Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 14th 2018 Contents A18
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
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People’s National Movement MPs and Senators had to
keep Carnival celebrations shorter to be bright and sharp
for today’s party retreat. And there’s a lot for the current
Government to mull over at the retreat called by the Prime
The economy remains fragile, including an ongoing de
facto rationing of hard currency. Despite our continued de-
pendency on oil and gas, we are yet to see the much-touted
plan to, at least in theory, bring the morbidly obese Petro-
trin back to some kind of fit state.
Diversification remains firmly at the talking shop stage
and hopes of major inward investment are likely to be
dashed if the Government continues to remain absent at
best when it comes to dealing with the country’s employ-
ment legislation (and irresponsible unions). The crime cri-
sis hasn’t gone away, either.
Dr Keith Rowley has a long list of problems to deal with.
His biggest mistake will be to use the retreat to start think-
ing more about the next election than the next courageous
decisions he needs to make.
A health safety officer from more developed economies is
likely to have a heart attack when visiting these shores for
Carnival. After all, most of the events seem to be devoid of
any credible risk assessment or measures to avoid potential
By and large, we seem to do okay, but incidents like the
death of a Florida resident hit by a reversing Carnival truck
suggests not all is right.
We must try and keep Carnival celebrations as sponta-
neous and free as possible, but more can be done to make
the party easier and safer for all. Some are relatively simple
and easy to implement.
They should include plans to establish routes all bands
must use and close them to traffic; clear the routes of
parked cars and other obstacles; block or cover trip and
fall hazards like open drains and holes; and place police
officers throughout the routes to prevent petty crime and
None of them would take the fun away but could reduce
the risk of injury and death.
Time to give up
For Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of
Lent, a time for reflection, prayers and—for many—also for
giving up something.
Giving up on treats may help. But given the state of our
nation, let’s give up on some more impactful things as well:
violence, breaking the law and unethical behaviour would
make a good start.
back in the day who was pur-
ported to have used a Queen’s
Park Savannah tree as much more
than a natural urinal.
Speaking of which. Why are
trees always the hapless victims?
You have an urgent pee? Tree.
Texting and walking? Tree. Drunk
and driving? Tree. Kite string
bust? Tree. Woody Woodpecker?
Tree. Trees never get a break.
For further reading, one local
tree hugger recommended The
Hidden Life of Trees by Peter
Wohlleben. On the back cover
of the book, Charles Foster, de-
scribes the publication as “a
paradigm-smashing chronicle of
joyous entanglement that will
make you acknowledge your own
entanglement in the ancient and
ever-new web of being.” There is
such a thing as tree language, I
Then there are people who ar-
rive after six in need of coconuts
without the words to the prayer.
The last thing I would want is to
be in trouble with the Pope on
this Ash (if you know what I mean)
Wednesday, so I shall not quote
from well-known pagan paeans
adapted to prevent Xmas trees
from spontaneous combustion,
incontinent dogs and the work of
But, next time? The coconut guy
and I are moving early o’clock. Let
sleeping trees stand, oui.
Why could it not have been
“Frederick Street” or “Wrightson
Road?” Why, “Elm”?
American comedic writer, Jack
Handey, must have been onto
something after all. “If trees could
scream,” he asked, “would we be
so cavalier about cutting them
down? We might, if they screamed
all the time, for no good reason.”
Can you imagine if trees really
screamed? Some people have
taken to talking to trees and
plants. Which means that if trees
screamed, we would have mean-
ingfully been able to scream back
I can think of a few nasty tree
remarks. I would, for example,
call my mango tree a “low-down,
scrawny bunch of celery” or “you
useless patch of ti-marie.” My
pommerac tree would be a “slimy,
mosquito-ridden hog plum.”
t’s nothing new, of course,
German professor, Gustav
Fechner, way back in 1848 was
certain that trees and plants
were capable of “human-like emo-
tions” and capable of interacting
I can’t remember where, but
I once saw a promo for a show
where people were beginning
to explore sexual pleasure with
trees. Again, nothing new. There
was this guy we called “Fenty”
ast Thursday, I came back
late from a day of Carnival-re-
lated traffic jam with a young
coconut man from Toco who
declared that he needed to pick be-
fore six, because by that time the tree
would have fallen asleep. So, I broke
the speed limit along the streets of
Curepe because I did not know the
words to the requisite prayer to prop-
erly disrupt the tree’s slumber. Nei-
ther did he. So we had to get there
before tree bedtime.
There was some anxiety on the
part of the climber and his assistant
as the clock reached 5.50 pm and we
were at the bottom of the St Joseph
hill. Of course, when we arrived, be-
tween gate and car trunk, we ended
up fumbling and bungling.
In an instant, Brandon was up the
tree. I raced inside to get the water
containers, ran out with them and
noticed that, within the space of
those few minutes, two massive
bunches of coconuts had already
been lowered to the ground.
Then it was time to rush back in-
doors while the containers were
being filled and to start Googling like
crazy: “Do trees sleep?” “Tree-coco -
nut-sleep”, “tree-myths”, “do trees
have sex?”, “popular tree names”
and so forth.
would call it “Malcolm.” Why? I don’t
know. “Malcolm” just sounds like
a good tree name. I would be like:
“Hey, meet Malcolm. He’s about 20
feet tall and has big nuts.”
So, I Googled and Googled and
actually found that on May 17, 2016
a study out of the Vienna University
of Technology reported that “most
living organisms adapt their behav-
iour to the rhythm of day and night.
Now, using laser scanners, scientists
are studying the day-night rhythm of
trees. As it turns out, trees go to sleep
This, I suppose, explains the
“Nightmare on Elm Street” thing.
LOVE IS IN THE AIR: Navindra Sookram, right, tests a musical teddy bear for Randall Gooding, who was shopping for a
Valentine’s Day gift, along the Narsaloo Ramaya Marg Road, Chaguanas, yesterday.
PICTURE ROBERTO CODALLO
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