When you look back at what and how much Manning built you could only conclude that he had visions of grandeur, that in building the twin towers he understood that architecture played a significant role in what legacy one left behind. What might explain Manning’s architectural sophistication is that he was born in South Trinidad and whose main town, San Fernando, came to be the industrial capital of Trinidad and hometown of Gulf City, Naps & Pres.
Just the sprawling majesty of the refinery alone was enough for Manning to be inspired by a sense of grandeur – to think NAPA, SAPA etc. – but Rowley, poor fellow, coming from an under developed land that in his time was more reminiscent of life in the times of Robinson Crusoe, had planted in his brains the Shaka Zulu bow and arrow cave man’s wild life culture of the jungle. So when he calls out MPs to meet him on the pavement, it’s not because he is some kind of Jedi, of course not, it’s just that he is a symbol of the uncivilized bushman who lives by the law of the jungle.
So what is his response to what he sees in Trinidad when he migrates from Tobago. When you make your house into the palace of your dream and you go out and leave a dog in there to roam freely and return to see everything upended and smashed to smithereens you are immediately reminded of the lyrics, ‘who let the dogs out’, forgetting that you did and that dogs do things like that.
Our version of that lyric is more like, who let the dog in? Keith Rowley is a born and bred Tobagonian obviously obsessed with Crusoe-esque ideas of how he interprets the world, thus, in the midst of closing down the refinery and other industries in Trinidad, he invites the press to take pictures of him in his goat pen proving that there is indeed something called, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Being PM of a country is not about one’s pursuit of one’s childhood fantasy at the expense of a country’s existential algorithm. The math here is that goat farming could not provide the economic foundation for a people who for a century or more was at the forefront of the global gas/oil business and had a flagship refinery that was the envy of countries the world over. We were considered an affluent society just because of Petrotrin, eh?
Rowley couldn’t appreciate this and like your pet pot hound which tears up your silk sheets, poops on your carpet and knocks over your crystals, Rowley came to avant garde Trinidad and has mashed up and broken up all that Tobago did not have. Why? Because you take a chance with your life when you open your doors to strangers. Why? Because a stranger might just be an enemy you do not know – and especially after our parents warned us not to talk to strangers. And the bottom line is, why we voted, chose someone who is not a Trini to the bone to run our country, our treasury – to loot it – as if we didn’t produce scholars aplenty coming out of St. Mary’s; QRC; Fatima: Presentation, Naparima; SAGHS etc.
We made our bed and now like Socrates, we must lie on it even as it turned out to be a bed of nails and a blanket of thorns to cover with. But we’re going to fix it, right?
L. Siddhartha Orie