In defence of the donkey

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Since the PM’s quip about the “jacka–,” these poor animals have become the butt of many memes and jokes. Like the surly Benjamin from Animal Farm would say, this is no laughing matter. Indeed, it is unfair.

After reading Elspeth Duncan’s lament about farmer Nanan’s prized bull that was savagely slaughtered in Penal, I must come to the defence of the donkey. As a sheep farmer himself, Dr Rowley should be kinder to dumb animals. Donkeys should not be disparaged merely because they cannot pronounce Carpha.

I mean, the last general election was called strategically at the height of covid19’s ascendancy. Half of TT saw red. The scamper for Whitehall was marked by frenetic campaigning, yet there was no talk then about the CMO’s science. The second-wave deaths seemed acceptable collateral damage in the face of “vaulting ambition” to be king. No donkey was responsible for that. Those were the decisions of bright people.

So, you proudly acclaim brilliant leadership, accept victory and enter Whitehall as the slayer of the covid19 dragon. All the covid19 grant money spent and balisier juice triumphant over sunshine. Yet, as soon as covid19 starts to wave again you don your lion’s skin to “cuss” the Opposition and we the people.

Why not just leave donkeys alone? No donkey would neglect to shut down beaches and otherwise lock down for the traditional Easter weekend frolic and instead invite the whole of Trinidad to quarantine in Tobago, Michael Baker style. Despite Tobago’s hegemony being under threat by the Duke, it is still highly improper to call donkey’s name to explain away your logic.

All of TT appears to be now paying for that one moment of brilliance when you said to hell with the doctor and his snowball. It is better to be contrite. After all, our politicians are far too wise to be using the donkey in churlish metaphors to attack we the people. It’s not we who “bad-beg” India for vaccines. First proclaiming “bad man no beg” then having to still beg India sotto voce for help.

Look how Barbados beg and “get through.” Almost half its population got jab already. However, it’s OK to criticise Trump over the handling of covid19, Modi in India or Bolsonaro in Brazil. In parts of TT you could end up like farmer Nanan’s bull.

One can’t help but notice the massive discipline of the majority of people with masking and hand washing. What is required is effective leadership to procure vaccines post haste and then to get them into arms. Don’t tell me about the Opposition and vaccine hesitancy when there are no vaccines to be hesitant about.

As I consider farmer Nanan’s slaughtered bull and his description of the size of its head, I believe we need a different animal metaphor to describe our covid19 situation. This covid19 is serious. Time to stop playing the donkey!

ANDREW CROSS
Tacarigua