After Fenty’s funeral
By A.A Fenty
July 18, 2003
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After the service: “Judgement”
The rootsy funeral services in Lodge last Saturday saw the Invaders Steelband playing musical tribute to Maurice its long-time caretaker. Many who were expected to “show their faces” at the farewell did not, or could not find the time to do so.
This fact upset some who were loyal to the versatile Fenty and actually angered a few. Feeling conciliatory, I pointed out to the faithful that some of the names once known to Maurice, in various capacities and for various reasons, perhaps just couldn’t make it - if indeed they had knowledge of his passing. This was most probably so especially in the case of say a Laurie Lewis, a Vic Insanally, a Norman McLean - or a Hammie Green. They were for some reason, incensed at Hammie’s absence. But, I offered, perhaps Hammie Green was not even in Guyana last Saturday.
Even as certain old lieutenants of Fenty told me of his mobilising them to escort frightened PPP officials to their East Coast residences in the sixties; or of assignments “de PNC Big Ones” would sometimes require of “Maurice’s Men”, they acknowledged that Joey Jagan, Maurice’s “neighbour” was out of the country and heaped scorn on those current government and Opposition politicians who did not bother to attend. Proceeding to the After-Service drinks at the Regent Street watering hole, I pointed out that persons like Maurice - and me - would prefer to praise and thank those who participated in his final farewell - genuine friends, the common people, the salt of the earth, the poor, the powerless-but proud.
As the drinks flowed I urged the more annoyed, even the more matured NOT to rush to judgement over any one. We are entitled to our preferences and biases - as others are to theirs. It is when we control and try to balance our own views against enquiry, analysis and understanding of other positions, that we achieve tolerance, practise compromise and promote peaceful co-existence.
Issues surrounding Maurice’s past, his deeds - alleged or real - and his character surfaced as the bottles’ liquids lowered. I marvelled as “the table” reserved judgement. Who dares to be judgemental, without being hypocritical, these days? How many can claim the high moral ground these days? Justifiably?
The grand debate
Homosexuality? Frankly Speaking, I am still battling to come to terms with the life-style of its adherents. But I’m old and tolerant enough to grant them their right and space - away from me. But we must be cautious with condemnation. For the grand debate is raging - gay rights, lesbian marriage, homos in high places right here, in the Church and around the world!
Criminality? Can a “Maurice Fenty” of the fifties and sixties be roundly condemned by the accused say, involved in the multi-million dollars scam and thefts? At GT&T, Guyoil, Royal Castle, Auto Supplies, Banks DIH, UG? Or by the exporter or Pageant Queen accused of drug trafficking. Two wrong-doers in sin cannot claim any right. But, I suggest, be cautious in “judging”.
May that Fenty’s Soul be treated with what it deserves after 73 years of mere mortality. A just judge awaits his presence.
Other people’s views
I share two published views regarding our educational systems and processes. First, Ian McDonald quoted a Trinidadian University Lecturer, Mr Noel Kalicharan, on the long-term devastating effects the grind to pass the Common Entrance Exams could have on our youth. (I agree!)
Says Kalicharan: “`The real tragedy of the Common Entrance...is the long-term damage done to them by creating in them a very debilitating mindset about learning in their most impressionable years’. Perceptibly, more and more university entrants cannot generalise, cannot infer, cannot formulate solutions to simple problems, cannot reason, cannot easily express clear and logical thought...” The devil in the works - rote learning as taught in the Common Entrance years. Yet, - I hear suck-teeths at its replacement.
Then why and how did I come across too, the remark of Chancellor Desiree Bernard whose message was read to UG’s 36th Convocation Ceremony. Said she to the graduates: “it is better to have common sense without education, than to have education without common sense.”
1) Kudos to the Georgetown Council or who admitted that the vendors’ lawlessness had its genesis in the fact that the council had been allowing vendors elsewhere to encumber and block the entrances of stores and other buildings.
How fundamentally significant, your Columbus-like observation Mr or Mrs Councillor. We are a blighted people!
2) Congrats Vivian Harris. Stand by for August, for Carifesta!
3) So “Big Truck” Braithwaite does not feel he needs a manager - My my...
‘Til next week!