a word, not a word, not a word has been heard from Alva in weeks. Not on Walid Juf­fali. Not a word, not a word, not a word on the Saudi’s ac­tiv­i­ties, whether in re­la­tion with the IMO or con­nected to the de­clared “per­sonal mat­ter” of his Saint Lucia-af­forded im­mu­nity. If our high com­mis­sioner in Lon­don does not know whether Juf­fali has a diplo­matic pass­port, shouldn’t the ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­istry have been quick to in­form him—or the in­quir­ing press? They ap­par­ently did not, or were not asked, or don’t know the de­tails of Juf­fali’s ap­point­ment a year ago.

Yes, the prime min­is­ter has ad­dressed the is­sue, sorta. But since when dat’s de prime min­is­ter’s role to speak for the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of La­borie? Even Guy Joseph would know dat’s not right! And now the word is that a spe­cial del­e­ga­tion is in Lon­don “to dis­cuss the Juf­fali case” that in­cludes al­most ev­ery­one, from the pride of Do­minica’s court jesters and his cat to, well, let’s just say the ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter is not on board.

As if that were not suf­fi­cient cause for na­tional alarm, it is bruited about that the prime min­is­ter has de­cided, should he avoid be­ing sent a sec­ond time to pur­ga­tory, that the man best suited to re­place him a few months af­ter the next elec­tions is nei­ther the POTROL nor his clone of a darker shade.

A word to our be­lea­guered po­lice: for the fore­see­able fu­ture, please be par­tic­u­larly care­ful that the dead bod­ies you iden­tify are really who you say they are!

Alva Bap­tiste: Is he des­tined fur­ther to walk in the shoes of his pre­de­ces­sor the late ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Ge­orge Od­lum?

Has he been si­lenced as Od­lum was si­lenced?

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