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Sunday 19 January 2020
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Transformed (Public) Life Ministries

BC Pires
BC Pires


TT WATCHED in amazement last week as the police Special Operations Response Team, led by the inimitable Double-G, aka Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, swept down, in a rapid, ultraprecise military operation that a crack British SAS (Special Air Services) commando unit might have envied, on what the police said was a human-trafficking scheme masquerading as a drug rehabilitation centre.

The mastermind of the alleged people-smuggling ring – a Pentecostal pastor (the lowest occupational bar anyone at all can jump into a free-flowing cash business) – painstakingly explained he wasn’t trafficking any healthy people at all, but merely keeping mentally ill or substance-addicted ones locked up safely, on behalf of their families, who paid for the service; if it were kidnapping, the pastor might have argued, the ransoms were being collected in monthly instalments by standing order at the bank

Hindsight is, of course, 20/0, and the old Double G might perhaps be reconsidering today what might possibly have been a hasty assessment and declaration last week of the situation at the rehab/private prison as “modern-day slavery”; indeed, the whole operation may have perhaps been closer to Gangnam- than gangland-style.

However, I side unequivocally with the police, with my only regret arising out of the whole sting being the acronym, SORT, by which the unit is known. Left to me, they would have used the far more courageous-sounding name Special Weapons and Tactics; better to be a SWAT than a SORT team.

Now I heartily approve of the crackdown on an unregulated private enterprise
– and I take the time to underline that I do mean that opening part of this sentence seriously and literally – and I have a hot tip for Commissioner Double-G and the Tremendously Wise and Thorough team.

There is a nefarious scheme which is taking place, in full view of the public, a wicked conspiracy in which, with startling temerity, mentally deficient people are being exploited mercilessly.

Although it is plainly criminal to take advantage of those of subnormal intelligence, there is an evil enterprise – posing, shamelessly, as a national institution – that we, the public, watch as, week after week, it first accommodates and then abuses people whose only crime is to indulge themselves in pure fantasy; in the Land of Carnival, it seems to me it is wrong to chastise people whose only sin is delusion of grandeur, whose only crime is to “make as eef” they are important.

And yet, every week of life (bar a few weeks at Christmas and in the “summer”), people whose only failing is to have a romantic view of themselves and their importance are treated scandalously – even by people like me!

If you feel sorry for those locked up by the Transformed Life Ministries, spare a thought for those imprisoned in what we might call the “Transformed (Public) Life Ministries,” or just “the Ministries.”

Because, every Thursday, in a bogus operation known as “Cabinet,” there are many people who need rescuing – from themselves. First there is a man from Tobago who is convinced that he is the prime minister of a real country; next to him is an imps who is entirely convinced he is the Finance Minister of the same fantasyland; there is a man convinced he is an attorney general, although he does not bother to explain photographs of his children carrying big guns; there is even a Minister of Nothing Works – though he is the most lucid of the pack of jokers.

Further, “Cabinet” is just one section of a larger mas band which should be called “Ronnie & Caro Parliament,” in which there are, inter alia, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Whip (when they have only one whip at all).

You can recognise the poor mad people easily because they are all in straitjackets-and-ties; and all rave and rant about the responsibility of everyone else they see, but themselves.

This country runs itself despite these people, not because of them.

And, if Double-G and the Full Action Response Team do raid Cabinet and Parliament and lose all the lunatics they find there in the madhouse, unlike the case of the people locked up by the pastor, no one in Trinidad might raise a protest or an eyebrow.

BC Pires is labouring under the delusion that anything matters. Read the full version of this column on Saturday at www.BCPires.com

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