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​Mas in the Time of Corona

A version of this column appeared on Carnival Friday in 1992, when the panic was over cholera. Current Finance Minister Colm Imbert held the Health portfolio in Cabinet and Panorama finals were on Carnival Sunday night

AT A DAY fete on Sunday, I had to drink beer all day long. It was either that or rum-and-cholera. Luckily for me drinking beer all day long was not difficult. I can think of worse fates. Not drinking beer all day long, eg, comes to mind, as does drinking boiled water. Boiled water tastes either of nothing or of kettle and neither tastes as appetising as dirty water. It must be the germs and filth that flavour water well. Most things in life becoming boring when sanitisied and water is no exception, but this was in the pipeline from the time we allowed Aids to happen. Now two perfectly normal acts you think about a dozen times a day can kill you. Don't "safe sex" and "boiled water" sound exactly the same? What's next? One day, we’ll kiss a stranger and explode.
But this cholera (pronounced by a drunken friend with the "ch" sounded, as in "channa") is affecting my Carnival in a big way. No rum and water. Or, worse still, hot rum and water. Or, worser stiller, hot rum, no water. I'm told ice is safe but can I really believe that? It was a drunk friend who assured me ice could be consumed in a drink without risking infection. He told me he would prove ice was safe by having a rum and water himself. I tell you, this damned disease has us in school: I promise to get cholera if you promise to get cholera.
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​Pan in a Major Minor

PAN IN THE Savannah Sunday — which Y’Boy know is really “Semis” nowadays but which Y’Boy, becaw he in this pan thing long-long-long, doesn’t can think about excepting as “Prelims” — and Y’Boy walking by he one on the Savannah pitch-walk opposite the US Sex Worker-Briber-in-Chief Embassy, right there by the Sagicor building, which part it had, on the wall behind the main steps, that dynamic work of art what Trinis did call, “the Minshall Muriel”.

And, all on a sudden, jus’ so, Y’Boy stop dead in he tracks.
From quite-oh, quite-oh, quite by the entrance to Savannah Track by Memorial Park, for the first time in donkey years, Y’Boy could hear the sound of pan.
You ever hear ‘bout, “spirit lash”?
Y’Boy stand up there on the pitch-walk like a chupidee, begging for mercy, and he t’un he back on Fat Nixon and his interminable firetruckeries, and listen, for a half-minute or so.
Clear-clear, like the moon over Laventy.
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​Fete with the Oppressors

THE RESTORATION of the President’s/Governor-General’s residence (about US$13.1M, TT$89M) and the Red House (US$16.8M, TT$441M) has, predictably and beneficially sparked a national debate — or at least a flurry of contradictory Facebook posts, which is as deep as Trinidadian debates get — about how such impressive sums of money might have been better spent.

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