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Chant Well of Bad News

DAVID RUDDER, Trinidad & Tobago’s answer to Bob Dylan, had a birthday on Monday and, as a present, I’m writing today’s column by rewriting some of his best-known compositions; perhaps a bit like Spoiler, I’m recomposing. Over the years, David has given us a shipload of towering songs and, over the last week, we’ve had another kind of load of bad news, including shootings of children in schoolyards in the US and in Big Yard at home, our attorney-general arrested and the American attorney-general seemingly trying to be.

So I propose to make confronting the savagery a little more palatable by setting it to a soca beat and a samba swing, as it were. I’m presuming that even the laziest of Trinidadians knows at least the first verse of songs they’ve been singing for decades. The headlines below refer to news incidents, local and international, but, instead of a byline, they have a by-tune. Happy Bir’day, David, may you have many more and keep gracing us with songs as wonderful as this year’s Spirits.

AG Arrested in Connection with Payment of Legal Fees (sung to the tune of Panama). I find El Dorado, it really was down in South/ But it wasn’t Guyana rum, them was talking ‘bout/ These rich Trini lawyers, show me the real El Dorado play/ They practising law allegedly in a really criminal way/ As they get a state brief in they pocket, they taking out ten per cent/ Is a billion dollars in legal fees, whey the money went? So I, I, I, I not voting PNM/ I can’t vote PNM, Mama/ What it is they have over there/ Making Faris’ family rent collection go clear/ So You, you, you, you ent see the two party come like one/ Send not to know, like John Donne/ All these bells of misery/ only toll for you and me/ Some say that they gone with Pam’la (Elder)/ Some say they shoulda stay together/ The lady lawyer and all say, “I hope the witness live”/ But no bookie in Town could figure what odds to give/ So I, I, I, I going and find something to smoke/ When the case call, pardner, is then you go catch the joke/ Multi-million dollar state prosecution briefs sharing for one and all/ But who name man at this bar now, to appear and get Dana Seetahal?

Trump Enraged over Inability to Stop Mueller Report Momentum (sung to the tune of Rally ‘Round the West Indies). For two long years/ He ruled Washington like a god/ Now that rule seems coming to an end/ For out there, just a Democratic Speaker/ Is enough to make Republicans pretend/ Some of the old generals have been fired and gone/ And the collusion don’t come like it did before/ But when the Comeys go, don’t you know the sycophants come/ Humanity lost the White House but love will win 2020 for sure/ As long as we/ Rally/ Rally ‘round the Democrats/ Pretty soon the votes are going to flow like water/ Sidestep gerrymandering and suppression of black voter/ Say we going to rise again like a raging coalition/ Bernie, Buttigieg & Kamala in position/ In these tiny theatres of conflict and confusion/ Better known as the minds of Americans/ Get off your butts and vote for Buttigieg and send them ugly old men on the run.

Commissioner of Police Suggests Red, White & Black Trinidad Flag Should Really Be Camouflage (sung to the tune of Bahia Girl). This guy from Westmoorings/ Fighting crime and a roots thing/ This fella real lucky/ The media help make him C-oh-P/ As a man with a plan, and he know he still in he prime/ He make up his mind, well yes, is time to battle the crime/ As the murder rate rise, Lord, he started to sweat/ To the police beat, he add a police threat/ Omatie Lyder is a pain in my bam-bam/ BC Pires is a pain in my bam-bam/ Omatie is a joke, oui/ And BC real jokey/ But they still a pain in my bam-bam/ Then like he start to drink babash/ And hand out some real lash/ Bandit ent get none and neither for Sat/ But is bullpistle like rain for all criminal still in MATT/ He just take off his grey shirt, show we his camouflage/ Throw both hand in the air, like he get ah-wadge/ When the Big Yard people take it to the street/ From Keithos to Kamla, chanting to his beat/ Media is pain in we bam-bam/ Citizen group is pain in we bam-bam/ But between CoP and PNM/ We go put licks on the both o’ them.

BC Pires is an occasional chant not-so-well and a permanent ne’er-do-well

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