By Emancipation Day morning, the unintentionally hilarious speech/standup ramble by former T&T Minister of Health and soon-to-be-former ambassador to the UN in Gene-va, Her Excellency Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, had garnered more than 84,000 views. Were the world familiar enough with jokey West Indian islands that get more entertaining the more they pretend to be real countries, the video surely would have gone viral, even at 37 minutes, Her Excellency-at-Mistakes is funnier than Ben Stiller on crank. After they’ve viewed it, when they’ve dried their eyes (and tears of laughter have usually turned to despair), most people (134 “likes” v 1,239 “dislikes”) bay for the blood of a woman who, every time she opens her mouth, makes George Dubya Bush sound like the Mensa president. The whole thing was made even worse by the speech being given to the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (whose members were tactful enough not to guffaw at any of the many points they ought to have). Ostensibly titled “Cultural Diversity as the Fourth Policy Area of Sustainable Development,” the “speech” collapses into gaffe, incoherence and non sequitur; Her Something-Less-than-Excellency, eg, mangles “multiculturalism” into “multiculture- ism.” Admirably, she finds three different ways of mispronouncing “genres” (“jan”, “gens” and “gen-airs”), displays possible Bajan roots in turning “peaks and troughs” into “peaks and trows” and discovers a new continent called You Rope. And, in a burst of unprovoked disclosure that would not be out of place on a Jerry Springer show, confesses she only accepted the health portfolio because, if she didn’t, she might have lost her other state-paid job of university lecturer. There’s a very Trinidadian bittersweetness to it, such startling naivete being almost touching in someone recently in government.
Now, as a serious effort, it’s a dreadful speech. The ICD and UN must be concluding Trinidad is one large lunatic asylum, if judged by our ambassador and her “speech.” Remove mispronunciation, malapropism and misunderstanding from Her Confusedness’ oration and you’re left with a threat, at an unspecified later date, to teach the ICD audience to wine. So it’s bad, it’s bad, easily the most memorable Trinidadian speech, for all the wrong reasons, since Mr Manning admitted paternity of the nation. But if you just tilt your head, you can see that Her Never-See-Come-for-See’s speech is so very bad, it almost becomes good again, like how Steven Tyler and bull mastiffs are so ugly, they’re very nearly cute. Like many Trinis, I want to believe that Her What-the-Firetruckery should be recalled, but, unlike nearly everyone, I say she should return triumphantly, not in disgrace; because Her Multiculturism would be the perfect spokes-clown for a government guided by gallery and Alzheimer’s disease in roughly equal parts. No one sitting in that audience in the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy has any firetrucking idea what Her Shoot-from-the-Lip meant— but she kept them sitting, not laughing, not pelting her with shoes, not drafting a petition in lunacy, for 37 whole minutes! Tell me she’s not a natural People’s Partnership googly bowler.
Here, then, as an example of the wonders she could do for Kamla & Co, is a statement about a recent event I imagine could be made by former UN ambassador and soon-to-be new Government spokes-idiot savant, Her Wadjankness. I have borrowed her own words at some points and her devil-may-care attitude throughout. You have to imagine her speaking in front of live TV cameras, the way she made her “speech” to the ICD. Statement on the departure of the Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs and Deputy Commissioner Jack Ewatski by Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, Press Officer III (Ag): Well, here I am, in this nice black dress—is in this dress self I ketch my husband, but I did dip the neckline for him on Skype. He like that! He come from You Rope and, bredder, he is my You Rope He Een, and I rope him with this same dress I wearing now to tell all you that them two white fellas bus’ it and gone, because they wasn’t of the standard that they felt. Is a real crime what happening with crime in this country. You know my mother, she from the Indian side, does sap she head with a Band-Aid? Well, it had a great Greek fella name Heraclitus, don’t mind what it sound like, was really his name, not her whatever, he say the only constant in life is change and I say it was time to change them two. We find them on the Internet and we send them back to eat bacon and watch hockey. Now many of you would axe, was they fall, or was they push? Well, one time, in Blood Bank fete, it had a fella who push me. From behind. You knows what I mean. Anybody here from Laventille? When we say “wine,” we doesn’t mean drink, we mean a gyration of the lips, and I running my mouth to tell you them two Canadian gorn and daiz it! Me ent saying nothing more, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, just enough not to get fat, but that is the way this personality had transcended throughout. But if anybody only axe, well, how come them white fellas didn’t go when it had a different Minister of National Security, and now they gone faster than anybody could say Jack Warner, I go whistle.
BC Pires is partly from You Rope and partly from Sow Tamerica. E-mail your and her a clituses to him at firstname.lastname@example.org And thanks, G, for Govt by gallery