Archive for October 11th, 2007

October 11, 2007

Style and substance

It is 11pm and I just got home from doing the “Platform” radio programme at our sister station 90.5FM in Valsayn. I am not a fan of night driving, especially after a trying day at work, but I always look forward to doing the programme when I am co-hosting it with my boss Tony.  I will be doing it from Monday to Thursday until silly season is done and most likely after that as well. Today our guest was Stephen Cadiz, a man I like quite a bit as he seems to have the best interests of the country at heart and is knowledgeable and undeniably intelligent. He started a grassroots movement called the Keith Noel 136 committee when one of his employees became the 136th murder victim a last year ( we are already at over 267 for this year). This eventually turned into a referendum which he and his volunteer group carried out at their own expense sending out over 900,000 ballots asking citizens to demand action from government. Naturally the government glanced at the results briefly…sniffed…and went back to doing whatever it is they do or don’t do.

Several months back he decided that he might have better results working from the inside and joined the UNC Alliance which is one of the parties fighting to win the upcoming elections. This last week after happenings within the party made him feel he had been lied to or misled on a key issue – he stepped away from the party. An act which, in my view, shows considerable integrity. He was an excellent guest on the radio show just as he has been on my TV programme in the past.

Whenever I do the programme, though, my main fascination is in watching Tony Maharaj work.  Tony has a keen interest in what happens in this country and has no qualms about speaking his mind on-air. That is not a particularly unusual trait but he adds to that a mastery of understanding other people and an easy measured style that i could honestly watch and listen to all day. Like me, he uses a conversational approach to interviewing guests as it often brings out more information and makes for a more pleasant listening experience but he also plays with minds in a subtle way. How he does it I have no idea but I can see him doing it while not missing a conversational beat. The only thing I can compare it with is fly fishing for trout…don’t ask me to explain. There is an elegance and beauty to the process.

Tony also brings to his programme a lifetime of experience for which  nothing can substitute. He has lived in Guyana and Malaysia ( among other places), he has made films with the likes of Merchant Ivory, he has run businesses, he has lost businesses and he has never given up – he keeps following whatever vision it is he has for his life. He knows the inner workings of all the political parties and the personal secrets of most of the politicians. He is as comfortable hanging out in a local rum shop and talking to the patrons as he is in the CL Financial boardroom. All of this makes for an ability to approach an interview with some considerable advantages. I say these things confident that he will never read them so I am cannot be accused of toadying. I also recognize that he has a lot of people who don’t like him at all and his name frequently pops up in the news ( even ours)  associated with one big story or another – most recently in a matter involving the Chief Magistrate and a land deal. To his credit, as I am merely an employee, he often pulls out the related paperwork ( off the record) and shows me the facts. I have never once thought he was involved in anything shady which is manifest as I am still working for him and I would not be were I to think otherwise. Like me, people who speak their minds are often popularity challenged so I don’t consider this a negative point. He is without a doubt the most interesting person I have ever worked for and a major reason I am still here in T&T.

There is a phenomenon that occurs whenever I have a high profile guest scheduled on my programme. Without exception, regardless of the party to which they are affiliated, when they show up for the interview they end up in Tony’s office and the interview starts at least 30 minutes after it was scheduled to take place. I call this the “Tony Zone” and all the staff are used to it now…we even factor it into our planning…”ok so and so is coming at _______ so we better have the cameraman ready for 30 minutes later”.

I just know one thing…whenever he is ready to do his autobiography I want first dibs.

P.S ( if that is allowed in a blog entry) I will correct any typos or other weirdness tomorrow when I am less tired.