Archive for November 29th, 2009

November 29, 2009

There’s something about Liz

T&T has been a flurry of activity these past few days with the visit of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and 50+ heads of state visiting for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Naturally, those of us in the news business have been running about trying to gather stories as best we are able given the fact the local media have been treated like scabrous lepers and excluded from most of the main events. Thankfully we have a media pool provided which worked out quite well despite numerous last minute changes to the schedule of events. CHOGM has been, as would be expected, a non-event since nothing significant has ever emerged from the Commonwealth except nebulous decisions to possibly do things. WHat can anyone expect from an organization that gives the same voting rights to Vanuatu as it does to the UK or Canada? ┬áThe reality of life is that bigger developed countries have the authority to make important global changes and any other discussions are just idle chit chat. Even the UN recognizes this by having the security council to hold the rest of the throng in check when needs be. Now our illustrious PM’s ego is even further out of check courtesy our money.

In my view the only meetings that result in anything earthshaking are the G-8 and G-20 which at least have only heavy hitters and tend to end with actual decisions for concrete action. How can anyone take the Commonwealth seriously when the majority of its members have questionable human rights records? Not me. It is easy for them to talk about grand plans for sustainability ( a buzz word if ever there was one) and climate change – let’s see them commit to something as simple as assuring basic rights for their own citizens.

In any case, the average person here didn’t really care two hoots about CHOGM as Queen Elizabeth seemed to steal the show. HRH did her usual things and politely sat through the requisite “cultural ” shows and plaque unveilings. While she carried herself around with the customary grace and Prince Philip managed to keep his foot out of his mouth ( no mean feat) one can’t help thinking that the whole time they were thinking “another day..another set of darkies beating drums and dancing.”

I was rather thrilled to know that HRH was staying at the Carlton Savannah which meant that for the first time in my life I spent two days sleeping in the same neighbourhood as the Queen. Understandably, my Irish mother was not as thrilled about my proximity and expressed her predictable views on royalty during our weekly telephone convo. I know the monarchy is not really essential but to me it conveys a sense of timeless civility and order. Where else could you get that much glittery class for a few pence a year – paid by UK taxpayers. In a world full of useless and irrelevant things the Queen is at worst innocuous and is undeniably decorative. Long live Liz.