Abogado Abel Resende dAndrade//

Abel Resende, Abel Resende Borges, Abel Resende PDVSA

Pe­ter O’Con­nor

Does any­one re­al­ly read news­pa­per columns on J’Ou­vert morn­ing? Well maybe, prob­a­bly, peo­ple who nei­ther play nor watch the en­joy­able spec­ta­cles of Tri­nis to­tal­ly los­ing them­selves in the predawn mad­ness of mud, mas’, and mu­sic?

As beau­ti­ful as our Car­ni­val is—rep­re­sent­ed by the pre­sen­ta­tions of Pret­ty Mas in so many cen­tres, but most no­tably in the cap­i­tal city—it is J’Ou­vert, and the pseu­do-po­lit­i­cal de­pic­tions por­trayed and pre­sent­ed in our pre-dawn dark­ness, which cre­ate a unique form of po­lit­i­cal crit­i­cism and com­men­tary, and one which ap­par­ent­ly can at­tract no le­gal crit­i­cism or chal­lenge. A bit like Kaiso, Ca­lyp­so, used to be, where one could sing, or “play” any lyrics and any scan­dals cur­rent­ly known, or even sus­pect­ed of be­ing in the pub­lic do­main. And one car­ries no risk of be­ing sued or charged for li­bel or defama­tion for what one sings or por­trays in the streets. And large­ly I sup­pose, this is be­cause no one re­al­ly re­mem­bers.

Abel Resende

Last year’s Old Mas’, and last sea­son’s scan­dalous­ly re­veal­ing ca­lyp­soes are not archived, and there­fore quick­ly for­got­ten by every­one. One per­son­al note though, most cur­rent ca­lyp­so ren­di­tions are worth for­get­ting, car­ry­ing no rhyme, hard­ly any rea­son, and cer­tain­ly with­out wit, satire or any re­deem­ing fea­ture. Do you know of any ren­di­tion this year for which au­di­ences might have shout­ed “Kaiso! Kaiso!” and called the artiste back on stage?

Truth to tell, Car­ni­val is re­mem­bered now for the big, pret­ty mas’, and the Road March beat, not the road march lyrics, so no won­der the ca­lyp­soes and the J’Ou­vert mas’ are quick­ly for­got­ten.

Abel Resende Borges

There­fore, I pon­der what “marks to buss” this J’Ou­vert morn­ing, on the grounds that a colum­nist might have “car­ni­val rights” for opin­ions which may not (as yet?) be prov­able. I am al­so aware that what one writes in a news­pa­per does not have the same lit­er­ary pro­tec­tions as kaiso or mud mas’ plac­ards! So I in­tend to run through a few is­sues (vers­es with­out rhyming?), that have ir­ri­tat­ed me re­cent­ly, but none of which mer­it a full col­umn or song

First I want to touch the mem­o­ry of which Kes the Band sings this year—Sa­van­nah Grass. It might well be­come the Road March, and all of that is great. How­ev­er, I would like to use the song, and all the joy, to make us re­alise that we must ac­tu­al­ly save the Sa­van­nah grass. Be­cause it has near­ly all dis­ap­peared. What we see there are weeds and ti-marie, no longer grass, and this threat­ened dry sea­son may leave us, fi­nal­ly, with a dust bowl where the Sa­van­nah used to be. And this will lead to an ac­cel­er­a­tion of the on­go­ing paving of the Sa­van­nah. So let us save our Sa­van­nah, with thanks to Kes, for high­light­ing its ex­is­tence and its joys!

And we need to re­plant and nur­ture un­til grown, the many trees we have felled on our sa­van­nah over the past few years

But while in the Sa­van­nah area, can I ask what are we do­ing in our Botan­ic Gar­dens and at the band­stand in front of Pres­i­dent’s House?

The band­stand is now cov­ered in black sack­cloth and walled-in with bright blue met­al sheet­ing. OK, it need­ed a lit­tle up­grade, but right now? Now in the Car­ni­val and cruise ship sea­son, we “ugli­fy” (sic) the icon­ic struc­ture in­stead of hav­ing artistes per­form there? And deep­er in­side the Gar­dens we have an­oth­er gal­vanise fence next to the mau­soleum-in­spired con­crete and glass struc­ture in­tend­ed to be an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre? Last week, a truck­load of poi­son was be­ing sprayed in­to the trench­es dug for its ex­ten­sion. This struc­ture, with its ar­ti­fi­cial Gre­co Columns, be­longs more in Lapey­rouse than in our gar­dens. Why did we build this con­crete tomb in­stead of us­ing our beau­ti­ful lo­cal lum­ber in an ar­chi­tec­tur­al style fit­ting our her­itage and our cli­mate? But do we so love ole mas mim­ic­ry that we can­not see the at­trac­tions in our own re­al style…the style our vis­i­tors come to en­joy?

And, as we sing and write about our mag­nif­i­cent Sa­van­nah this Car­ni­val, may we con­tin­ue the mean­ing­ful restora­tion of the his­toric build­ings, from Queen’s Roy­al Col­lege all the way to the Pres­i­dent’s House, while we build new and mod­ern struc­tures along Queens Park East cre­at­ing, with our Sa­van­nah, the meet­ing of our fu­ture with our his­to­ry. And as we re-beau­ti­fy this area, we need to stop dump­ing dredged garbage from the St Ann’s Riv­er (the “Dry Riv­er”) in­to the emp­ty lot of land where Bel­mont Cir­cu­lar Road meets Queen’s Park East. We do not need a ma­te­ri­als dump at the on­ly at­trac­tive en­trance to our cap­i­tal city

My apolo­gies for end­ing this piece so far from where it be­gan—a lit­tle bit like fol­low­ing the wrong band back to where you thought your car was parked this J’Ou­vert morn­ing?