Friday 22nd December, 2006

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Goodwill to all Men & Women too

American show bull dog Butch, owned by Keino O’Neil, and dressed for the festive season, is a reflection of the inner me through 2006 and well into next year, a hardworking dog. Butch was attired at Hard Dogs’ Kennel of San Juan. Photo: Wendy-Ann Duncan

In the true spirit of peace on earth, and goodwill to men, my thoughts today and through the weekend will be with the destitute, dispossessed and depressed of our world, especially those of T&T. I think of all those unfortunate street children I pass daily in the nation’s capital, begging for something to eat, and having to sleep on pavements at nights.

I also think of those almost 400-odd families who this season are minus a loved one, taken by the vicious crime wave this year.

It’s said that first impressions last longest and, with the cruise ship season at its peak at present, I wonder what visitors think when they disembark a vessel and make their way into Port-of-Spain, capital of the richest nation in the Caribbean.

It cannot be a good first impression when, just two blocks from the waterfront, they must negotiate the sleeping homeless on the pavement of lower St Vincent Street, just opposite the opulent and newly refurbished Eric Williams Financial Plaza, not to mention having to navigate human excretia and vomit as well, with accompanying stench wafting on the early morning’s westerly breeze along Brian Lara Promenade.

I agree fully with my good friend, El Dorado Shiv Mandir (ESM), Maha Sabha Branch #51 PRO Nirmala Harrylal, who told me recently: “Children are the future of our nation. However, in society today, many of our young children are falling prey to illicit activities. One can speculate on a horde of reasons why our children are falling by the wayside.

Of importance, I believe, is a lack of love, caring and support for our younger ones.” It continues to befuddle me how a country that is so firetrucking (excuse me BC Pires) rich, with so many scholars and academics, and experts in social work and health, cannot come up with a plan to remove our homeless from the streets, not to mention institute effective social programmes to stem the flow of these hapless people outdoors. This year, I have given absolutely no gifts to anyone, instead taking what little money I might have spent on these tokens and given it to as many of those I consider to be worse off than me.

So, today I urge you to make a pledge to help those less fortunate than yourselves this Christmas. On Monday and Tuesday, take the entire family to the streets of whichever town or village is closest to you and give something tangible to those in need. Trust me, at the end of the day, not only would you feel better about yourself for doing so, but you would have instilled a priceless value in the lives of your children, that being the gift of giving.

Ed note: One of the institutions at which the less fortunate need your help is the St James Infirmary (the Poor House) where patients of the geriatric infirmary could really do with your assistance on Boxing Day (Tuesday).

My sister in Orlando, Angeli, backstage at the Orlando Island Boys gig with calypsonian Poser, left, and entertainment scribe Rolph Warner.

Party in orlando

A couple Saturdays ago, the warmth, verve and vitality of a true true T&T Christmas was unleashed in Florida by the Orlando Island Boys. Comprising Errol Greenidge, Vernon Cudjoe, Keith Tillet, Cecil Pinder, Joe Mc Leod, Trevor Tillet and Lloyd Herbert, the Boys hosted their annual Parang Extravaganza, featuring two of Trinidad’s best Parang Soca exponents.

In true Trini fashion, the cops had to put a stop to the merrymaking at three on the Sunday morning, an hour after the legal limit of the party, during Crazy’s “las’ lap” performance.

For just US$25 patrons got all the usual Trini Christmas fare, inclusive of pastelle, ham and hops, black cake, corn soup, pelau, and some wicked Rufus souse made by “sweet hand Eleanor.”

Even while the completely sold-out party was in progress, people were still phoning promoters to purchase tickets.

Apart from Crazy “mashing up the place,” show host Creig Camacho also presented on stage Poser, Leon Coldero and Lima Dunbar, as well as sang his latest yuletide parang soca hit Garlic Pork.

Among the party crowd were Canada-based photo-journalist Rolph Warner, Lisa Spicer, Marilyn Harrison, Garvin Granger, Marilyn King, Pam Tillet and former US Embassy (Trinidad) staffer Angeli Blood.

C2K7—Where the fetes are

This is just a little reminder to all of you who have waited so patiently on my annual C2K7 Diary of Events. Well, your wait is over as the schedule will be published on Christmas Day (Monday) in full.

Remember that some of the dates, events and venues are still tentative, and shall be subject to change in the ensuing weeks.

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