Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 29th 2013 Contents Afew years ago, in the pres-
ence of my daughter I was
seeking counsel from my
father over some vexing dilemma.
I must have been going round in
circles, because my father stopped
me and asked what I should have
known was a leading question:
"Dolly," he said, using a child-
hood nickname, "haven t you
learned anything all these years?"
I fell right into the trap when I
said: "No, no. I m the same since
I was 18."
Bad move. Both my father and
teenage daughter looked at me
like I had stunted my own
"What?" asked my father.
"Time, study, work, experience,
books, travel, friendships, family,
relationships have taught you
I answered as truthfully as I
My father dropped the subject,
but my daughter didn t. Over
months and years, she said:
"Baba was shocked you ve
learned nothing. Why did you
I had to bear this onslaught till
she forgot about it. So this year, I
looked at the question again. I
answered truthfully to myself. Of
course I changed. Life had bat-
tered me down like it s done to
everyone else. I was in denial. I
was unwilling to let go of the
memory of being 18: exuberance,
endless possibility, burning
curiosity, willingness to take big
leaps, risks that leave you bruised
or flying but never stagnant; fear-
lessness, testing boundaries,
adventure, a full laughter. It is all
there, but sometimes buried.
After looking at my parents,
who are more whimsical
teenagers than wise elders in
their outlook, I am willing to
accede that experience and wis-
dom doesn t make you act or feel
old. It makes feeling young better.
So here are a few things I ve
. y . To
be human is to be damaged.
There are times we feel more
broken than others. That s when
we lash out. That s when we get
bitter and blame everyone else.
That s when we need people to
sit us down and say: "Stop.
What s wrong? I m here."
Damage is never personal
unless someone is vindictive, out
to destroy you. That s when get
to decide whether it s worth it to
fight or walk away. The latter is
the harder, wiser choice.
. y, .
It could save a life. Recently I
saw a woman leave her engine
running in a traffic jam, run out
of her car and push away two
bullying boys from a younger one.
They rammed him up against a
wall, were calling him names. She
shouted at the bullies so hard
that they slunk off, cowed.
All bullies are cowards. I have
heard people standing up verbally
for what is right. And that action
changes everything. It makes the
damaged bully stop. It makes
everyone feel better. Standing up
to bullies can save vulnerable
people from getting hurt. It s not
a favour. It s a human duty.
3. D ' y
y y . We all
mess up. Everyone deserves
redemption. At some point in a
fight with a spouse, a love, a
friend, a colleague, an organisa-
tion, we all say: "This is a deal-
Unless it involves a heinous act,
few things are dealbreakers. Back
off if you have to, heal, with
time, forgive. One day you will
look around at your friends and
be glad your ego didn t get in the
way of what they are to you, and
you to them.
, y, ,
. I once saw the fiercest-
looking woman on a crossroad.
She looked at me with the rage
of a woman to whom too few
people have given way. I decided
to try this experiment. I gave way
to her. I was rewarded with the
sweetest smile that I will remem-
ber all my life.
5. D '
. At Christmas
parties recently I met single,
married, divorced, and widowed
women. They all had different
sets of advice.
The 86-year-old woman said
her 56-year marriage taught her
women should be soft; nurturers;
whores in the bedroom and
Madonnas out of it; make a
man s home his haven.
The 40-something singletons
swear by economic independence.
They are on the lookout for men
at least 15 years younger who
they can enjoy, objectify and dis-
card at will. No matter what the
relationship, the compromise, it
can t do without kindness, indul-
gence, delight, laughter, empathy,
. B .
Nobody has figured out the exact
shade of blush or eyeshadow that
makes a bride "radiant" or a new
It s love. Love is the best
facelift. I can t take my eyes off
people in love.
The other is exercise. It pumps
endorphins in you to give you a
high even when love fails.
y ' y
. Swear a lot. To yourself.
Mutter under your breath. Sing in
the shower. Make faces in the
mirror. Be ridiculous. Shake your-
self up to remind yourself of your
exuberance, innocence and hope
8. y, D
: " y
, y ."
Happy New Year.
December 29, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Kartel s trial in Kingston starts
back on January 6. He is
accused, with associates, of
killing 27-year-old dancer Clive
"Lizard" Williams, in a quarrel
over two missing guns in
August 2011. Last July, he was
tried for the murder of Barring-
ton "Bossy" Burton. That prose-
cution collapsed when a key
witness could not be found.
