Archive for November 3rd, 2007

November 3, 2007


It was my day off today and I wasn’t feeling well but after sitting about the house a bit I realized I missed work so I toddled off to lend a hand. I was glad I did as my home cable was out and I was suffering political rally withdrawal. Fortunately I made it to the newsroom in time to catch a bit of all of them while generally helping put withe the newscast and somehow ending up with the headset on and directing Vashtee while she read the 6:30 news.

The COP troops rallied at Woodford Square in he shadow of the Red House our seat of government and the place that the current ( and most likely future) PM is eying as a place to park his filing cabinets. The earnest COPites opted to eschew the tawdry singing and dancing talent in favour of speaker after speaker ( their lack of budget might have helped in their choice) . The crowd seemed respectably large but without the occasional bit of performance to pump them up there wasn’t the energy we normally see at a political rally. I drove by the venue to pick up one of our reporters and I can report that despite the uncustomary lack of music and hype there was a quite typical display of scotch and rum pouring from the cars parked all around the city centre. To be brutally frank, while I like many of the COP candidates and think the party may stand a chance in some future election, I don’t think they have any chance of forming the government this time around. That being said, because they seem to appeal to a middle class and educated base which are generally not the sort to show themselves at rallies the COP may surprise us all come Monday. Watching the live coverage on CNMG early on when the anchor was clearly stretching to fill time I was subjected to hearing “It is a sea of white and even the drizzle isn’t dampening the spirits of those attending”. Sigh…apparently CNMG took a double subscription to Cliche of the Day.

The PNM, our currently ruling party, had the usual huge turnout clothed in red and waving their balisiers ( their symbol and a local heliconia) at Eddie Hart Grounds in Tunapuna. It was a mixed affair with a bit of entertainment and an awful lot of speeches extolling the virtues of the last 6 years of the PNM regime. For those keeping track that is the same regime that has spent about 200 billion dollars ( I underestimated in a previous blog and have been soundly corrected) and yet still  much of the country has a poor or inadequate water supply and people still sleep on hospital floors. The PM says that building tall buildings in the capital is essential to making T&T a developed country and if he gets voted in again he will deal with those little nuisance things like water, health, traffic and a crime rate that, as of today, just crossed 298 murders for the year. It was a good and well attended showing so I imagine the PNM must be happy and, I suspect, they will also be happy on Monday.

On to the UNC Alliance and their grand spectacle today that was held at the Aranguez Savannah. What can I say. It was without a doubt the best fete of the year and, if condensed into a 60 second spot, could be the perfect ad for the joys of T&T. Ok..admittedly Jesse Jackson failed to materialize. The UNC-A seems to have a problem importing people of African descent who have already made appearances here. The Mandela fiasco still warm and fuzzy in the memories of he opposing parties, the UNC-A sent a media release today saying that Jackson could not get here because runway work at Piarco prevented his scheduled flight from being possible. A quick call by us to Chicago indicated that Jackson actually cancelled ( apparently after being advised that seemingly promoting a foreign party was not in his best interest) and a release from the Airports Authority indicating that no flight plans had been filed for the time in question might lead to the conclusion the UNC-A is being less than truthful – but I would never be so vulgar to suggest such a thing.

Despite the Jackson free situation the event was clearly planned for maximum TV appeal.  The leaders arrived on cranes and were deposited on the stage complete with daytime pyrotechnics and Basdeo Panday was in fine form with his red beret. We were treated to Indian dancers performing to soca, chutney and Indian filmi music. We saw and heard soca performers, Jamaican dancehall artists, dragon drummers and dragon dancers, belly dancing, African dancing and drumming, freestyle parachutists landing at the venue and even Salman Khan ( the advertised Sharukh Khan was substituted). It was all great camera fodder until they mis-stepped with their drama shot of the crowd using a helicopter cam. At their original rally in Chaguanas it was the killer shot showing the mall car park overflowing with people but in the huge savannah they opened with a long shot which showed a swath of green  and a small area of orange that was the rally. They may have shot themselves in the foot with that one camera angle. It was still a great party despite the fact it had nothing to do with the relevant issues.

My one final note…when CNMG stopped carrying the COP rally live we continued to carry it ( paid) and, if I am not mistaken, it was the first time a live event has been carried via broadband in T&T. It looked pretty good despite the fact we had to use 512k. On election night we are using true high speed so I hope we can pull off another first locally…the first full coverage of an event using ultra high-speed internet. I just hope the fact the event is being sponsored by TSTT will ensure they don’t screw up on the connections.

Time for some more medication and then blessed valium™ induced sleep.