This rounds, stand by for a Jan-
Dino Bouterse, son of Suri-
name s president Desi Bouterse,
spent Thanksgiving in a New
York prison, awaiting trial on
big-time drugs and terrorism
charges. Will his 13 children see
Daddy home before next Christ-
mas? Probably not. Will Grand-
daddy Desi be even slightly
embarrassed, either way? I
Just before Christmas, gold
slipped below US$1,200 an
ounce, its lowest since mid-
2010. A year earlier, it was at
US$1,675. Bad news for Guyana
and Suriname, whose economies
have grown steadily since 2006
on the back of a gold boom.
So far, all seems fine.
Guyana s small and mid-scale
gold miners have announced
record output. A Canadian
company Guyana Goldfields
plans a US$250 million Aurora
mine, for start-up in early 2015,
with finance from the World
Bank s International Finance
Corporation and production
costs around US$527. Gold has
been comfortably above this
level for six years.
Suriname looks less sunny.
The government has dropped
plans for a US$500 million
bond to fund a stake in two big
mining projects. And back in
Guyana, the proposed US$400
million Totoparu mine now
looks iffy. It would have just a
16 per cent return on capital
with gold at US$1,200.
Both mainland economies
were in deep trouble in the
1980s and 1990s. The current
gold price is a setback, but no
disaster. Free fall would be
Since the November 2011 elec-
tion, Guyana has had a minority
government. Next year marks
half-way through the parlia-
mentary term. So far, the presi-
dent has lacked the confidence
to seek an outright win through
a snap election. Meanwhile, he
has inexplicably picked a quarrel
with Suriname by giving a
Brazilian company mining rights
in the disputed New River tri-
It s not clear that the full impli-
cations of October s Shanique
Myrie ruling have yet sunk in.
Immigration officers can keep
Caribbean visitors out only in
exceptional situations. There
must be strong and specific
reasons, stated in writing, with
an appeal procedure. And free
movement within the Caricom
single market now covers a
crowd of people---certified
domestic workers, for example,
or anyone with two CAPE pass-
es. The Jamaica Gleaner last
week sent a team of journalists
to Port-of-Spain. They liked
what they found: a warm wel-
come, politeness and profes-
sionalism, and a scatter of "staff
wanted" notices on Frederick
Some are, some aren t. The
opposition has a majority---six
of the 11 MPs. It is now more
than a year since they tabled a
no-confidence motion, in
December 2012. The Speaker
has still not found time for it.
The opposition have asked the
courts to rule that they have a
right to a debate. The govern-
ment hold that the judiciary
cannot trespass on parliament s
affairs. This month, the high
court heard arguments from
both sides; T&T s Douglas
Mendes led the opposition s
legal team. An election must be
held by early 2015. Stand by for
a snap poll next year.
B fly ?
Antigua s election is due by
June at the very latest. Most
expect it much sooner. Lester
Bird s Antigua Labour Party
deservedly lost office in 2004,
plagued by faction fights and
corruption scandals. Lester and
his Daddy, Vere Bird Senior, had
held power with one short
break since 1951.
In 2012, the ALP dumped the
ageing Lester Bird. Gaston
Browne is the new-ish party
leader. But rumours are that a
loyal band will try to put Bird
back after the poll. If he does
ride again, he will find some of
his pre-2004 squabbles still
unresolved. Antigua is still
locked in an unequal fight with
the US over internet gambling.
Natalia Querard has still not
been compensated for her Half
Moon hotel, which was closed
after Hurricane Luis in 1995 and
compulsorily acquired by the
government after a long-run-
ning legal dispute. The island s
electricity supply system
remains the subject of complex
legal wrangles and technical dif-
But first the election has to
happen. And voting arrange-
ments, as always in Antigua, are
hotly disputed. The ALP is
resisting attempts to re-jig the
outdated constituency bound-
aries; last time round, the
biggest constituencies had more
than four times as many voters
as the smallest. It also fears a
new voters list; the existing roll
dates back ten years. In both
disputes, the ALP lost the first
round in the high court, but
wants to appeal. With voting
due within months, life could
LESSONS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY
Guns, gold, coke, Birds, migration...here's a medley of questions for New Year
SEVEN BIG QUESTIONS FOR 2014
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